A loyal audience is top of mind for Ffrench. Parts of the products can be taken apart and reused as trinket boxes or worn as jewellery, reminiscent of the TikTok trend of hacking silver bands off mascaras from brands like Dior and YSL Beauty to use as rings. Ffrench says she wants to give her fans a lasting product long after the makeup runs out. “These products are not going to be around forever, so people will want them because they’re collectibles,” she says.

Still, Ffrench has her work cut out. “While she is known to a certain set of people and industry insiders, she doesn’t have the same brand recognition as someone like Hailey Bieber, who also launched her own skincare line,” says Kluz. She will also compete against artistry brands including Mac Cosmetics and Urban Decay, which “[have also] rebelled against the sea of pretty and pink”, she says. “It’s about experimenting and expressing yourself versus correction.” Ffrench’s high price points suggests that the brand is “not for makeup newbies or consumers who are just makeup curious. This is for people who are already spending on makeup and $100 for an eyeshadow palette isn’t going to make them nervous,” says Kluz.

For brands looking to generate larger sums of revenue, the best route to market remains through partnerships with retailers that have larger distribution capabilities, says Caroline Hadfield, president and CEO of Rose Inc and owner Amyris Group. Rose Inc, founded in September 2021 by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, launched via its own e-commerce site and across 350 Sephora stores in North America and Canada. “Rosie has such a global presence and really over indexes, as you can imagine. We wanted to get that global reach established very quickly,” Hadfield says. Rose Inc plans to host a pop-up in London and open a permanent store in Miami towards the end of the year.

Similarly, Westman Atelier, co-founded in 2018 by makeup artist Gucci Westman and designer David Neville, launched at Barneys and Violet Grey in the US, followed by online retailers Net-a-Porter and Niche Beauty. Wholesale remains a majority of the business at 60 per cent, according to the brand. “Our distribution strategy was to launch with e-commerce partners [but] as the brand assortment grew and retail shifted back to stores, launching in stores has become a top priority,” says Neville, who is also chief executive.

Ffrench is carving her own path. “Everybody’s obsessed with commercial success but I’m more interested in brands like Comme Des Garçons or Maison Margiela, which have integrity in their model and message. They have built brand loyalty through connecting with [customers] because it’s truthful and honest,” she says. “Kids these days want to be inspired; they don’t want to see the same old thing. I want to have a real conversation with makeup lovers rather than with a man in a suit who’s trying to cash in.”

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