Cookie Lee left the corporate world in 1985 to found her eponymous jewelry company, Cookie Lee Inc. After nearly 23 years at the helm, Lee is handing over the California-based business to Debbie Millar, a founding partner of real estate group HÔM, which reported $1.4 billion in sales for 2013.
Over the past two decades Cookie Lee has built up a base of 40,000 independent consultants and carved out a share of direct selling’s $2.5 billion jewelry and accessories market. The party plan company, which has focused primarily on costume jewelry, is looking to diversify its offerings under Millar’s direction. To appeal to a wider audience, the company plans to branch into accessories such as scarves and sunglasses.
Cookie Lee has also hired on Shawn Forbes to help direct that expansion. Forbes brings 15 years of fashion industry experience to her role as Director of Product Development. Millar also has a background in fashion and formerly ran her own direct sales jewelry company, BambooPink, before she and her two partners sold the business for an undisclosed amount. As an entrepreneur and mother of six, Millar shares Lee’s passion for empowering women to succeed through their own home-based businesses.