maureen kelly net worth

Maureen Kelly, an American entrepreneur, is the visionary behind the popular cosmetics brand known for its playful edge, Tarte. She has held the position of CEO at the company since September 1999 and earned the prestigious title of Woman of the Year from Entrepreneur magazine in 2007. As of 2023, Maureen Kelly’s estimated net worth stands at approximately $5 million.

Kelly’s fascination with cosmetics ignited at a young age, beginning at the tender age of 6. At that time, she concocted her own cheek stain using shaving cream and red cough syrup. Her passion for beauty and transformation extended to giving her dolls dramatic makeovers and crafting homemade lip gloss for her friends during festive seasons.

In this article, we will delve into the diverse aspects of maureen kelly net worth, life, and career. Nevertheless, before we embark on that journey, let’s initiate with a concise introduction to who she is.

Maureen Kelly’s Biography

Maureen A. Kelly currently holds the position of Vice President – Information Systems within the company. She was born in the early 1970s to parents who were both actively involved in politics. Her mother has served as a commissioner on the board of elections, while her father has held a judgeship on the New York State Supreme Court bench.

Ms. Kelly commenced her journey with Russel Metals in 1998, initially joining as Vice President of Information Systems. Throughout her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the company’s information systems and technology resources. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in successfully transitioning and integrating acquired metals businesses into the company’s computer systems.

maureen kelly net worth

Before joining Russel Metals, Ms. Kelly served as the Vice President of Information Systems and Administration at Gandalf Technologies Inc. Her expertise extends beyond her time at Gandalf, with prior experience in information systems within the telecommunications and insurance sectors.

Maureen Kelly Career and Net Worth 

Early Passion for Makeup

Maureen Kelly’s journey into the cosmetics industry began with her childhood fascination with makeup. At just six years old, she started experimenting with cosmetics, creating her homemade cheek stain and giving her dolls makeovers. She even crafted lip gloss for her friends during holiday seasons. However, her frustration with department-store makeup counters’ products led her to explore a different path.

From Psychology to Makeup Entrepreneur

Initially, Kelly pursued a career in clinical psychology, enrolling in a Ph.D. program. Yet, her true passion for makeup persisted. In 1998, she made a pivotal decision to leave her doctoral studies and launch her makeup line. With determination, she started her company from her one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, with the encouragement of her husband, who believed in following one’s dreams.

Collaboration and Tarte’s Debut

Kelly delved into thorough research of the cosmetics industry and partnered with makeup artist Troy Surratt, whom she had hired for her wedding. Together, in 1999, they introduced Tarte Cosmetics with their inaugural product, Cheek Stain, available at Henri Bendel Stores and online at

Early Struggles and Resilience

The early years of Kelly’s business were marked by financial challenges, accumulating a credit card debt of $100,000. She leaned on her family, enlisting the help of her parents and four siblings for packing and shipping. As her company grew, she hired employees and moved into a dedicated office space in the third year. The company’s sales began a steady ascent.

Overcoming Tragedy and Achieving Success

Tragedy struck on September 11, 2001, when Kelly lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack. Despite the profound loss, she persevered and continued her work. By 2003, Tarte’s sales soared, reaching the $2 million mark.

Expanding the Brand

In the following years, Kelly expanded Tarte’s product line, rigorously testing and refining each product herself before release. In 2005, she inked a contract with QVC, leading to substantial revenue growth. By 2006, Tarte’s revenues surpassed $10 million and surged to $15 million the following year, with their top-selling product being Cheek Stain.

Maureen Kelly’s Personal Life and Philanthropy

Marriages and Family

Maureen Kelly has been married twice. Her first husband, Mark Ludvigsen, a bond salesman and rugby player, tragically lost his life on September 11, 2001. She later remarried to Sully in 2004, with whom she has a son.

maureen kelly net worth

Net Worth and Philanthropic Endeavors

As of 2023, Maureen Kelly’s estimated net worth stands at $5 million. Beyond her entrepreneurial success, she is actively involved in charitable work, collaborating with organizations like Dress for Success and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, 5% of Tarte’s net profits are dedicated to charitable causes.


Maureen Kelly’s life story is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and following one’s passion. From her early fascination with makeup to her bold decision to leave behind a promising career in psychology, Kelly’s journey has been marked by unwavering commitment.

She started Tarte Cosmetics from the humble confines of her one-bedroom apartment, facing financial challenges that would have deterred most. However, with the support of her family and her unyielding spirit, she turned her childhood hobby into a cosmetics empire.

Even in the face of personal tragedy, losing her husband on September 11, 2001, Kelly’s determination to succeed in the cosmetics industry remained unshaken. Her dedication paid off as Tarte’s sales soared, solidifying its place as a major player in the cosmetics market.

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