Swedish brand Make Up Store celebrates its 20th year in the business. What started out as a makeup artist brand — designed to provide the products and tools that a professional makeup artist needs — has evolved to include user-friendly products, novel textures and a staggering array of shades. The brand is known for its high-quality pigments, and it's also where you'll be able to pick up concealer palettes, loose eye dust and many other of your makeup wants. We spoke to founder Mika Liias to find out how the Make Up Store — and the average consumer — has evolved over the past 20 years.
The new store looks almost like a fashion boutique rather than a makeup store. What is the idea behind this new concept?
What I want is for all of the products to be showcased better and to add a luxurious, lounge-like feel to the store. We want a place where women will hang out and browse the makeup.
Your packaging used to be all round and now it's all squares. Why was the packaging revamped after 20 years?
I always dreamt of square packaging from the beginning, but my buyers told us to go for a round ones. Finally, when we hit 20 years, I got my wish and I wanted them to be more like a palette.
I was always inspired by Pantone colours where everything is presented in squares. We were a makeup artist brand from the beginning, so we wanted to present the shades in front of you so you can start to create from there. For regular customers, we have professional makeup artists in store to inspire them and give them all the knowledge that they need to create any look they desire. We have free 15-minute lessons — sit-downs where we teach customers how to do things like contouring — and they've worked out very well.
How has the consumer changed over the past 20 years?
Things have been changing a lot in different ways. When we started this brand 20 years ago, it was an era of matte shades. The lipsticks were very thick and very matte. The changes you can see today is that makeup has a more healthy approach. When we create looks, we are doing them simply to inspire the customer. The other major trend is in the texture of products – makeup is now so thin that you can't even see the makeup there. Customer knowledege is also much higher than before. In Sweden, they call it the Make Up Store effect — because we have been educating the customers so well, they know so much about makeup. Of course social media — blogs, Instagram and Facebook — are a big place where people pick up trends and skills.
How does Make Up Store adapt to the fast-moving pace of makeup trends today?
We have 14 looks per year, so we are always creating new collections. Today, I feel that people tend to match their makeup to what they're wearing. In the 70's in Sweden everyone was wearing blue eyeshadow and blue mascara. But now although blue eyeshadow is in trend and is selling well everywhere else, thanks to publications like Vogue Italia, they're not selling so well in Sweden. I believe the younger generation doesn't want to be like their mothers. Another change is that in the past, people used the same makeup all day, but today people tend to change their makeup at night when they're going out.
Which new Make Up Store products excite you?
When I started this brand I wanted a brand that everyone, of any age, could wear. It warms my heart when you can see three generations ( a daughter, mother and grandmother) shopping together at our stores and each finding something to buy. All of the looks can be adapted to any customer of any skin type. One product that is really great is our new Moonshadows. They have a creamier texture and it's like having three to four eyeshadows in one — depending on which parts of the eyeshadow you use. All of them are handmade in Italy to create the dots, so each piece is unique.
How about packaging trends?
All the brands are starting to decorate their packaging more. So we decided to change to the square packaging and have texture (mock-croc imprint) on our Microshadows, just to add that something extra. For limited edition packaging we will create beautiful designs such as the diamanté embellished blusher and eyeshadow palettes we did for Diamond, which is a bridal-inspired collection.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on the Spring 2017 collection now. It's really beautiful. I believe it's important to bring something new to both the staff and the customers. Some customers buy two pieces of everything limited that we put out — one piece that they don't touch and one that they use. We even have customers who collect our paper bags!