LONDON — Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall are seeing red.
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Next month, the duo behind the Ruby & Millie makeup brand will introduce a tween- and teen-skewed makeup line for Scarlett & Crimson, fictional characters who will feature in a series of books to be published later this year.
“The two characters appealed to how Ruby and I saw ourselves as teenagers,” said Kendall of the pair’s decision to create the line. “It’s about self-expression. They’re individuals.”
As well as appearing in 16 books, Scarlett & Crimson will come to life in August, thanks to an interactive Web site. There, the brand’s fans will be able to create avatars designed in their images, visit chat rooms and customize Scarlett & Crimson music tracks, which are also in the pipeline.
The duo already has dabbled in fashion — Robert Cary-Williams created a collection of vests in aid of charity for the brand earlier this year.
“You start believing they exist, as they have such strong personalities,” said Kendall of the characters who have a penchant for rock music, skulls and crossbones, vintage fashion, poetry and butterflies.
Since it’s meant to appeal to an audience of 11- to 16-year-olds, Hammer and Kendall took a soft approach to Scarlett & Crimson’s makeup line.
“We tried to do superior formulations, which have less pigment [than the Ruby & Millie line],” said Kendall, adding her name and Hammer’s feature on product packaging. “I don’t want my daughter, who is 12, to wear black eyeliner.”
The collection comprises natural and softly shimmering shades of cream blush, lip gloss and a clear mascara, for instance. Eye shadow palettes, dubbed In the Shadows, have a selection of natural and more fashion-forward shades, while a nail polish kit, named Totally Nailed, includes clear and iridescent shades, which Kendall suggested would be suitable to wear to school, as well as a black varnish for weekends. Smooth Minerals, a kit comprising a blush, bronzer, finishing powder, powder brush and blotting paper, taps the mineral makeup trend.
“All girls, when they come of age, will foray into makeup,” said Kendall, adding the line was conceived to help mothers feel comfortable about their daughters experimenting with color cosmetics. “We don’t feel it’s right to stop them, but it is right to give them the right tools.”
The line, which will grow to include beauty accessories next year, will range in price from 5 pounds, or $8.22 at current exchange, for Stacks of Beauty, a stackable kit comprising lip balm, cream blush and cream eye shadow, to 16 pounds, or $26.29, for Rock Bag, which comprises a Scarlett & Crimson bag and charms, a lip gloss, nail file and booklet of blotting paper.
Industry sources estimate the line will generate 2010 retail sales in the region of 2 million pounds, or $3.3 million, in the U.K., where it will bow in 400 Boots stores in September. Plans call for a rollout to Europe and the Far East next year, and the U.S. in 2011.