By Wendy Steele, Keys CEO
A few years ago when I fell and sprained my ankle, I had to send Bob to Santa Monica CA to meet with 300 Hollywood makeup artists. The trip was to introduce Eye Butter as a natural alternative to eye foundations and creams. Our message then and now was that natural products no longer needed to be a compromise. Our message was and is that Eye Butter, Luminos and Solar Rx actually make people look good on and off camera. Not just for the Red Carpet.
Most of you know that Bob is my business partner and also my husband. Since I was then on crutches and unable to travel, it was hard to send him to be with makeup artists which were mostly beautiful women with “the natural look”. As the story continues, happily, Bob’s connection with these women did not end with the event in Santa Monica. The relationships have strengthened and multiplied to where most of our beauty advisors are makeup artists and actors. And during this journey we have learned so much from them not only about on-camera results with Keys products, in addition many have become such good friends of Keys through our relationships with them. Truly, they have become my friends as well. Many attending a surprise birthday party for Bob at the Reagan Library in Southern California.
Traditionally, products are endorsed by celebrities by being paid to do so. Not only can we not afford to do this form of endorsement, but it is generally against our philosophy. Beauty is a relatively new market sector for us and most of the clear cosmetic product advancements came from our association with some very creative makeup artists.
Yes, it began with the Environmental Media Association and the Environmental Working Group inviting us to show 300 Hollywood makeup artists our Keys Eye Butter in Santa Monica three years ago. Again, the message was, you no longer need to consider natural a compromise!
Our relationships with Hollywood blossomed over the years. We were contacted by the vanities group for the TV show Ghost Whisperers to develop a product that would perform as a foundation that would not require changing makeup from indoor to outdoors scenes. Luminos was born as a direct result of this request. Our formulation uses natural ingredient to create an iridescent illusion or soft-focus effect on the skin. To the camera and the eyes, the skin glows while leaving the rest of what the camera sees in high definition clarity.
As a direct connection with those original Hollywood makeup artists, we befriended Kathleen Beaton. Kathleen has become a dear friend and we consider her part of the Keys family as an advisor and creative genius.
Jill Cady and Jill Crosby brought Keys products onto the set of the TV Show Weeds to use on the actors. Bob and I were invited to meet Mary Louise Parker and spent time with her in the trailer and on the set in Hollywood. Keys was even featured in one of the bathroom scenes last season on episode 10.
Then an interesting series of events culminated with Keys being invited to put Luminos in the speakers gift bag by Maria Shriver for the 2009 California Women’s Conference. 120 celebrities, notables and important speakers received Keys in their bags. Many have become customers, but more important, friends.
This event prompted a new relationship with Maria and her team with Keys proposing the creation of a Clean Green Village at the 2010 California Women’s Conference. Now a joint venture including the Breast Cancer Fund, Safe Cosmetics and Keys, we will have speakers, panels and a large village with Clean Green exhibitors at the October 2010 conference. I am particularly proud of this because it lets us reach more and more women with the story about natural no longer being a compromise.
We are proud of our connection with the Women’s Conference. One interesting connection occured shortly after the conference. Bob received a call on his cell phone while we were visiting Southern California. The caller identified herself as Kerry Malouf. Kerry is a well known makeup artist in the movie industry. Kerry urged us to meet and we did at the Malibu Kitchen for coffee. Kerry told us that she discovered Keys from her friend Stephanie Quayle a singer song writer from Los Angeles that, you guessed it, received Luminos in her speakers bag at the Women’s Conference. Six degrees of separation? Maybe!
Kerry wanted us to provide her with Luminos and Eye Butter for her trip to Europe as the makeup artist for Martin Scorsese and Leo Di Caprio for the press tour for Shutter Island. We did and she headed off for two weeks with them.
Then it was about a week before the Oscar’s that Kerry called back and told Bob that she was going to feature Keys on her TV and print Red Carpet Survival guide. We were excited, but we did not expect that she was going to use our products on stars who would be on the red carpet. So, a few days after the Oscar’s Kerry sent Bob an email and directed him to the site where she featured Keys being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker. We were surprised and pleased by the recognition.
2010 has already brought us more and more connections with the movie and TV industry. Many things that we cannot yet talk about are already in the works. Bob continues to work with Hollywood’s best and is responding to requests for the development of more new products. What is especially nice is our relationship with Kathleen, Ele Keats and Kerry. Because first and foremost, they are our friends.