Madewell already happens to sell one of my personal favorite makeup bags — and now it's officially offering up plenty of goodies to fill it. On Tuesday, the J.Crew-owned denim retailer will launch the Madewell Beauty Cabinet, a selection of 40 beauty products across multiple categories, in 21 stores and on its website. The lineup includes perfumes, sheet masks, makeup palettes, deodorants, bath soaks and more from a variety of different brands, though most of them skew toward indie and natural beauty.
To accompany the launch of Madewell Beauty Cabinet, the retailer also released dreamy, minimalist campaign imagery (shown above and throughout) that establishes the Madewell beauty aesthetic as one of low-maintenance, no-makeup-makeup breeziness. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect if you've ever seen one of Madewell's seasonal lookbooks before.
While the majority of the products — from brands like Herbivore Botanicals, Vitruvi, Karuna, RMS and Ursa Major — are not exclusive to Madewell, the retailer partnered with Insta-bait natural beauty company French Girl to create three bespoke body products in a new scent that did not already exist in the range, Lavande Blanche.
Madewell Head Designer Joyce Lee and her team were tasked with curating a product selection that would cater to the store's existing clientele and serve as a logical extension of the brand. We caught up with her ahead of Madewell Beauty Cabinet's launch to find out more.
What inspired the Madewell Beauty Cabinet, and why do you think now is the right time for Madewell to be getting into beauty?
We're a team of women who are constantly sharing advice, talking about what inspires us and what we rely on day-to-day. The beauty selection grew organically out of those conversations and is a true representation of our team members' beauty routines.
How would you describe Madewell's approach to beauty, and how is it different from what other beauty retailers offer?
At Madewell, we gravitate toward a natural aesthetic. Whether it's style or beauty, we look to items that are versatile and can be relied on day in and day out. We try to stay away from getting too tricky and focus on tried and true products that our girl could reach for every day. In short, our motto is "less is more," and we applied that during the development of the beauty selection.
What went into the process of curating the products and brands? What was the team looking for?
We started the process by sourcing recommendations from our team, finding out what their beauty essentials were and what they use every day. We then tested each other's recommendations to make sure only the best, most reliable products made it into the line.
We wanted everything to be versatile in function — like a lip and cheek tint in one — and understated. You won't find any crazy colors or anything that's too bold — it's all about a super-natural look. Skin care was a huge part of the selection process; we wanted the emphasis to be on healthy skin and then on makeup as a subtle enhancer of natural beauty.
Who do you hope the Madewell Beauty Cabinet will cater to? Do you hope to reach new consumers or to target existing Madewell shoppers?
Our core customer. We want the line to fit seamlessly into what we are already offering her.
In your experience so far, how does the beauty business differ from the fashion business?
While the product is different, our approach to the beauty selection didn't [stray far] from how we look at our main collection. We aim to create a selection of items that feel like an organic part of our customers' day-to-day. It's not about trends, but feeling good about herself, comfortable in her own skin and enhancing that.
Most of the brands are smaller, under-the-radar indie ones — did you intend to prioritize that?
We found a lot of the brands from crowd sourcing people in our office and trying out their recommendations, versus actively seeking out certain types of brands. It's truly what they reached for in their beauty cabinet on a daily basis.
In terms of the brands that are being featured, which ones are you most excited about? Is there any one product that's a personal favorite for you?
I love the Herbivore Botanicals masks. They're perfect for the change in season and keeping my skin hydrated now that the temps are cooler. I also love their bath soaks, it feels like you're bathing in cream and milk, and your skin is so smooth afterward. As far as makeup, I use the RMS lip to cheek daily and the tiny little compact is perfect for traveling. Also, thinking ahead to all those holiday parties I'll attend straight from work, the compact is all I'll need to transition a look.
Click through the gallery below to see (and shop!) every product included in the Madewell Beauty Cabinet lineup.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
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