While today’s brands are being tasked with reimagining their strategies to accommodate the rise of virtual realms and augmented reality, Bakeup, which launches this fall, will come to market with such technological advancements already embedded into its DNA.
“There is no beauty without disruption,” said Cristina Carlino, who founded Philosophy in 1996 and has teamed with her 20-year-old daughter, singer-songwriter Grace Gaustad, celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker, It Cosmetics’ Christine Nevin and fellow Philosophy alumna Sarah Superfon for the creation of Bakeup.
It’s the not-so-classic tale of just the right amount of cooks in the kitchen: Baker, the artist; Gaustad, the muse, and Carlino, Nevin and Superfon, the seasoned strategic masterminds behind it all.
The self-described “digital-first” brand seeks to highlight makeup’s potential as a means to express one’s individuality, rather than a method to conform to societal norms — a prevailing trend that British-born Baker said she has long sought to challenge.
“It’s almost like makeup is expected to just be pretty, beautiful, a bit conservative — that is very much the standard,” said Baker, who has done the makeup of celebrities including Kristen Wiig, Priyanka Chopra and Maude Apatow. “I just felt really suppressed in that world, and I feel like my clients also wanted to stand out and be unique, too.”
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In the case of Gaustad, who is embarking on a track-by-track rollout of her second studio album, “PLLBX,” makeup is one avenue through which she expresses her artistry as a musician.
“Before I met Jo, I wasn’t super comfortable with makeup on, but when I discovered that I can basically wear my emotions and stories on my face, that changed,” Gaustad said. “For me, makeup is all about the recreation of one’s own persona. It’s self-expression without bounds, a world without parameters — it’s freedom.”
Preluding the brand’s official launch will be the late-August release of its gemstone-embellished eye veil, the Disco Eye Veil Adornment. The veil is the first of many Bakeup “wearables,” to come, for which alternate versions will also be available via Instagram filter and in the metaverse.
To make the latter possible, Bakeup teamed with Tafi/Daz 3D, the creators of the Non-Fungible People (NFP) NFT collection, to create digital makeup that can be worn, traded and sold in the metaverse, with the veil being the first of many iterations to come.
“We like to call it ‘multiverse beauty,’ or, the idea that there can be multiple realities that you can exist in at once,” said Superfon, chief executive officer of Bakeup. “You can be in your bathroom with the physical product, or you can use our filters and play on social media, or even have digital wearables for your avatar to take into gaming.”
While it has yet to be revealed what other products the line will entail (although the brand has confirmed a colorful eye palette is on the horizon), each stock keeping unit has been designed to allow for uninhibited self-expression, especially among consumers who have otherwise felt overlooked by the beauty industry.
“Bakeup is really a brand for anyone who’s ever felt different for any reason, like they don’t belong or don’t fit in,” Gaustad said. “It’s about creating freedom for every single individual.”
In addition to its physical product development, the brand has also been devising strategies to ensure its virtual community is as safe and welcoming a place as possible.
“Today, Web3 and the metaverse are basically where the internet was in the late ‘90s or early 2000s,” Carlino said. “And so, I think Bakeup has an opportunity to not only be a trailblazer in this space, but to hopefully influence it in a positive way that we didn’t see happen when social media came to be.”
With this launch, Bakeup’s founders are seeking to redefine what beauty looks like in the post-pandemic world by prioritizing inclusivity, creativity and community.
“We’re not using makeup, we’re using Bakeup — we’re cooking up looks, we’re having fun, we’re creating and we’re changing the narrative in the beauty industry,” Baker said.