Start-up Taste Beauty has launched its first products exclusively with Claire’s stores.
The business — run by Tom Crowley, Alex Fogelson and Sabrina Vertucci — makes flavored and scented nail polish and lip balms for tweens. The trio started the business after leaving Lotta Luv, started by Fogelson’s father Steph Fogelson, following its merger with Li & Fung. “We saw a white space in the teen and tween cosmetics market with really great high-quality flavors and fragrances, really great, innovative packaging and sort of a lean model of doing business that we thought we could really add value to our retailers and brand partners,” Fogelson said.
So far, Taste has inked partnerships with Tootsie Roll Industries, Nickelodeon, Nestlé, Pez and Chupa Chips to produce products with Blow Pop, Junior Mint, Charms, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob Squarepants, Rainbow Nerds, Crunch and other themes. The product packaging deviates frequently from simple tubes or bottles, and includes coffee cups, doughnut and mason jar-shaped goods.
“The concept is 3-D-printed from us, then they’re made with steel molds,” said Crowley. “The 3-D printing has cut down our mold time by probably more than half, just because we’re able to see it so much faster than we were in the past,” said Vertucci. “It’s definitely helped us speak to market and bring all these great components to market faster.”
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New products and additional distribution through mass and other specialty retailers will amp up in the fall, Fogelson said. Most of the products retail for less than $10. Right now, Taste is run by the three executives with two interns — but the company is planning to make some hires in the next year or so, Fogelson said.
“If you can innovate at a rapid pace and work very closely with customers and with retailers we think that you don’t need a ton of overhead to build an amazing company, something that connects with consumers,” Fogelson said. “We’re lean and nimble,” he said, declining to comment on the company’s funding structure or sales projections.
“We’re working on a project to create a more elevated, Millennial-focused line…that’s sort of nostalgic, so someone who loved these candies could come back and use a really high-quality, elevated lip gloss with great packaging,” Fogelson said.