Taylor Frankel and her sister, Ally, inspired their mother Jenny, a beauty industry veteran with MAC Cosmetics and Cover FX on her résumé, to launch a brand addressing Millennials’ no-fuss approach to makeup with straightforward pencils, and joined her to expand it to a growing list of retailers that includes Sephora, QVC, Space NK and Bluemercury. The social media voice of Toronto-based Nudestix, Frankel is plugged into the trends shaping her generation.
WWD: You started Nudestix with your mom. What did she teach you about what it takes to be successful in the beauty industry?
Taylor Frankel: When you are on stage, you are on stage. When you are eventing or in store, there is no such thing as being tired. It’s about being there and working it. We are an international brand, so it is all about working 24 hours as well. It’s nonstop. Also, she talks about authenticity and always goes back to why we started Nudestix in the first place, what makes us different and disruptive. Obviously, there is a lot of noise in the beauty industry, and it’s difficult to stay on brand and to keep your raison d’être. We have managed to keep our messaging strong, and that’s really important. We are easy, fast, effortless.
WWD: Where do you like to shop?
T.F.: I’m a very high-low shopper like a lot of Millennials. So, I will go into your local Zara or H&M, but I will also find a good bag at Fendi, which is really a luxury item for me. I mix my style. I like vintage shops as well. I like to find vintage jeans, Levi’s, and pairing them with new, modern items. My style is really important to me because it reflects who I am. I don’t like to stick to one brand or be super branded. Because I travel a lot, I pick up things from stores you’ve never heard of.
WWD: What is your favorite beauty brand that is not Nudestix?
T.F.: I love Glamglow’s hydrating mud mask. I have very dry skin, and it gives my skin an instant glow. I use Cover FX, and I really love Korean skin care. Tony Moly is really cute.
WWD: Nudestix promises to swiftly deliver a wearable makeup look with three products. What are three products you use regularly from the brand?
T.F.: Number one is concealer. I do not leave the house without concealer. It’s one of those things that makes you still look like you, but just a little bit better, and you feel a little bit more confident in your own skin. I love to use it under my eyes to brighten and cover any under-eye circles that I think I may have. If I have allergies and redness, I will even use it around my nose. It is great around the brow to define and highlight the brow if you want a precise shape. Then, I will use our Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil, which is your lip liner, your cheek color and your lip color all in one, so it’s super easy. I will use our mascara because I believe mascara opens your eyes and finishes up the look.
WWD: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
T.F.: I see myself working with Nudestix. I am so passionate about it and, at this point, I can’t picture myself doing anything else. I picture expanding Nudestix in a way that’s more lifestyle. As we grow and become a bigger brand internationally, we are looking to expand our range of products not just in makeup and skin care, but it could be in clothing. We actually want to launch a bathing-suit line. There are so many different ways that we can talk to our client. It’s not just makeup. It’s head to toe.
WWD: How much of your day is spent on social media?
T.F.: I’m on it all the time. I run the Nudestix Instagram account, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. I wake up and look at Instagram and Snapchat on my phone. Before I go to sleep, I look at Instagram and Snapchat and, obviously, I look at it throughout the day. My number-one platform is Instagram because that’s where we have the biggest following and where we started. Our next biggest following is on Snapchat. Snapchat has become a huge platform for us because Instagram is becoming a little less authentic with sponsored posts and influencers getting paid to endorse products. Snapchat is becoming a platform people know is authentic, where people are just themselves. Because Nudestix is about three products, three steps that are super easy, we love doing Snapchat tutorials.
WWD: You bring up an interesting point about authenticity and social media influencers. Do you think the power of these influencers is waning?
T.F.: As the client is getting a lot smarter, they are realizing that the influencers are getting paid, and it is becoming less authentic. We’ve noticed that there is not as much return on investment because you are giving product to influencers, they are talking about it, and people are entertained watching that, but they aren’t necessarily going to go out and buy the product because they know it’s not authentic and maybe they [the influencers] aren’t going to go out on a daily basis and use the product. I feel like as Instagram goes on, it is becoming less and less authentic — kind of like Facebook. It’s all paid posts now. That’s why we have to build on our in-store experience and engage our clients through our own brand. As time goes on, I think the influencer will really be a little bit irrelevant.