The founders of indie makeup brand Ardency Inn revealed the secrets of successful lifestyle labels.

“A lifestyle is defined by a community of like-minded people, who have [similar] instincts and recognizable characteristics,” began Stephane Siboni, Ardency’s cofounder and co-chief executive officer. “By buying into the brand, the consumer is buying a kind of membership into this group. A great lifestyle is narrow enough that it’s clearly defined and identifiable, yet it has a broad appeal.”

Vans and Harley-Davidson were labels highlighted as having such qualities in no small part due to their marketing imagery aligned with a lifestyle.

A lifestyle brand communicates on a lifestyle at least as much as on a product, continued Siboni.

“Generally speaking, a brand designed for a lifestyle will have a much higher emotional value for consumers than one based on product features alone,” said Ardency cofounder and co-ceo Gilles Kortzagadarian. “It helps develop and sustain a long-term bond.”

He said lifestyle labels can launch products at lower advertising cost thanks to instant advocate endorsements, and that they are less dependent on innovation than product-focused brands since their consumers are buying more into an image.

“This is especially true of fashion,” said Kortzagadarian, adding that industry has “really mastered the art of lifestyle marketing, or making consumers want to buy what they don’t really need.”

“Color cosmetics is fashion,” he explained. “It should be marketed as such.”

To wit, Ardency is positioned as a lifestyle brand rooted in the downtown New York music scene. Its campaigns feature real female music artists.

“Women don’t come to Ardency Inn because they need another black eyeliner; they come to us because they want to feel like a rock star,” said Kortzagadarian. “What we are selling is really the bad-ass attitude.”

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