Indie Interview: de Deon Cosmetics
Woot! Interview with Gladys from de Leon Cosmetics.
Luna: How long have you been making cosmetics, why did you start?
Gladys: Back in early 2009 I developed one of those strange makeup cravings that I sometimes get. It has no rhyme or reason, and there certainly isn’t any logic to it, but all of a sudden, I wanted red glittery eyeshadow. After perusing my vast makeup collection (read, dumping it all on the coffee table and squeeing when I rediscovered lost treasures!) I noted that while I owned a matte red, there was indeed no glittery red to be found. Actually, there was no glittery anything but that’s another story…
So I set out to acquire this little missing part of my life. Truth be told, it was probably destined to be purchased, applied a few times and then relegated to the dozen lunchboxes that currently contain my collection. That is the way of things in my household.
But the universe had other plans for me. I discovered that no retail outlet within lazy driving distance offered a glittery red. No problem, I prefer to buy online anyway. I love getting packages in the mail! So I widened my search and discovered a makeup genre that so far had escaped my attention. Indie makeup, short for independent. People were actually making their own cosmetics!!! Instead of corporate juggernaughts, there were average everyday people mixing their own pretty powders! This caught my eye. How does this happen? And so started one of the largest research projects that I have ever undertaken. Formulation.
I spent the next two years reading, researching, developing relationships with other formulators, and above all, practicing my formulations. Some things were an instant success; some things have had me tearing my hair out for months, staring at ingredient lists, wondering where I went wrong. There is a lost graveyard box in my lab labeled rejects, and the contents are not pretty!
And I was happy muddling along with my pretties. I would use them on myself, grinning at the sheer luxury of creating an eye shadow to match a shirt I was planning to wear that weekend! But people started to notice and after months of being urged to go into business for myself and “share the pretties” as I was told to do, it started to leak into my brain. Could I do this? What business experience do I have? I have no chemistry background, in fact my 8th grade science teacher can affirm that I have NO science aptitude! But I do have a knack for colours and the formulation comes naturally…
My partner urged me to follow up on this and as a team, we started on the long and often painful process that involved way too much paperwork to fathom, and frustrations at every corner. We had a plan. I would continue to work full time outside the home, while seriously studying the formulation side of it, spare money being invested in the business and in time we would open. And then the universe stepped in. I was made redundant 3 days before Xmas and after an initial absolute freak out, I desperately searched for the silver lining. Maybe it was time to put aside any insecurities and just go for it! What else did I have to do? I was incredibly unhappy in my previous workplace and yearned to be my own boss, surrounded by an activity that made my heart sing, but that full time wage is really hard to give up, you know?
And so here we are. Older, wiser, and still hating the paperwork. But we present de Leon Cosmetics as a labour of love, a project that absolutely had to happen.
And in case you’re wondering, that red glittery eye shadow? It’s available for all to share! It’s called Dorothy’s Slippers and I’ve used it more than a few times now!
and do you have any future plans for new shades/products?
Oh I have so many plans, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. What do I do next? Ooh look, shiny!
To give you an idea of what’s in various stages of development I have blushes (cream and powder), cream eyeshadows, lip liners, eye liners, eye shadow pencils in the chubby stick format, and foundations (powder and liquid).
New shades? I still have some unreleased eyeshadows waiting in the wings and today I’m working on lip colours for our more Goth clientelle.
Luna: What is your favorite eyeshadow/lippie/primer that you make?
Gladys: Eyeshadow: Squeaker’s Ride, hands down my favourite of the bunch. Lippie: Looks better in red, I have a weakness for red lippies. Primer: My eye primer rocks my world!
Luna: What is your favorite eyeshadow/lippie/primer from another indie company?
Gladys: I just have to do a shout out to a fellow Aussie Indie maker here and say that Faerie Fire by Femme Fatale has got to be one of the prettiest shades I have seen in a long time. And Sophie is just too adorable for words!
Luna: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Gladys: I would love to add a huge thank you for the support that you and a few other ladies (you know who you are!) have shown me since I launched the company. Being way over here on the other side of the world, it was daunting breaking into a market that is very US based. It has been a very eye opening ride, I can tell you! But along the way I have found a network of fellow indie makers and customers that I am proud to call friends. I am in this for the long haul and each day I approach my work table in total awe that this is what I get to do!
My current favorite eye primer is from de Leon. It’s awesome sauce. Her lip products, both the gloss and lipstick balms are amazing as well. I have samples that I still need to swatch and get up, but they’re great.