Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Creating a Makeup Trend

Whenever I tell somebody that I design makeup for a living, the first question they ask is, "How does that work?" So I tell them that it is all about making your dreams into reality.  You have to be able to dream of a look that would inspire you. What colors do I want to wear?  What feature do I feel like enhancing?  What new technology have I seen?  What runway trends are trickling down?  Then it is about tying all of the pieces and ideas together.  This is easier said than done, because this means that you have to think outside of the box.  You have to experiment to know what would be interesting enough to grab attention.  You have to understand what you do NOT like in order to know what you WILL like.  Being wishy washy or too agreeable will not get you anywhere in this business.  I believe I have been successful in this job because I know immediately if I like something or if I don't like it.  I feel strongly about most things, which allows me to make decisions quickly.

When I first started in cosmetics at Mirabella, our dreams were pretty limited.  They revolved around variations of pink, peach and brown...sellable colors but not necessarily new or noteworthy.  It took awhile to understand that pink, peach and brown always sell, but they do not necessarily inspire.  These shades should be part of every collection in some way, but you MUST have a pop of something special to grab attention.  Start looking around at every pre-filled palette on the market.  There are usually 2-3 really wearable shades paired with a darker or colorful shade that provide a more dramatic pop of color, if you will.  In the shopper's mind they say, "I would use three out of the four shades.  I wish this fourth shade wasn't so bold, dark, etc. (or whatever adjective they decide on for the moment)."  What you do not realize is that the fourth shade made the palette interesting enough to look at in the first place.  That shade drew your attention to the pink, peach or brown that you may have passed over to begin with.

In the beginning, we never discontinued anything.  We had a gigantic display with a myriad of variations of pink brown.  We barely even offered a red lipstick.  Yes, all shades sold ok, but we were not aware how many people just passed our display without even looking at it.  Our display just blended into the background.  In 2009, we discontinued 1/2 of our product line because we realized this policy did not do us any favors.  All of our shades had a gray base that was so popular throughout the 90's. Since we didn't update as we moved along, our line was no longer competitive in the marketplace.  When we added brighter colors to our mix, ladies started stopping on their own to look.  Two years ago we added brighter eyeshadows to our display and sales increased by a surprising 300% for the year.  I share this because salons tend to be nervous with bolder colors, but that shouldn't be the case.  They will never be your best-sellers, but they will draw attention and create a conversation that may otherwise not happen.

These are all areas I consider when creating new products. I think about an inspirational shade to draw attention then I work on the texture/application to make sure it can work for all ages and tones. Then I support it with core shades that will ultimately be the best-sellers.  

The great thing about working for Mirabella is that I am in control of my vision from start to finish. This is very unique. Normally you have a team of people to please. Because Mirabella is a smaller company, I work in the trenches every day even though I have a management position. I try to surround myself with awesome people.  One of the awesome people I get to work with is Jamie Richards. Jamie is my creative lifeline, and I trust her because she is willing to be in the trenches as well.  The stress of making all of the pieces come together can be overwhelming at times, but it is so rewarding to see a product come to life that was previously just in your head.

One dream that recently became a reality was when we planned and executed our photo shoot for the first half of 2014 launches.  This is the most stressful event of my year...but it is also the most fun.  On this day, my dreaming comes to life as the products are applied to the models.  It is where I find out if the past year of planning is actually going to come together in a cohesive story.  It is also the day that I spend the most money!!  Talk about pressure, because every second is costing a fortune.  Wasted time equals wasted money...and if you have ever worked with John Maly, you definitely have to account for the money you spend.  Each year I feel like we get better at execution.  This was the first year John decided to stop by to see how his $$ were being spent.  He commented immediately saying that I seemed more relaxed this year.  And it was true.  Because I did not compromise on the beauty team responsible for executing my new looks, we came away with so many BEAUTIFUL images. It is impossible to choose which looks to use.  The models were amazingly talented and really able to play up each look.  Jasmine Dashtizad made my products look awesome on these stunning girls.  And a big shout out and thank you to Adir Abergel for creating fresh and fabulous hair designs! I am humbled that a celebrity/editorial stylist of his caliber is willing to work for my brand.  My spring collection was a harder sell than usual to all parties involved.  It was a lot of panicking up until the last minute that really sapped my energy...which is not good for my most important day of the year.  Adir restored that positive energy ten fold, and I will be forever grateful.  The lesson to be learned is that you must surround yourself with people that provide positive energy.  You will never dream big if you don't have people to believe in you.  Check out this fun video and some pics from the shoot!


  1. I am're big time Amber! Love ya and keep making those dreams come true!

  2. I have been meaning to read this post for a long time. Now I finally sat down. I love being inside your head - you have so many great ideas and visions for the brand! You are doing an amazing job Amber!