Pookie Labels Tell the Story

Friends create a brand based on gift-giving and colorful creativity.

By Janet Herlihy, Editor

New York City-based Pookie, an independent lineof lip balm products, began with the notion of gift-giving and continues to grow by tailoring product for special occasions and needs.

Pookie, a favorite term of endearment by the founding friends, began when Nanette Guarda decided to make her own lip balm as gifts and presented her first results to her friends, sisters Nicole Rothschild-DiPietra, and Gianine Roths­child. The balms were such a hit that friends and acquaintances soon wanted more.

When Rothschild asked Guarda to make enough to serve as party favors, the friends recognized a business opportunity. The three recruited a fourth friend, Fiona Crossan for her creative talents, and together they perfected the formula and founded the brand. The original logo of three female cartoon faces, representing the original three friends, continues to appear on all the Pookie product labels.

Today’s Pookie vice president and co-founder, Gianine Rothschild, noted, “We reformulated the balm and found a contract manufacturer to handle formulating and packaging the products.”

Nicole Rothschild-DiPietra, with the same title, vice president and co-founder as her sister, adds her financial skills to the business. Now both sisters dedicate their full-time efforts to Pookie.

Pookie collections currently include the original APOOK­ALIPS jumbo tube, an assortment of flavored clear lip balms in standard balm tubes and tins, special-occasion specialty tins and themed flavors, and a new line of lipstick color and balm in one called ColorBalm.

All packaging consists ofstock components that are crayon-brightly decorated with labels colored to represent the specific flavor or holiday/event of the product. Limited edition flavors include Be Mine for Valentine’s Day, Spookie Pookie (in orange and black) for Halloween, and Stocking Stuffer’s for Christmas.

The latest addition, Color­balm, was developed to eliminate the need to use a balm and then a lipstick over it for color. “Our idea was to make it easy for our customers,” Rothschild said.

To distinguish Colorbalm from Pookie’s original Lipbalm, a longer, narrower tube was chosen. Labels, all designed in-house, are in the same style as the original products. The formula for Colorbalm features moisturizing natural ingredients such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba, Vitamin E, and shea butter to keep lips soft and protected as well as shiny and glamorous.

Pookie Products now find new friends at retail stores including Anthropologie, PUREBEAUTY, and other specialty beauty, spa and gift stores nationwide, and at www.pookiestore.com, as well as a variety of beauty retailers on the Web.

Furthering its gift-giving tradition, a percentage of the sales from Pookie’s lip balms goes to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDs, a non-profit AIDS research foundation, while a portion of the sales of ColorBalm benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Watch for new Pookie products in personal care in the future and be sure, they’ll befriendly.