Q&A Session with:Anthony Artur, President of A Beautiful Life Brands
How Cinnamon Kitten discovered A Beautiful Life
A while ago (ok, it might be a long while ago) I received the All Nigher All Over Shimmer Powder, which was lots of fun and my first introduction to A Beautiful Life. But what really grabbed my attention recently and reminded me of this super-fun brand was their super-adorable Honey'do Hair Care line. I just loved this idea and wanted to find out more about the company. (Check out the ultra-cool self-portrait photo Anthony sent me at the end of this post!)
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Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start your own company.
Jennifer and have been married for almost 13 years. We're excellent partners. She is an amazing makeup artist, brow shaper, beauty expert and product junkie. In the late '90's, Jennifer was apprenticing as a makeup artist, and soon became the floor manager for an up-and-coming beauty boutique. I got chummy with her boss and started ghosting a grooming column she was writing for a men's magazine. It was a lot of fun. After I sold a family business I began working there myself, developing the company's online presence and doing some in-house PR. We learned so much in those days; about luxury, about makeup, about the business. We were at the dawn of beauty e-commerce and we all shared some amazing successes together - parties, press, glitz, glamour and a fair bit of hubris. When Jennifer became pregnant, we decided to strike out on our own. It was right after 9/11. We made a leap of faith.
Tell us about A Beautiful Life.
When we opened A Beautiful Life our mission was to offer the most exclusive brands in the world in fun, accessible environment. The company we had left was so personality-driven that we really wanted to make the experience at A Beautiful Life more about the customer, and their needs and desires. We focused on a sales approach that was knowledgeable and not pushy. We thought the totality of all this - our decor, our selection, our service - would be how our personalities shone through.
We started developing our own products to stand alongside the brands we carried, starting in 2006. Our color line said a lot about us, from the mermaid tattoo logo (pre-Kat Von D!) to the colors (glosses from one word album titles like Gish and Saturation), it was a great first step in developing a brand identity. Then we started blending fragrances, and that's when I started to feel an inspiration and satisfaction more akin to playing music than any business accomplishment. Next Jennifer started designing hair accessories (called Vivienne Pickle) that took off in a way that totally surprised us. Suddenly we had our own products in some amazing retail environments like Fred Segal and Planet Blue. We were becoming the brand!
When the economy went south in late 2008, we pushed full speed ahead with our product development plans. The All Nighter Styling Powder was launched in February 2009 and it was an instant sensation. That year we made the decision to stop carrying any other brands, and have been devoting all of our energy to building our own brand.
Have both of you always had a fascination with beauty products?
I think so. From the musky hippie scents my mom wore to my dad's Aramis, I have always loved fragrances. I can sing the 'Windsong' theme. Tenex gel, Sea Breeze, and those early french clay masks were touchstones for me. Jennifer was a devotee of anything Love's Baby Soft and Bonne Bell. She worked at the mall and always made sure she got the gift with purchase at the Clinique counter. She is a completist as far as beauty regimens go. She has a high tolerance for multi-step protocols.
Jennifer remembers the gold L'Oreal eyeshadow she got for Christmas one year that caused her preppy soccer friends to stage a makeup intervention. It didn't stick. She ditched those girls and kept the shadow.
Besides A Beautiful Life, what else occupies your days?
Jennifer is always taking on wild athletic challenges. She's a very competitive and skilled cyclist. She rode in the 2010 Tour De Pink (3 days, 250 miles) to combat breast cancer and she will be riding again this year. We do mud runs. We're both musicians. I play in a band (brothereye.bandcamp.com). Jennifer is an amazing cook, and always blowing my mind with gluten-free vegan meals that are actually delicious. We have two great kids and two cute dogs.
What is your most popular item? Why do my readers NEED to have it?
Our most popular item is The All Nighter Styling Powder. I'd say it's a beauty must-have because it manages to be utterly practical and totally esoteric at the same time.
The beauty industry is constantly changing. How do you keep on top of trends?
A Beautiful Life has been a trusted retailer for venerable, more establishes beauty lines, but we also made a reputation breaking up-and-coming brands. That can be exhausting, being ahead of the curve all the time, doing the legwork, knowing that soon your exclusive will end and you'll start seeing it everywhere. It was kind of a relief to let that go. Now with our own brand we draw on our knowledge, experience, and creativity and let other folks decide if it suits the zeitgeist.
Besides your own line, what brands have made it onto your favourites list?
Creed fragrances, T. LeClerc, Philip B., and boy! those gals from Deluxe Beauty (Jillian Dempsey and Kristen Mason) had something special back in the day. LOVED them.
What are 3 beauty products you can’t live without.
- The All Nighter Styling Powder
- PreGame Texturizing Spray
- Honey'do Shampoo and Conditioner
All by A Beautiful Life Brands. We can't live without them 'cause they pay the bills!
What’s in store from A Beautiful Life for 2011?
An amazing new fragrance, a unique new hair product, and an exciting new skincare product with some impressive clinical data behind it. It's gonna be a great year!
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You can shop A Beautiful Life online here.