LOS ANGELES — Amy Nadine, the celebrity makeup artist behind popular blog The Beauty Department, has moved into Costco’s beauty department.
Nadine, whose bold-faced clients include Lauren Conrad, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Peet and Krysten Ritter, joins dermatologist Jessica Wu, hairstylist Orlando Pita, and fellow makeup artists Kristofer Buckle and Pati Dubroff as a member of the Beauty’s Most Wanted lineup of beauty brands assembled by design, product development and manufacturing firm Hatchbeauty to make Costco a force in prestige beauty.
Priced at $15.99 for Costco members and $40 outside of the warehouse retailer, the first product from Nadine’s namesake brand, Renewing Nude Eyeshadow Palette, rolled out to select Costco locations and on costco.com in October.
“Amy represents a specific type of beauty that we didn’t have,” said Ben Bennett, creative director and managing partner at Hatchbeauty. “Pati has a refined, sophisticated style. With Kristofer, we wanted to swing the pendulum in the other direction. He is known for working with divas. He’s a sculptor. After Kristofer, we wanted to swing the pendulum in another direction again to someone who represents fresh beauty. There’s still glamour and sophistication in what Amy does, but it is always beautiful and clean. It never feels heavy-handed.”
He added that sales are living up to expectations: “Amy Nadine’s palette is performing incredibly well. We believe her customer is an informed, educated and busy woman. Her fans appreciate the skin-care ingredient enhanced formulas and the portable but luxurious packaging.
Having her own brand has been an aspiration of Nadine’s dating back to her college years. While studying business at Wake Forest University, she outlined the business model for a makeup brand called Ceylon. “That business was a typical old school beauty business. You had to think about getting it into retail yourself. I get to bypass that with Hatch. It’s a dream,” Nadine said.
Following a stint in public relations, she went to makeup school at Make-up Designory and landed on the roster of makeup artist Jillian Dempsey’s Bardeen Agency at its onset, which put her on jobs with Patrick Dempsey. In 2007, Conrad entered the picture and, in 2010, Nadine expanded her celebrity reach as head of the makeup department on the movie “Life Happens” starring Ritter, Bosworth and Bilson. She’s collaborated with Mark Cosmetics on lip glosses and has been a brand ambassador for Guthy-Renker, but has never before had products solely under her name.
Nadine sought out Hatchbeauty to turn her aspiration into reality. As a patient of Wu’s, the Beauty’s Most Wanted program has been on Nadine’s radar since its launch two years ago. When she learned Buckle had joined the program, she figured Hatchbeauty was open to more makeup artists and shot off an unsolicited e-mail to the firm expressing her interest. “I always tell my friends, ‘Just put it out there, you never know what might happen.’ So, that’s what I did,” she said. “He [Bennett] wrote back in 10 minutes and said, ‘I know who you are. We are looking for someone like you who does fresh faces.’”
In addition to her approach to beauty, Bennett was intrigued by Nadine’s close relationship with fans. “There isn’t another makeup artist at her level so connected with her audience,” he says. The Beauty Department, which Nadine cofounded with Conrad and hairstylist Kristin Ess, pioneered straightforward step-to-step beauty tutorials. Nadine emphasized one of the reasons the blog is trusted by its audience is she’s careful about what she features. “I get a box or two a day of products because everybody wants to be in The Beauty Department or on one of my clients. To make it into my kit, it has to be better than what’s already in there. I have to wear it on myself,” Nadine said. She recently started another blog, The Practically Perfect Baby, with her sister Whitney Fenlason. Nadine is planning to spotlight her brand’s products in her blogs.
Over the course of about year, Nadine and Hatchbeauty diligently orchestrated a product they believe has broad appeal. A set of four neutral shades, the palette is infused with skin-care ingredients such as bamboo silk, bilberry seed oil, red raspberry seed and clover flower extract. “I’m 40, and I want to talk to people my own age,” Nadine said. “You spend all this money on facials and on skin-care products. Then, with one swipe of your makeup, you take that all away. I wanted something that works with your skin care and against aging. You can feel that in the products. Everything is soft and silky.”
Industry sources estimate the Amy Nadine products for Beauty’s Most Wanted will generate $5 million in sales during their initial year on the market. So far, Bennett maintains that Beauty’s Most Wanted has been “phenomenally successful” at Costco and for the personalities involved. “It’s less risky for a personality, and it allows them to gain an enormous amount of exposure with millions of eyes on their brands in a short period of time,” he said. “We move through an item quickly. Turn can be six weeks to three months. Our goal is to have a constant pipeline of newness without bombarding the customer with too much from a single stylemaker. That’s why we have multiple styl makers.”