Firstly, congratulations on your two wins at the Australian Makeup Industry Awards! Taking home Best Makeup Business Thinker of the Year and Makeup Weapons taking Best Self-Created Independent Makeup Brand! Woo-hoo! Tell us about your background, what path lead you to where you are today?
I intuitively knew from a young age that I wanted a career in makeup. As soon as I finished high school, I went straight into studying my Diploma. From the moment I started on the brushes, I knew it was my passion right away. That was in 2009 and I have been in the industry ever since.
I started Makeup Weapons from this passion, I always loved makeup brushes, however when I looked into how they were made I was shocked to find that most of my favourite brushes were made with animal hair and definitely not cruelty free. I started on a mission to give artists an option to buy a vegan brush, one that was just as good as it’s animal hair competitors.
I quietly developed Makeup Weapons for over three years, trialing different materials and manufacturers before I was really happy with the product. When I finally had a collection of high quality brushes that were not made from animals and I had my branding/ website underpinned, I launched the company. Since this time, due to the incredible support from the industry, Makeup Weapons has gone from strength to strength.
You have been doing the makeup thing for almost ten years, launched your own successful makeup brush business, please tell us about a time (or several times) you thought “F*** yeah!” in your career?
Winning the two awards was an incredible moment for me.
Also, when I did my first beauty expo for Makeup Weapons. I loved speaking to customers and hearing their thoughts about the products. It really validated all my hard work and I was proud to be able to deliver a quality product. It is always a buzz to hear from past customers year on year telling me their brushes are still amazing and makes all the hard work worth it.
Makeup Weapons is a little different from other brush companies, in that it is it 100% synthetic, cruelty free, made by hand entirely ethically and sustainable, what challenges did you face in sourcing the right products and getting the company to the industry heavyweight it is today?
It was incredibly challenging, at the time, synthetic hair was a new technology on the market. The quality and grade of hair that I was looking to manufacture was unheard of. I looked for ages to find a manufacturer that was able to deliver a product that was 100% vegan, cruelty free, sustainable and also employed their staff in ethical standards. I am glad I did not settle until I found the right manufacturer, their employees are not just ‘workers’, they are artisans, each brush takes two months to make, however the quality payoff is worth it.
What would be your advice to anybody looking to start their own cosmetics or beauty company?
Everyone tells you in business that you need a one-year plan to get started, but you really need a two-year plan. The first year is fun and exciting, you have your start-up capital, a fresh new business concept and lots of energy. Your second year is much harder to keep the momentum going. You need new products, new marketing strategies to make sure your audience is still captivated by your brand.
I design all my products with artist in mind, our bio glitter is a clear example of this. We chose large pots of glitter simply because as an artist, you can go through product incredibly quickly. My tip is to try to help your ideal client solve a problem.
So, after totally smashing the awards, what is next on the horizon for you? What can we expect to see from Makeup Weapons in the next twelve months?
We are going to start tackling the US market and developing a cosmetic line.
Oprah, because she built her empire from the ground up. She would be an enormous resource to talk to – even just for a night.
Are you a dog or cat person?
Dog. You can even see my pup Coco in some of Makeup Weapons’ earlier photos!
Tea or coffee?
Tea – I love peppermint and honey. To be honest I have never tried coffee.
What is your favourite Makeup Weapons brush?
Dome foundation brush, it was the first brush I designed for my collection and it has a special spot in my heart.
When was time you thought W-T-F?
I dropped a Bio Glitter in my kit over the weekend (of course in our hot pink shade ‘Mean Girls’!) and it is the plague of the makeup world!