LOS ANGELES — Like a modern-day, male makeup Goldilocks, Too Faced co-founder Jerrod Blandino has preferred his company not too small, not too big, but just right.
"I didn't want to hit hard and burn out quickly," said the 35-year-old bleached blonde, who has gone from a self-described "counter kid" to a grown-up, if playfully chatty, cosmetics executive. "I wanted to grow it slow and stay cutting-edge."
That cautious approach is being tested by Too Faced's recent full-throttle momentum, which has carried the brand into more than 500 stores in the U.S., including Ulta, Nordstrom and Sephora. The Irvine, Calif.-based company has also begun to invade the global scene this year, with the United Arab Emirates, Australia, China, Turkey, India, Chile and Russia among the countries getting helpings of Too Faced products.
Blandino's founding partner, Jeremy Johnson, 32, called "action man" as opposed to Blandino's "dreamer" in the brand's marketing materials, estimated international sales would constitute 41 percent of the total this year, up from around 25 percent in the prior year. All told, retail sales are expected to jump from slightly above $50 million in 2006 to nearly $70 million in 2007.
"We're going from middle sized to being big; taking over where Stila left off, where Benefit is," Blandino declared. "We are becoming one of those established, crucial brands in A-list department stores that has a voice and something to say."
To make sure its voice is heard, Too Faced is unleashing a slew of new collaborations and marketing projects and increasing its advertising budget by slightly under $1 million this year. Starting in May, Too Faced is partnering with the USA Network on its six-part series "The Starter Wife" starring Debra Messing. Too Faced items will be given away at the May 31 premiere, during events at W hotels in Los Angeles and New York to kick off the series and as part of a radio sweepstakes.
For fall, Too Faced has teamed up with retailer Miss Sixty on a runway-inspired palette molded after the company's Quickie Chronicles, small makeup booklets that nod at cheeky pinup books of the past. The $28 Miss Sixty color palette, which Too Faced plans to distribute to Miss Sixty stores, has four lip glosses, four eye shadows, an eyeliner duo and blush.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"