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Beauty Industry Pioneer Nonie Creme Is at It Again

After her expensive eyelash extensions weren't holding up, Nonie Creme set off to create a solution.

Nonie Creme, the former founding creative director of Butter London and founder of Colour Prevails, doesn’t think the industry needs another color launch that doesn’t add anything fresh to the business.

That’s why her latest venture fills in what she views as gaps in the existing market. Under a banner called BeautyGarde, Creme plans to build a collection of items addressing consumer demands. Industry sources believe she could build BeautyGarde to a business producing more than $30 million per year.

First out of the gates is LashGarde, a line of oil-free lash products formulated for women and men who wear lash extensions or artificial lashes, that grew out of her personal experiences.

“I’m hooked on lash extensions,” Creme told WWD. But when she found her costly extensions weren’t standing the test of time, Creme learned the lashes need special care. One thing she learned the hard way was that oil-based products must be avoided “at all costs,” she said. The same rules were true for artificial lashes purchased for home use. In particular, she found, lashes need to be properly cleaned since they can collect bacteria. There were no designated product lines Creme could find on the market meeting these needs.

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“It became my passion over the year to see what I could do in the lash category — and do it better,” Creme said. “You can have all the cute packaging in the world but unless your product offers a benefit, it doesn’t offer something different [to the market].”

That was the genesis for LashGarde which includes oil-free mascara, oil-free Lash + Brow Shampoo (featuring a special charcoal-activated brush), oil-free liquid liner, oil-free priming sealant and faux lashes with faux lash adhesive. Creme said the products can be used by anyone, not just lash fans. LashGarde is rolling out this month on with plans for a specialty retailer to add the line in 2018.

The entire faux-lash category, Creme noted, is undergoing explosive growth sparked by the Kardashian/Jenner clan and social media exposure. Mass-market lash volume jumped double digits, according to IRI data for the most recent period tracked in mass-market doors. “And just walking in the street, you see so many more salons offering extensions,” Creme said.

As she builds out an entire brand, Creme said her next targets are brow and lip. She is working on a product to help produce fuller lips. Industry sources said that once the entire line is developed it could bring in sales as high as $30 million per year. She vows to stay ahead of the industry as she did when she helped create Butter London, ushering the concept of polishes with fewer chemicals, coining the term 3-free before it became an industry norm.