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Marcia Kilgore

The Beauty Dept / Five Minutes with: Marcia Kilgore

WORDS BY Natalie Ticehurst

Five Minutes with: Marcia Kilgore

Our Founder Marcia Kilgore on ‘Why BEAUTY PIE?’

Marcia Kilgore

What happened when The Beauty Dept. caught up with Beauty Pie’s CREATIVE ADVISOR-AT-LARGE, Marcia Kilgore

She's given facials to everybody from Uma to Madonna to Oprah, created a day spa boom - with Bliss - in the United States, built Soap & Glory from a brainwave (before selling it to Boots), and created the footwear brand for superwomen - FitFlop. Here, she tells us how she came up with her latest brainwave, BEAUTY PIE.

Why are you all over the BEAUTY PIE bandwagon?

Well who wouldn't be? Show me a woman who doesn't love this idea. A virtual backstage pass direct onto world-class cosmetic factory production lines, being part of a buyer's club for beauty addicts? It's online. It's easy. It's egalitarian. Fast. Forward. Who wouldn't want to wave the flag?

I'm assuming you've already put together a shopping cart! How does shopping BEAUTY PIE make YOU feel?

Shopping BEAUTY PIE is the beauty junkie’s version of being a kid in a candy store. It's riotously self-indulgent, but completely guilt-free.

Aside from the obvious issue of democratizing luxury makeup, what other opportunities do you see BEAUTY PIE opening up?

Well women can be a lot more creative with colour when the electric blue eyeliner doesn't have a whopping effect on their wallet. And as BEAUTY PIE has a roster of great guest make-up artists coming in to curate and create a constant stream of perfectly on-trend product, the best in beauty will no longer only available to those with unlimited budgets! It's the democracy of deluxe.

What makeup would we find in your handbag right now?

That would be all BEAUTY PIE - some approved, some lab samples - all the time.

What’s the one thing you wish women would STOP doing when it comes to makeup? Why?

Putting on way too many layers of foundation is just never fresh.

Favourite BEAUTY PIE product?

The Everyday Great Skin Foundation which, when dabbed down the centre of your face, massaged around, then a little extra layered on red spots, makes my tired skin look absolutely marvellous. And I'm obsessed with One Powder Wonder, which is like one big invisible blotter...

How do you decide if a product has what it takes to make the BEAUTY PIE cut?

Two ways: I've either used it all up, or shed a small but palpable tear when I have to rotate my half-used bottle of it to the next-in-line tester.

The BEAUTY PIE idea is SO ground-breaking and really disruptive. How do you feel about being part of something that could really shake things up?

The only thing that's constant is change, right? And if we're afraid of it, we're frozen. I recently read that 'the simple fact that an industry is moving in a direction is proof that that direction is the only direction'. And transparent pricing is all over fashion and accessories already (look at Everlane, and Warby Parker). Millions of people pay every month for 'access' memberships (to the NYTIMES, or to Amazon Prime, or for NetFlix or PANDORA or SPOTIFY). The only thing new with BEAUTY PIE is that you pay a small fee for your access, and then again for the factory cost of each product. It's like crowdsourcing the ownership of a great global cosmetic factory. BEAUTY PIE is an amalgamation of existing modern marketplace concepts applied to the beauty industry.

You've said that the idea of luxury cosmetic packaging is an oxymoron. Can you explain?

Ornate, multi-layered, metallized packaging, which – in cosmetics – is often hundreds of times heavier than the product filled inside it - may look great now, but facing it as landfill in the future is NOT at all luxurious. I advocate for simple, beautiful, elegant packaging that's LIGHTER on the environment, and at BEAUTY PIE, that has meant no weights, no glued-on overshells, no metal cladding or foils, using eco-friendly Earthinks where possible, and keeping it simple and more likely to be recyclable!

Enough about BEAUTY PIE, can we get personal?

I thought you'd never ask.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I once had a product developer on my team at Bliss who I nicknamed FEARLESS (her real name was Susan) because nothing phased her. I love a girl who just goes for it. In fact, I love to see anybody going for it. (Not in a stupid, reckless way, but in a 'go for it' kind of way.)

A quality you most like in a man?

Humble self-confidence and a dry sense of humour.

What is your motto?

My current favourite is borrowed from Seth Godin, who implores:
Don’t just sit there waiting for someone to choose you. Choose yourself.

If you believe in reincarnation, what's your next gig?

As Tina Turner without the bad 'Ike' chapter. She was just awesome in every way.

Where are you now?

This week I am in my hotel room in Hong Kong, attending Cosmoprof Asia, after having spent a week in China at one of FitFlop's favourite shoe factories. Saskia, who is head of Product Development at BEAUTY PIE, and I are going to hit the tradeshow floors for a couple of days to scout for new suppliers.

Describe your perfect day.

Every day is a perfect day. Those that go well are momentum. Those that don't are lessons learned. The biggest challenges are our biggest teachers. So difficult days are actually our best opportunities!

You’re an inspiration to A LOT of women (including me – fan girl alert!). But which women (past or present) are you most inspired by?

Amelia Earhart, who reminded us that "There's more to life than being a passenger", Hillary Clinton, because she's so tough, who said "Take criticism seriously, not personally" and Rosa Parks, who in the face of uproar, refused to take a seat at the back of the bus.

In fact, I would challenge all women, every day, to refuse to take seats at the back of the bus.

If you could give any advice (beauty or otherwise) to your younger you, what would it be and why?

Beauty: Avoid the asymmetrical haircut/perm combination at all costs.
Other: Work hard, do a lot of favours, connect with people, give what you can, help who you can, bring opportunities to others, and never hesitate to ask for a favour. Getting a NO is not going to kill you. (I just read something that said we should never think of a NO as a NO, but rather a NOT YET.)
Want to try BEAUTY PIE for yourself?