What was the main motivation behind starting Artist Kit Company?
As artists, we are constantly looking for ways to work more effectively and efficiently. After eight years in the beauty industry, we noticed gaps that needed to be filled, problems that needed to be solved and tools that needed to be improved. Someone’s gotta do it.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced creating a physical product and how did you overcome that?
We started this brand on 1/1/2020. A global pandemic occurred the same month. Who would have thought right? We were bunch of lost and unemployed puppies walking into the business world thinking that our savings of $3000 can develop 3 palettes with full inventory, ready to go. Well, that was a complete false hope because we definitely hit $20,000 in our credit card before the first launch. We’ve had to learn so much throughout the process including how to communicate with a mechanical engineer, different types of materials, marketing, website building, finding manufactures, communicating with makeup artists to see what they look for, and visit every makeup store in NYC, to feel and touch, every product that already exists on the market, and definitely many many all-nighters.
Did you always plan on being anonymous in terms of who is behind the brand? What led to that decision?
Nothing was planned. We wanted to challenge and test ourselves on building a brand from ground up. We want people to love us because of the product, not because of who we are, and by us asking them for favors to promote the brand.
You have a lot of fun with the makeup community and that’s really refreshing. What is your community’s role when it comes to helping you design/choose what products come next?
In the beginning we chose products that we personally needed and used in our kit, no matter if others liked it or not. Three months in, with an incredible and supportive artist community, they chose what product we brought in next and how much we price something by using Instagram poll. Every message that comes into our inbox with a product request, we make a note. If a lot of people request the same, we will make it happen.
Creating a physical product is a tremendous amount of work. What is the typical timeline from idea to creation when it comes to adding a new product to your line?
If you would have asked us this in the beginning, we would assume a week, but it took us over six months to complete our first core product Palette 1.0. When we say it’s a lot of work, we literally worked every single day for that six months to bring an idea to life.
What inspires your designs?
We have major back problems from working in the industry from poor posture, carrying and lifting heavy kits up and down the stairs of NYC transit. In the beginning, we were taught to buy this and that, because if you don’t have those specific products, you can’t be a good makeup artist. As we grow, learn and become better at our crafts, products are just tools. What’s most important is our knowledge and hands. We learn to work differently and choose products that are multi-functional and different textures, instead of caring about what brands and how big our kits are.
What is the big dream for Artist Kit Company?
Can you believe we already checked off our main goal/dream in less than six months! It’s an incredible feeling. From this point on, it’s only going to get better. It was never our intention to make money or sell. We just wanted to solve a problem in the industry and if people can connect with it, then they will support it. It turns out it wasn’t just our problems. To answer your question, our next goal is to figure out how to get our products to everyone who wants it, without having to wait a whole month. Since the artist community is so insane, we sold out in pre-sale, with a pass-code to access our shop, and a limit for the first three launches!!
How has social media played a role in breaking through in such a competitive market?
Social media is THE reason we have brand. We did this during a global pandemic, locked inside a tiny NYC apartment for the past six months. We never wanted to compete or worry about what others were doing or any outside noise. We had a vision and knew that these products would help us personally as makeup artists. Even if no one bought it, it would still solve our problem. It’s a win win.
What’s in your 1.0 palettes and how many do you have in your pro kit?
We have nine 1.0 palettes in our kit. It’s insane that they all fit in the palm of the hand. Two cream shadow palettes, two concealer palettes, one brow palette, two lip palettes, one blush palette and the last is one highlight and contour palette.
Even though we don’t know who you are, we know you are working makeup artists. How are you finding navigating Covid in the industry, while creating a brand?
It is hard enough to be a makeup artist, let alone about being a makeup artist AND building a brand. We’ve had to do all that with a global lock down. We feel as though we are being tested to the max! If we survive this, we can survive anything. We were unemployed, risked all our savings into this unknown project, maxed out multiple credit cards and at the same time trying to find balance between work and personal life.
What advice would you give to artists who dream of starting their own brand one day?
We all have ideas. We are in the industry every single day running into obstacles. Someone has to solve them. If you don’t, someone else will. The main excuse is always money and not enough time. Perhaps cut down on Starbucks drinks, laying on your couch surfing through Instagram and TikTok, and instead, grab a piece of paper and pencil and draft out your idea.
Do you think there will come a day when you will share who’s behind this brilliant brand?
I think it’s more of a “want” than a “need” to know who we are. At this moment, we don’t see the benefit by revealing who is behind this brand. People support us, trust us, and laugh with us every single day. What else can we ask for?
We want to come clean because we’ve been lying to everyone, including our family and friends. There is only one person behind this brand which means, I hand assembled every single one of the palettes that is out there. I packaged every single one of them. Walked every single package to the post office. Took every photo, video, and wrote music so Instagram doesn’t flag the account. I made every post and answered every single one of your comments, DM’s and emails, all while working as a makeup artist. Trying to balance my personal life and health, all during a pandemic. Love to you all, and please remember to not be mad when I can’t get you a palette or ship internationally. It’s one human running this show. Thank you for all your support. I promise I will work hard to figure out this thing without investors, partners, Kickstarters, or loans.
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