Jerrod Blandino, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Too Faced, which is owned by The Estée Lauder Cos., discusses how he wants to create a new normal that prioritizes conscious togetherness, makeup trends as a result of social distancing, why runway is not dead, and the responsibility of brands to lead the way forward with positivity and a highly-defined point of view.
We are looking towards the future with a new set of eyes and a new, more sensitive heart, and thinking about how we’re all going to be feeling emotionally, and how that is going to affect the way trends evolve. Products that we were creating and working on before the crisis might not be ideal for the next couple of seasons. So, I’ve gone deep and moved things around, not only to keep production going, but to create products that will be meaningful and relevant for the coming seasons when we’re all needing to feel safe, healthy and comfortable again.
I don’t feel it’s going to be the time when we go in with ultra-dramatic, crazy color trends. We’re not going to be doing the full face of makeup. When we ease back into life, I believe it’s going to be a more translucent, glossy, sheer take on naturals, a take on positivity and comfort. We’re going to be in need of a little love. We all need a bit of a cuddle, a bit of a hug.
Too Faced had a season coming up that was very bold and with some really creative and innovative formulas that enabled us to throw pigment loads that have never been achieved before. I moved that out, and moved up something that was much more skin-centric, much more warm and naturally pretty because I just feel that is where we are going.
Lashes and brows are going to be even more important than they’ve ever been. A swipe of shimmery shadow on the lid, add a little sparkle, a little fun. You put on a few coats of Better Than Sex, look in the mirror, and feel alive again. We have just launched a new concealer that is really plush and full of skin care ingredients, and is light enough to be used under the eye. You feel safe in it and can wear it in multiple ways that might not be super-dramatic and super-runway. But it’s a product that looks great in real life and will function as we move into whatever our new life will become.
One of the things that sets Too Faced apart is that we are a very emotional brand. We are tapping into that even more because we all need it. If I’m feeling insecure and unstable, I can’t imagine what my fans are feeling. So we’re creating products that are going to be centered around emotion, a common love, a common heartbeat. It’s so important because the way you look at yourself completely affects the way you feel about yourself. I feel an enormous sense of responsibility there. So I’m going to be creating and marketing products in a way that will hopefully help you feel a sense of joy again. A sense of cockiness again. A sense of safety.
Of course we are worried about our friends and family, and we feel heartbroken for people who have suffered losses and who have been ill. But in the end, we need to feel happy and we need to feel joy, and we deserve to feel those feelings again without feeling guilty. I just want to make sure everyone feels entitled to their happiness and entitled to laughter again, while we continue to pray for our families, and are sensitive to the suffering around us.
We are all feeling the same thing on a global scale. For me, that’s an opportunity to connect with each other and create a new future. I don’t want to go back to the old ways. I don’t want to get back to normal. I want to create a new normal where we will be more conscious of one another, our dependency and responsibility to one another on a global level. I think that’s beautiful. It’s an opportunity to makes things better.
I directed my team to not glaze over the crisis, to not pretend that it isn’t happening, and to talk about it in real time, in real ways. When I see brands that pretend it isn’t happening, I feel so disconnected. That said, I also don’t want brands to use it as an opportunity to market to me. Just be honest and don’t be afraid to say, let’s talk about it. Do not play on fear, do not play on insecurities. Do not, in any way, use what’s happening in any negative form. But what we can say is, ‘I know the last time you put lip gloss on is when you had a Zoom meeting with your boss. How many times have you reached into the cookie jar today?’ These are the little funny things we are experiencing together that we can laugh about. We can help you get through it with humor and a feeling that we are all in the same boat. But we will never use it as an opportunity to push a marketing calendar, to push a product.
I don’t think runway is dead. I think we’re all starving for a sense of drama and glamour and glitter again. There is a pageantry to life that I guess I took for granted. Now that it’s gone, I miss the polish of it! I miss the glitz! I miss good lighting, I miss good editing. There’s something fun about doing photo shoots from home, but I miss the dream of it all. I think that we’re all missing a little bit of that dream because it helps us get through life in a more romantic way. We’re getting to peak under the kimono a little too much! Let’s put some glitter back on it!
Keeping production going has been one of the biggest challenges and obstacles of my career, having everything come to a halt. Plus the impact on our partners who, by the way, we really care about. We have a lot of labs in Italy and throughout the world that have been devastated. We also have labs in the U.S., Canada and France. On so many levels, it’s difficult, but I am trying to find a way through with a core group of amazing people.
We have 600 employees and I am connected to maybe 50 in a very meaningful way. Together, we are fighting through every obstacle to make sure that we have launches there for you when the stores reopen. And we will not be diminishing the integrity of our formulas in any way. Luckily, we have the flexibility as a more established, strong brand to move around and shift something from here to there. It’s been really challenging. I don’t know how smaller brands are doing it and I worry about that.
This crisis is an opportunity to really pause and look at different ways to connect with our customers and our fans in a meaningful way. Brands with a heart, brands with a point of view, brands with a passion need to push forward and intensify their message because the world needs it. I’m a fan of so many different brands. More than ever, I need to understand who you are and why you are creating what you are creating, and how I can connect emotionally and feel like myself in your brand.
I’m looking for positivity. I’m looking for camaraderie. I’m looking for heart. I feel like the social media sites that are continuing to shine are being real and honest. They are focusing in on what their brand is. They are asking: Who am I? What’s my voice? Then they talk about what’s going on through that filter. For me, that’s comforting because it’s just truth.
Too Faced is my heart, it is not some kind of calculated corporate culture. My responsibility is to excite and delight my fans with products that will service them the best way they can, so they can live their life in the best way. It really comes down to that: spreading the light of love through our products to the world.