No muss, no fuss, no over-the-top colors — that's how veteran beauty executive and chemical engineer Jenny Frankel assessed her teenage daughters' beauty predilections.
But as a beauty biz whiz (she was a MAC Cosmetics product developer and Cover FX Skincare co-creator), Frankel didn't just note a generational change in style but seized what she saw as an opportunity to create a new makeup brand. With her daughters' input, she launched a line of easy-to-use, multi-tasking, neutral-colored cosmetic crayons called Nudestix in 2014.
In the process, she learned some things about marketing to tech-savvy, laid-back teens and millennials.
Connect on social media
"You need to connect... through technology and social platforms," says the Toronoto-based Frankel whose daughters, Ally, 15, and Taylor, 18, are the faces of the brand. "If millennials aren't following us on social media, [they] don't know we exist. Social media is a huge Nudestix component. Even our slogan [#gonudebutbetter] is a hashtag."
The brand is on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, has a blog and posts video tutorials. The product packaging includes a note from her daughters along with information on where to post a selfie on the company's Instagram page.
It's all about a lifestyle
"When I started noticing the brands my daughters were following — and when I say brand it could be anything, a celebrity, a retailer, a product — I noticed they really followed lifestyle brands. They weren't looking at beauty the way I remember," says Frankel, noting Instagram as their leading social media source.
"They followed people who were into wellness and posted fabulous pictures of food or cleanse juices; postings of people doing beautiful yoga positions; travel," says Frankel. "They were getting their beauty inspirations from apparel brands like Urban Outfitters … retailers who just don't show a picture of a shirt but who show an entire lifestyle, from the messy bun, to the ripped jeans, to the boots and the outdoor setting. They were shopping an overall look and feel and beauty fell into that."
These lifestyle brands "felt and looked real. It wasn't about that masked look," Frankel says. "I call it the Cara Delevingne effect. Is she the most beautiful model out there? I don't know. But what they love about her is maybe that she's quirky … the imperfect perfect. Their look has to look effortless."
Frankel cites the gym-shoes-worn-with-skirts approach. "My girls would tell me they don't love [makeup] compacts or brushes; they want easy. If something takes more than two minutes they're not going to deal with it."
"So we designed fast and simple-to-use makeup pencils and pens in neutral shades with the idea less is more. Think Crayola meets Chanel," says Frankel adding that neutral cosmetics come in a range of colors and work for fair to deep skin tones.
Nudestix, sold at nudestix.com, Sephora and Urban Outfitters, offers lip/cheek, eye, blemish, moisturizing and other pencils for around $24 each, but the concealer and sculpting pencils are standouts – creamy and convenient for travel and everyday use.
Nude makeup was popular on the 2015 fashion runways, Frankel notes, but "Nude is timeless. Sometimes all you want is mascara and concealer."