JM: Can you recall your first experience with cosmetics? How did it become your passion?
JKL: I’ve always loved cosmetics from as young as I can remember, but I never knew it would be part of my career. Before I launched IT Cosmetics, I worked as a TV news anchor. I always struggled to find products that helped with my rosacea and sparse brows while also providing me the full coverage I needed without creasing, cracking or making me look older. After I accidentally wiped a brow off in the middle of a broadcast, I was inspired to launch a company that made products that are truly problem solving in a way that simply didn’t exist. I partnered with plastic surgeons and dermatologists and created IT Cosmetics, a line of skin-loving, clinically proven, problem solving products. In fact, many of my personal beauty woes—combined with hearing from girls and women about products they wish existed—have inspired several of IT Cosmetics award-winning products today. I truly believe all women are beautiful and deserve to look and feel their most beautiful. I am so passionate about IT, and I wake up every single morning with this mission.
JM: What was your breakthrough product?
JKL: One? Can I pick three? Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ Physical Only Sunscreen, and the Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil. Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer is a true full coverage, anti-aging concealer that literally covers everything, and is often imitated but never duplicated. Our CC+ Cream with physical SPF 50+ is life- and skin changing—it is your full skin care, sun protection and full coverage in one step. Our Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil looks like real hair, adheres to skin, covers gray and lasts all day. It is how you create your most natural looking brows. Plus, the universal shade can work across all brow colors simply based on pressure. We partnered with the Look Good, Feel Better program from Day 1 on Brow Power, and over the past five years we’ve donated over $4 million in Brow Power pencils to help women face the effects of cancer with more confidence.
JM: Most popular product?
JKL: Bye Bye Under Eye concealer. It’s one of those products that grew in popularity from real women getting real results and spreading the word—as we grew as a company, many editors heard about IT Cosmetics first from hearing about Bye Bye Under Eye.
JM: How many products does IT offer? What makes IT Cosmetics stand out from other brands?
JKL: Right now we currently have over 150 SKUs, including brushes and tools. We launch fewer products than most color cosmetics companies. I have to believe in every ounce of me that a product will change women’s lives and their skin, or I won’t launch it. We do not focus on trends or on launching a million eye shadow colors; our focus is on problem-solving, skin-loving, clinically proven products. It took us four years before we launched our first foundation because our goal was to deliver better coverage, better wear, and a more beautiful skin experience than any foundation before it. What makeup company waits four years to launch a foundation? We do things differently at IT!
JM: Why do consumers love IT products? Enough to earn IT six QVC Customer Choice Beauty Awards? Congratulations!
JKL: Thank you so much, I actually cried that night. It was overwhelming because at the end of the day when women find something that works, they spread the word. And getting a QVC Customer Choice Award is the most authentic experience. You can’t buy it, you can’t influence it in any way, you simply have to earn it through creating amazing products. At IT we’ve built our brand one product at a time, hoping that women out there would try IT and grow to trust that each product does what we say it will.
JM: What trends have you seen in cosmetics packaging during the life of IT Cosmetics? And how have you kept pace?
JKL: Innovation in cosmetics can come in packaging as often as it can come in formulation. And I believe innovation in packaging can also solve problems, which is our brand DNA at IT. An example of this is our Tightline mascara. The packaging is designed with an ultra-skinny wand that solves a problem no mascara has been able to do—it’s so skinny it actually gets to the root of the lashes, so you get an eyeliner and mascara in one step.
JM: How much attention is placed on the packaging?
JKL: We believe that packaging is such a critical piece of the customer experience and in some cases the efficacy of the product. When we were a younger brand, it was more difficult to create innovation in componentry due to customization costs. Now I feel so blessed to be able to work on creative ideas in packaging—and dream and create! One of our biggest goals in 2015 is for our packaging to reflect the elevated prestige formulations and clinically proven results we achieve in each product we make. Packaging also conveys emotion; it’s so powerful!
JM: Do you have a sampling program?
JKL: Yes, we do. Every single order on our website comes with a free sample. We also offer samples on select products offered via QVC, as well. Customers can also stop into their local ULTA store any time to try out some of their favorite IT products. One thing I do wish is that more fillers would invest in sampling filling systems in-house.
JM: What colors/materials/decorative techniques are used to tie the line together?
JKL: We use a lot of Black and Silver. We also use a lot of hot stamped foil, hologram and pink accents. This is something we’re working on unifying in a more cohesive way.
JM: What are some of IT’s most creative or innovative packages? What was the inspiration?
JKL: Our CC+ tube is incredibly innovative—and complicated. To achieve the look we wanted, we had to use a combination of silk screen layers, hot stamp layers including hot stamp holographic foil, and clear protective layers all to get the effect, emotion and customer experience we wanted. We just about drove our tube manufacturer crazy, but the result is beautiful and one of our most successful products.
JM: What is your dream breakthrough product/package?
JKL: My dream product is very close to launching. We will be launching it in partnership with Guthy-Renker. Stay tuned. My dream in packaging is a different answer. I believe all things are possible. And my dream is to continue building a creative, packaging and design team internally at IT Cosmetics that creates breakthrough innovations in packaging, and my dream is also to continue to find innovative partners in packaging that help do this for IT Cosmetics as well.