It's always nice to find a great product at a reasonable price, but during this economic downturn, it's even more exciting. I told you about my recent department store impulse buy, but don't get the wrong impression. I rarely run to the mall to pick up $95 eye creams.
Usually, I'm seeking out products that perform well, while keeping me well inside my budget. To my surprise, a tiny company called Sweet Libertine, delivers an amazing product that falls below my budget.
With their smorgasbord of vibrant mineral eye shadows at just $5 a pop, I can afford to wear a different shade every day.
Starting in an Etsy shop with a handful of colors, Sarah Waller, the mastermind behind this beauty brand, launched an unexpected career.
"I had a yarn business that went under when the economy changed," says Sarah. "I was going to school and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life."
During this life assessment, Sarah, a self proclaimed "country girl" went to Walgreens to buy a few eye shadows.
When she got them home, she was disappointed with the texture and color saturation. Looking at her batch of useless shadows, she said to herself, I could do better. I've worked with yarns and colors. Maybe that could translate to makeup.
Sarah ordered a small amount of minerals and experimented. But as Sarah tells it, no one believed she was serious at first. "I worked as a farmhand as a teenager," Sarah says, laughing. "I had no experience with makeup. I wore one color of eye shadow my entire teen years."
Once Sarah was confident she'd mastered a handful of beautiful shades, she opened an Etsy shop premiering her creations. Every single jar sold out in the first hour. Sarah was shocked and pleased. Within six months, Sweet Libertine was her full time job.
Then her fiance (now her husband) lost his job due to the economy. Sarah needed help with her business and her honey needed a job. They decided to combine forces. Today, barely two years later, they both work full time making, naming and selling an array of beautiful eye shadows, along with the line's small collection of blushes and bronzers.
One of the reasons Sweet Libertine has been such a success is their reasonable prices. Most eye shadows in the line retail at just $5. As if that's not incredible enough, they also offer free samples.
Sarah says she wanted women like her, who didn't have much makeup experience, to try her products for free. Since most internet cosmetic brands sell their samples, this is a big plus. Within a couple of months of unveiling her free samples program, she received 16,000 requests!
But Sarah is happy she has garnered such an enthusiastic response. She says the program has brought her a lot of new customers who may not have taken a risk in buying makeup online or trying a new brand.
When asked how she's able to sell shadows at just $5 each and offer free samples, Sarah says the main ingredient is keeping overhead low. She has no intentions of moving her line to a brick and mortar post. She doesn't want to raise her prices. And with her flat rate shipping at just $3 stateside and $5 for international, there isn't much to fuss about.
And for those of you out there who have problems with bismuth, rest assured. Sweet Libertine doesn't include it. Now that truly is sweet.
Want to get your hands on some Sweet Libertine eye shadows? Pop over to Sweet Libertine's website and pick the four mineral eye shadows you'd like to win (Alien Lovechild and Dragon City are my faves); then come here and follow Makeup Theory (hit the Follow button to the right), then leave a comment on this post. On May 12th, 2010, we'll be picking a winner. If your name is chosen, you'll get the four shadows you picked.
This contest is for followers of this blog only. If you're not a follower, just hit the "Follow" button to the right before leaving a comment. Good luck, ladies.