It was an exciting night for fans who were lined up around the Morphe Brushes shopping center to meet Jeffree Star in Burbank, California, Sept. 29. A purchase of one of his new shades: “Dominatrix” and “Masochist,” was entry to meet Star and take a picture with him. Before the swarm of fans commenced, Beauty Store Business caught up with the CEO who told us about his future plans for highlighters, eye shadows and more.
BEAUTY STORE BUSINESS: Can you tell us why you decided to launch your two new shades at Morphe Brushes?
JEFFREE STAR: Morphe Brushes and the owners Linda and Chris have been such big supporters of the Jeffree Star movement and my whole brand. Before I even created any products they told me, “We want you to be part of our store, when you’re ready.” I am only 10-months-old, and things are growing so quickly; so I thought it would be special to come back to the people who have supported me from the very beginning. And I am so excited. The turnout is crazy!
What inspired you to create your new shades?
I have about 15 colors now and I am constantly inspired by a bunch of stuff, especially because the Internet is so big now. I’ll see someone wearing something, and I’m like, "Oh, let me tweak that and make it better." Brown lipstick is so trendy right now that I wanted to make that perfect chocolate shade—that’s where Dominatrix came about. And Masochist is this raspberry, darker burgundy color. I have a computer full of names. I write down shade names all day. So many brands are boring—like "dusty mauve" or "beige," and I want to be a little more creative and have people remember the names and have them stand out. When I was creating these colors, this girl met me on the street and she was actually a real-life dominatrix. And I was like, that’s so wild, I am not into that culture but I respect it, and it inspired me to name the shades.
Do you have plans to expand your product into other beauty stores?
I think in the future, [yes]. I am being very selective and very careful; and I am having growing pains, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s very ecommerce right now, but I’ve gotten hit up by Urban Outfitters and big chains in the last few months. I actually turned them down, not because there is any drama—there’s no drama. I just don’t want to go to that next level yet where higher-ups are going to tell me what they want me to make. I want it to be 100% me. I come from the music world where I was constantly harassed and pulled so many different ways with my music career that when I did my makeup line, I was not going to compromise. I’m going to stay indie for now and enjoy the moment.
You are a very unique business owner. You are always supporting other CEOs and brands and posting and promoting for other lines. What kind of business owner are you, and why is that important to you?
I come from doing makeup for like 15 years now. When I was 13-years-old, I became obsessed with makeup. I’d steal all my mom’s stuff; and it’s like, before I’m a business owner, I’m a consumer. My first job ever was at the MAC counter when I was 18. I buy so much makeup myself. Of course, it’s nice when other brands recognize me and want to send me free product. Who doesn’t want free makeup, right? I spend thousands of dollars on every brand a month out of my own pocket because I’m a makeup lover. When other brands are catty and they think it’s a competition it’s like, "How many girls are on this planet?" There’s enough makeup for everybody. So I’m not into the cattiness and the girl drama in the makeup world. It’s just not for me. I love to support everybody—if the product’s good. If my best friend made a product I would be like, "This sucks."
Are you planning on launching other products other than the liquid lipsticks?
The lip scrub is coming out this month. There was a little delay because I want the packaging to come out perfect. So there’s vegan lip scrubs coming out in October. The liquids lips will carry us out through Christmas. I have a lot of limited-edition stuff coming out. Product-wise, I have an eye shadow palette coming out, I have stick lipsticks, and I am doing a collab with someone soon, which I will announce soon. But I am focused on the eyes and the lips, and then I am going to do highlighters. And different shades too, because so many brands do the same [shades]: gold, beige, silver. I’m trying to do a mint highlighter, a lavender, a rainbow glitter. I’m trying to take it to the next level.
How has social media helped your business?
It’s made it so crazy. I come from social media just from growing up. We come from that generation where there wasn’t Internet when we were younger and in 7th/8th grade it was everywhere! So social media has been such a big force behind [my career]. It’s easy to promote. You don’t have to spend 20 grand on a billboard on Sunset [Blvd. in Los Angeles]. [We] just send out a Snapchat and let them know we’re at Morphe!
What are some goals and plans that you have for 2016?
I do want to grow bigger and have a bigger reach. The cool thing about social media is that Khloe Kardashian was just seen wearing Posh Spice the other day in New York. I love word of mouth and having more people experience it and enjoy it. I definitely want to maybe be in a bigger store, if it’s the right fit—maybe Sephora and ULTA, you never know. And I want to continue to grow products and continue doing my makeup classes and just get out there more, more, more!
How involved are you on the business end?
100%. A lot of people have investors, or they have 50/50, or the “yes men”—it’s the Jeffree show. And that’s that. I have a warehouse now, full of employees and a shipping department and lawyers, and it’s a lot. But it’s my whole entire life now.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day varies. I fly a lot. I travel. Every morning I roll over and go on Instagram, and I literally check everything. It usually takes me about 20 minutes, and then my dogs get mad at me. It’s just a lot of work; a lot of emails and back and forth. The problem with the makeup industry is that there are a lot of different entities: the people who make the shape labels; the people that make your makeup; sometimes there are lags or production issues; so it’s stressful.
Is there anything you want to add?
My whole line is vegan and cruelty-free. A lot of people ask about that, which is good; because when some people don’t care, I think it’s important that now you have a choice to buy something that’s either tested on animals or not. I think it’s important to support humanity. Be humane!
[Photos taken by Breanna Armstrong, managing editor, Beauty Store Business]