Business, Politics & Society

Marketing Case Study: Mented

Sara Blakely

Lesson time 14:46 min

Sara sits down with KJ Miller, the founder of Mented Cosmetics, an everyday nude makeup line for all skin tones. They discuss the importance of differentiation in retail, how to cadence product releases, and leading with your origin story.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - Hi, I'm KJ Miller. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Mented Cosmetics. - Congrats. - Thank you. So Mented is short for pigmented. And we are a pigment first beauty brand celebrating women of all hues. And I-- actually, I met my co-founder at business school. And after we graduated, we realized there really wasn't a brand out there speaking to us and making everyday products for our deeper skin tones. And we wanted to create it. So we started making lipsticks in our kitchens. And-- - Really? - Yeah, we did, and wound up with these really gorgeous nude shades that we just didn't see represented anywhere else and started sending them out to influencers, started sending them out to friends and family, and just kept getting such great feedback that we decided to sort of turn our weekend hobby into a business. And two years later, we've grown the line. And it's just-- it's been quite a ride. - Your lips-- - . - --look great. - Oh, thank you. - I'm assuming you're wearing your own product? - Of course, always, always. This is Brown Bear, one of my favorites. - Nice. Well, congrats. - Thank you. - It's wonderful when a business starts from a need and a void in the market that you as the founder feel and felt because that's such an authentic story. - Yeah, definitely. - And you've solved a problem for yourself, which typically means you've solved it for many other people. That's great. - Thank you. - How is your makeup different from other options out there that are targeting different skin tone? - A few ways. The first is that we care a lot about our ingredients. And historically, the brands that have been more focused on niche audiences, deeper skin tones have been these mass brands sort of like produced in ways and with ingredients that weren't very clean. From the beginning, we've been vegan, nontoxic, paraben free. - Is that very prominent on your packaging? - No, and it should be. - OK. - That's a good point, and it should be. - OK. - And it honestly could probably be more prominent on our website, too. But that's always just been something that's important to us. And the other thing is I think one thing that we always felt as deeper skinned women was people wanted to paint us in like bold, bright colors, like oranges and purples and blues because they assumed that'll be the thing that'll show up. But we wanted muted. We wanted neutral. We wanted nude. And so if you look at our line, it is mostly nudes and neutrals, and the things that most women wear day in and day out. And I think that's another big differentiator for us is that it's hard to get right a nuanced, nude shade when you're dealing with deeper skin tones. But that's where our focus is. - So I like that. So you just listed a few very big differentiators. And I would encourage you to make sure on your packaging that's prominent, the best that you can, or tha...


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With little more than an idea and a drive to find her way, Sara Blakely went from selling fax machines door-to-door to becoming the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2012. Now the inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of Spanx teaches you to open doors and close deals. Learn Sara’s customer-first approach and her tactics for prototyping, branding and building awareness, and bootstrapping your way to success.



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