Beauty Store Business

AUG 2017

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80 August 2017 | CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' For Zomnir, a career in the beauty industry was more happenstance than intentional. While working for ad agency Leo Burnett, based in Chicago, Zomnir says she moved to California in search of better weather. "I became a scuba instructor and had plans to write and travel the world," she says. "Instead, I met [cofounder] Sandy Lerner a few months later, and we started a business together." That business was run out of Zom- nir's Laguna Beach bungalow, where the nail polishes were hand-mixed and where press kits were assembled. Zomnir hired unemployed surfer girls she met on the beach, who she enlisted to hand-paint the company's first nail polish displays. True to its California roots, Urban Decay's head- quarters (shown throughout) and flagship store are located in Newport Beach. "I may or may not have stolen a Nordstrom buyer contact sheet from my friend's boyfriend's briefcase, while he was busy showering at my place after a surf session," Zomnir says of how the company got its first big break. "I called the cosmetics buyer and said he had recommended I call her, and she asked if I could present the collection to her the next day. After meeting with her, they placed our very first order immediately." CHASING RAINBOWS Fun and feminine yet gutsy and bold, Urban Decay, much like Zomnir, has stayed true to its mantra since the beginning— which has also played an integral role in its success. "Urban Decay has a clear point of view and is all about the fun of self-expression through makeup. We create high-quality beauty products with innovative packaging and incredible colors. We aren't afraid to change and evolve, and we are always working on ways to make our products better," Zomnir says. Not only did the seedier aspects of urban cities influence the colors of the cosmetics line, but this philosophy was integrated into the packaging as well. Urban Decay's single eyeshadows once depicted a manhole cover and later a pothole, and now feature its iconic Revamped Subway Token design. "We like to look at what's going on with fashion, art and design to get inspi- ration for packaging. We also like to check out new fabrics, patterns and motifs. And, of course, we meet with packaging people from all over the world to learn about new technology and what can be accomplished now in manufacturing— what new materials are available and how they can be combined. Sometimes something you've seen at a movie or museum will click with something a pack- aging manufacturer has shown you and voilà! There's your idea," Zomnir says. BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE "Makeup is a means of self-expression. It's not about covering your flaws, but showing the world who you are," Zomnir says. In line with the brand's powerful mes- sage of self-acceptance, Urban Decay created The Ultraviolet Edge, a global initiative that funds women's rights organizations around the world. Since it was founded in 2015, Urban Decay has donated $1.28 million to various nonprofits, with the goal of donating another $1 mil- lion this year. Should they succeed, the company will, ahead of schedule, reach its target goal of $3 million in five years. To help the cause, 100 percent of the purchase price for Urban Decay's limited- edition Eyeshadow Primer Potion will benefit women's empowerment organiza- tions through The Ultraviolet Edge, which include the Women's Global Empowerment Fund, Equality Now and Her Justice. For a brand with such an authorita- tive presence, Urban Decay has chosen equally strong and inspiring women to serve as its brand ambassadors. At the end of 2015, Urban Decay did a makeup collaboration with fellow Orange County native and "Just a Girl" singer Gwen Ste- fani, someone Zomnir had wanted to work with since the company was created. For its recent Vice Lipstick Collection, Orange Is the New Black actor Ruby Rose was a natural fit to represent the brand. "We always say that the Urban Decay girl is the coolest person in the room, and also the nicest," Zomnir says. "When I first saw Ruby Rose, I thought she was an amazing fit for us. She embodies beauty with an edge. She's dangerous. She's fun. And she is an animal lover. We sort of developed a girl crush on her and were beyond excited when she wanted to work with us to launch the Vice Lipstick Collection." "Makeup is a means of self- expression. It's not about covering your flaws, but showing the world who you are." Zomnir (middle) tests out the products by snowboarding, surfi ng and doing hot yoga in makeup. Courtesy of Urban Decay

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