QVC makeup queen taps Hawaii market
In the cosmetics industry, notorious for turning out copycat products, it takes a whole lot of confidence -- or a great product -- to go against the tide.
Appearing as part of Ala Moana's World Festival beginning Tuesday (see calendar of events, D4):
Meet and greet: 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 4
Also: Products will be shown from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 5
Leslie Blodgett, CEO of i.d. Bare Escentuals, has both in the company's mineral foundation bareMinerals, plus a fan base of millions of women who don't believe traditional liquid or powder foundations live up to expectations.
"A lot of women are not happy with the makeup they're using. This is something that really works for them," Blodgett said by phone from her office in San Francisco.
"It starts with the teenager who doesn't want to put chemicals on her face ... and makeup divas like me are wearing it because it looks polished without looking like we're wearing any makeup."
Even so, it's hard to believe that women raised with the idea of putting on a liquid foundation mask set with powder every morning would feel comfortable leaving the house with nothing more to hide cavernous pores, uneven pigmentation, wrinkles and zits than a sheer-looking mineral veil. But seeing is believing. Blodgett will be at Sephora Nov. 4 for hands-on demonstrations.
"I'm very excited about our acceptance in Hawaii," she said. "We have a lot of popularity in hot, humid areas because bareMinerals won't melt off your face, it doesn't seep into pores and it has natural (SPF 15) sunscreen.
"You can work out in it. My son, who's 13, wears bareMinerals as a sunscreen because regular sunscreen will run into his eyes and burn. I don't tell him it's makeup, and he doesn't know because it looks natural."
Just as the company's infomercials show on QVC, where it is the No. 1 beauty brand, bareMinerals is buffed onto skin so there's no demarcation indicating where skin and the minerals begin and end. The foundation is also versatile, giving light or heavy coverage where needed, so it's been effectively used by those with rosacea and acne.
Blodgett said she learns a lot talking to customers on her road trips and through their e-mails. "They were the ones writing us and telling us that their skin improved after using bareMinerals, so that's when we had an outside company come in to do a clinical study. They showed that it actually improves skin. It's makeup that works like skin care."
Those with dry skin might think twice about using a dry foundation, but Blodgett said the minerals have a hydrating effect.
"It looks like a powder but it's very creamy. Traditional powders are talc-based, and talc is very absorbent, very drying; bareMinerals holds in moisture."
After working in the cosmetics industry about a decade before arriving at Bare Escentuals 11 years ago, Blodgett discovered a lot of aspects she didn't like about the business.
"I always said that if I ever had the opportunity to run a company, I'd do away with commission sales; I wouldn't push products on consumers.
"Other companies didn't look at their products' effect on skin over time, just a couple of hours after application. That's why we're seeing a lot of adult acne in people in their 30s. Dermatologists will say that it's their foundation that's causing problems."
As a result, bareMinerals was formulated to stave off allergies. It has no preservatives, fragrance, oils, gums, binders or surfactants.
"You can put our product out in the sun side by side with a liquid foundation, and within minutes the liquid foundation will start separating. Ours is like a rock; it doesn't change. There's nothing in it to turn rancid. It's inert," Blodgett said.
"Some women have held on to some of our color products for 10 years. That's a problem for me because it never wears out. They never need to buy that same shade again. The only way I get them to buy again is to add a new color."
Blodgett said cosmetic surgeons often recommend bareMinerals. "It can be used right after surgery. With liquid foundation they have to wait awhile.
"So when I get my face lift ..."
At 43, she says, "So far, so good!"
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Japanese supermodel and TV celebrity Rinka.
World Festival: Hawaii’s Fashion Week
The annual celebration of designer style returns to Ala Moana Center Tuesday through Nov. 6 with six days of fashion shows; guest makeup artists and designers; introductions of limited-edition designer handbags, T-shirts and accessories created exclusively for the event; new-product launches; and appearances by Carson Kressley
of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and Japanese supermodel and TV celebrity Rinka
. Bust out your BlackBerries and take note:
Emporio Armani: Will showcase 200 exclusive fuchsia shoulder handbags ($168) and 50 exclusive hobo bags ($328).
Baccarat: Offers a L'anneau (Circle of Friends) pendant in partnership with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The pendant ($225) will be available in pink, red and translucent colors, each displayed on a matching satin ribbon.
The Neiman Marcus peace dove.
Has created limited-edition T-shirts for women ($120) and men ($139), featuring a slightly redesigned Bally crest combined with a Swiss cross.
Bulgari: This one's for the guys, with the launch of the Aloha tie collection, made from Saglione silk using Bulgari's seven-fold technique, in six colors, at $160 each.
Burberry: Will feature a charm bracelet watch ($395) with woven leather strap and decorative British charms in sterling silver.
Celine: An exclusive mini-trunkette handbag will be available in metallic blue, brown and peach leather ($1,160) or one-of-a-kind ebony python ($1,830). Each will feature beltlike buckles and bear a commemorative "World Festival Exclusive" plaque.
Dior: Will stage a full runway presentation of its Cruise/Spring 2006 Collection in the first showing outside Paris, 3 p.m. Nov. 6. Makeup artist Dennis Colum will provide consultations by appointment, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4. Dior will also offer three exclusive products including a canvas Trotter mini-duffle, $400, and beige logo T-shirts, $240.
Dooney & Bourke: Will launch its 2006 Denim Collection. Five trim colors (black, brown, mustard, natural and red) will be available in November, with seven additional colors to be introduced before year's end. A saddle bag will sell for $135. The Dooney Banana Bag, with two side pickets, will be $175.
Fendi: Roberto Masci, who has been involved with the design and conceptualization of Fendi's fur line for 40 years, will unveil an exclusive fur item.
Salvatore-Ferragamo offers a leather bracelet with hibiscus trim.
Has created 100 peach leather wrap bracelets with enamel hibiscus flower detail, at $130 each.
Hermes: Has created a black canvas handbag with white stitching with "World Festival 2005" tags.
Neiman Marcus: Partnered with Hollywood jewelry designer Lizzie Scheck to create an exclusive dove necklace symbolic of a desire for world peace. It's available in 14K gold with a pavé diamond eye, $390. A diamond-encrusted version is $1,310. NM also will introduce a holiday butterfly collection compact ($55), and three eye shadow shades ($32), by Chantecaille.
Sandal Tree: Preview the Taryn Rose 2006 Spring Collection, presented by Dora Fricke during a trunk show, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 5. Taryn Rose is an orthopedic surgeon known for quality comfort footwear, handmade in Italy. Buy a pair of Taryn Rose shoes and receive a personalized shoe box from Closet Fetish.
Louis Vuitton: Introduces its new line of sunglasses in the first showing outside of Paris. The newly expanded two-level store also will present informal modeling of its ready-to-wear collection, 9 p.m. Nov. 3.