Q&A Session with: Amy, Founder of Sugarpill Cosmetics
How Cinnamon Kitten discovered Sugarpill
After many readers told me that they liked the interviews I was doing with small independent cosmetic shop owners, they also suggested other shops for me to check out, including Sugarpill. I was immediately hooked on the bright colours and gorgeously outrageous looks on their web site!
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Tell us a little about yourselves and what inspired you to start your own company, Sugarpill Cosmetics.
Hello! I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently live in Oakland with my four cats. I graduated from Cal State Hayward with a degree in journalism because I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. I never used my college degree. I ended up designing clothes instead, starting a clothing line called Shrinkle in 2003. It started out as a hobby, but took on a life of its own and became my full-time job. The clothes were flashy, trashy, slutty, colorful, and fun. I am a sucker for presentation, so whenever I'd photograph my clothing on models and myself, I made sure everyone wore the brightest, most obnoxious makeup possible to match the clothes. I got so many compliments and inquiries about the makeup in my photos, I decided to start selling Kryolan, the brand of theater makeup that I had been using in all my pictures. I love Kryolan and had a ton of fun selling for them, but after a while I found myself wishing I had control over the colors, formula, packaging, and brand image. I then realized that the only way I could have complete control was to start my own brand. It took 4 years from concept to completion before we launched Sugarpill.
Tell us about Sugarpill.
Sugarpill specializes in vibrant, colorful party makeup. My goal was to create a superfun product that makes the wearer feel adventurous and carefree, while maintaining the professional quality of a high-end brand. We are known for our intensely pigmented, long-lasting formula and unique colors.
Have you always had a fascination with beauty products?
Not really. My best friend Jen and I were "late bloomers," aka complete dorks. While all the other girls were experimenting with makeup and talking to boys, Jen and I were getting together to compare our awesome stamp collections. I never wore a stitch of makeup until I turned 16 and met our other BFF Zoeria, "the bad influence." Zoeria introduced me to black lipstick, and I was instantly hooked. I spent the rest of my high school years stalking the Wet 'N' Wild display at Rite-Aid and Googling pictures of drag queens and circus performers so I could try to copy their makeup using my 99-cent lipsticks and eye pencils.
Besides Sugarpill, what else occupies your days?
Sugarpill occupies 99.9999% of my day, but whenever I can, I love to sew and draw. My friend Jen got me into bird-watching too. We get sandwiches and hang out at Lake Merritt, North America's oldest wildlife refuge, and try to name every bird we see. Jen and I are also master thrift shoppers and can fill up the entire back seat of an SUV with our tacky vintage finds.
What is your most popular item? Why do my readers NEED to have it?.
Currently, Goldilux Chromalust loose eyeshadow is our most raved about color. Everyone who sees it says it puts all other golds to shame because they've never seen a more metallic gold eyeshadow anywhere. It's our flashiest color for sure, and can be seen from across the room in a dark club.
The beauty industry is constantly changing. How do you keep on top of trends?
I don't really pay attention to trends. I think the key to creating a unique product is to stay true to what YOU like and want, not what everyone else is doing. When I created my eyeshadow colors, I didn't research what every other brands' best sellers were or anything like that. I just sat down and made a list of my dream colors and what I would want to see in my own makeup bag.
Besides your own line, what beauty brands have made it onto your favourites list?
I adore Inglot! I tried their products for the first time when they were at The Makeup Show in L.A. last February. I ended up buying almost everything, and somehow ended up drinking wine with Mr. Inglot himself at the end of the evening. That was nuts, I'm such a fan. I also love OCC (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics), Fyrinnae, and Make Up For Ever.
What are 3 beauty products you can’t live without.
I never leave the house without first slathering myself in Neutrogena sunblock in SPF 100. My friend Irene says anything above SPF 35 is a huge scam and she's probably right, but I don't care. I also can't live without false eyelashes. I don't wear them every day, but I never ever go out at night without them. Falsies are the quickest, easiest way to create instant glamour even when you look and feel like shit. And I'm currently addicted to colored cream/gel liners because they're so multi-purpose. I use them for everything. Eyebrows, eyeliner, eyeshadow, eyeshadow base... I think my friend Tess even paints her hair with it. I've yet to try that.
What’s in store from Sugarpill for the rest of 2011?
We've been working super hard to get our new collections launched before the end of the year. Everything just takes longer than anticipated because we're perfectionists and don't want to put out anything less than perfect. But I promise we have lots of fun in store, and we can't wait to show everyone!
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You can shop Sugarpill Cosmetics online here.