How LashControl Mascara Disrupted the Category with Revolutionary Product Design
We’ve got LashControl in the Hubba office! There’s not a gal out there who hasn’t smeared mascara on a tissue because it clumped, or simply had too much mascara on the brush. LashControl solves this problem with a unique squeezable mascara tube that allows you to control the amount of mascara on your brush.
As an avid makeup consumer with a patent attorney for an uncle, Jennifer Paulson Lee knew there was a better way to eliminate the potential risk of a contaminated brush and all that wasted product. Mascara has seen inventiveness related to lengthening and volume but disrupting the category with a container redesign is brand new thinking. Hear directly from Jennifer on why she was inspired to create something new and what it felt like to organically gain major media attention for LashControl:
Hubba: Lash Control is synonymous with ‘awesome innovation’ – how did you figure out what would make the mascara of women’s dreams?
Jennifer Paulson Lee: I wanted a great mascara with gentle ingredients I could control without the fuss and without the mess. I have light green eyes and fair skin – I don’t like gloppy, clumpy, heavy mascara – it looks awful. I came to the idea for LashControl as a consumer, basically in an instant as I was wiping my mascara glop off the brush with a tissue. I thought, “What a waste”…then I looked at the brush and saw tissue fibers and at that point I said to myself, “eeeeuuuu”, thinking those fibers are going to make my eyes itchy or, worse, would travel back inside the tube and grow microbial who-knows-what.
H: What has been the most interesting or rewarding part of having a product that rocketed to success with media coverage? What fell into place to help make that happen?
JPL: The media, bloggers, makeup artists, and especially customer testimonials have been the most rewarding part of this journey. Being validated by the top makeup artists of our time – Scott Barnes, Kevin James Bennett…Wayne Goss…I mean, does it get better than that? I saw a tutorial that Scott had posted where he was wiping excess mascara on the back of his hand so I wrote to him and asked him to try LashControl. He loved the ability to keep the formula more sanitary and ability to build the lash result he was going for with his models. Kathie Lee and Hoda were awesome too – Kathie grabbed one out of the hand of her makeup artist and took it on the Today Show as her “Favorite Thing”. Kevin was a beauty insider to OpenSky and brought LashControl to their attention. Then last February I received an email from Wayne Goss saying he was a friend of Scott Barnes and asking to do a review – Wow – I was petrified – then last March our server crashed because of all the orders that came in! But none of this would have happened without the help of my family, friends, my partners and my patent attorney – my uncle, Bob Paulson.
H: What would say is the hardest part of working with distributors or retailers? What does a brand need to do to make it easier?
JPL: Actually, the hardest part is finding them, and then getting them to believe in a niche product that challenges, and changes, an industry standard. Communicating the “squeeze factor” is one of our biggest challenges – and finding a retailer who can help us market, advertise and promote is difficult, especially for a small brand starting out with only a few SKUS. Thank goodness for the internet and the exposure it gives to the tiny brands who can’t really afford to advertise. Advise to any brand wanting to be noticed? Make sure your photography is truly high quality and tells your story, and be ready for anything!
H: If you could change one thing about the beauty industry, what would it be?
JPL: Acceptance. Like most multi-billion dollar industries – Beauty is controlled by a very few big players and it is all very closely knit together. That can be oppressive. I’m confident that LashControl could be adopted by big and little brands as an evolution of the current container type, maybe it even becomes it’s own category. It sounds disruptive but it’s actually just trying to share a good idea with excellent products that already exist (e.g: Lancome mascara with LashControl….or Dior “ShowOff ” mascara with LashControl etc).
I also wish there were a more streamlined, universal process for formula ingredient compliance and acceptance. There are some great organizations like ICMAD to help, but it is a maze of rules. It’s unclear why there’s isn’t one high standard to receive global acceptance?
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