Full disclosure: I rarely wear makeup and, like many women out there, I hardly ever stray from the cosmetics brands I already know and love.
So, back in November, when blogger Christina Brown of Love Brown Sugar invited me to the launch of a nail polish she collaborated on with new beauty brand LiSi Cosmetics, I was a little skeptical. She raved about the product, the amazing quality and even more amazing price point (everything is under $15!)--but, I had to see for myself. And when I did, well, I was sold on the new brand.
Never heard of LiSi? The company just launched six months ago with e-commerce and a brick-and-mortar flagship on Broadway and Astor Place in NYC. Their mission statement: "An exceptional beauty brand that bridges the gap between high-end quality products and affordable prices and caters to women of all ethnicities." What this means is they're going for that aspirational customer--think expensive packaging and the latest cosmetic technology (like baked eye shadows)--but at dirt cheap prices. The shop is set up in the style of say, a MAC store: There are trained "beauty advisors" to help you try on the full range of products (they’ve got everything from foundation to setting mist), and give consultations so the cosmetically challenged can walk out looking like a million bucks.
I chatted with Lisa Hill, who sits at the helm of LiSi as the brand’s creative director. She’s been working for several years in the cosmetics industry, mostly on the product development, marketing, and brand-building end. But when she got a call to develop LiSi, the brainchild of the owner of a NYC-based retail clothing store chain (Hill was very secretive about what chain is behind LiSi), she jumped at the opportunity to bring something new to the beauty landscape. "I was intrigued, because it was something that has never been done before. There are certain wonderful cosmetics companies in the mass arena: department store brands, specialty brands, at every price point from high to low," she told me. "But no one has been able to capture the best of both worlds. Bringing testers, gorgeous packaging, you know--the whole grand experience of a makeover at the affordable range that you might pay in a drugstore or even en masse.”
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Although the price points seem like a pittance (like $4.90 for a bottle of nail polish), Lisa says they're "not looking to be the cheapest on the block." She elaborated, "You can certainly get nail polish for a dollar. You will not get salon quality formula. You can certainly buy lipsticks for two or three dollars, but you're not going to get a beautiful soft-touch component, you're not going to be able to test it. We’re really trying to elevate the quality, but still give you that affordable price point."
For a new, inexpensive brand they've been doing quite well. Hill credits a lot of the label's growth through buzz from bloggers and vloggers, and it seems that general word-of-mouth has really helped LiSi expand. "I am in the store every day and I see the same customers who bought something, and someone took it from them and they have to get it again,” she said. “Or they love it so much that they have to buy it for their sister, their mother, or their aunt. And I like that kind of grassroots growth, because it's real, because it's actual customers buying and liking your product."
But it’s more than just grassroots. LiSi’s also been getting the stamp of approval from makeup artists. Their products have been used on the show Smash, and have even graced the faces of the ladies on The View. Not bad for a six-month old company!
So you heard it here first: LiSi is worth trying. [Ed. Note: We did a sneaky shopping trip there this afternoon. All the merch is 50% off in the store now, but not on the website. It definitely seemed a bit disheveled in there, like they were getting ready to ship in spring colors. Also to note: The nail polish selection is impressive--Cheryl] The products are well pigmented, nicely textured, and come in a range of colors that will look good on anyone from Christina Hendricks to Kelly Rowland. Take it from someone who rarely buys makeup: The stuff is great and had me coming back for more.