Belle en Argent is the latest starlet in the theater of indie beauty brands.
Inspired by motion picture sirens and creators, the upscale clean color cosmetics startup is putting lip merchandise in the spotlight for its premiere with the rollout of six glosses, three liners and 15 lipsticks, including five matte and 10 cream options. Next year, Belle en Argent is planning to fuel brand awareness and sales by sending 2 million samples to beauty consumers through subscription service Ipsy beginning in January with its Lip Luire Gloss in the pink-inflected gold shimmer shade Bored Now.
“We feel that our brand is one of the only brands that’s combining glamour, luxury and clean beauty,” says Christina Kelmon, a beauty investor and advisor who founded Belle en Argent with niece and filmmaker Lauren Young. “We wanted to start with lip products because we feel lips are the most stunning statement piece for our woman. Our woman usually uses three core pieces: a lipstick, mascara and a very simple palette.”
Alyson Lord, brand partnerships manager at Ipsy, says, “Our members love the idea of newness in both product and brands. Giving them the ability to be on the front foot of knowing up-and-coming brands so they can continue to be the go-to beauty source for their tribes [and] groups always adds an exciting element. Belle en Argent’s chic, luxe and timeless look and feel will be a beautiful addition to their arsenals.”
“We wanted to start with lip products because we feel lips are the most stunning statement piece for our woman. Our woman usually uses three core pieces: a lipstick, mascara and a very simple palette.”
Belle en Argent collaborated with Drawing From Memory, an agency that’s worked with Lorac, Colourpop and Skin Laundry, on branding, and HCT Group, the design and manufacturing firm that counts Kate Somerville, Nars, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Marc Jacobs, Revlon and Bobbi Brown among its clients, on packaging. Paying homage to the film industry of the 1930s, the encasement of its signature Auteur lipstick harkens back to Art Deco architecture while bringing in modern themes. Plus signs on the weighty lipstick bullet, which is made from the metal zamac and features geometric shapes, signify inclusivity.
Belle en Argent originated from a conversation Young and Kelmon had during Christmas dinner two years ago. They discussed their mutual interests and, in particular, delved into beauty, a passion they share. Not long after, Belle en Argent’s development ensued. The brand combines Kelmon’s penchant for prestige brands with Young’s film background. Kelmon helms Beautely, a San Francisco-based beauty incubator and investment vehicle that’s backed The Laquerbar.
To further its association with creative fields, Belle en Argent has teamed up with the Global Philanthropy Group on the so-called BEAMuse Project providing grants to women writers, photographers, directors, producers and more. The brand also highlights women in the arts on its blog and, in its influencer marketing, is targeting artists. Belle en Argent has partnered with VigLink and Refersion for affiliate programs. The brand’s name translates to beauty in silver in a reference to the silver screen.
“This lip gloss is the perfect gloss for your everyday look. It is a lustrous gloss that delivers a high shine and can either be worn alone or layered with another lip color to give it an extra pop of sheen.”
Belle en Argent’s retail distribution targets are high-end boutiques and department stores. Suiting top-tier distribution positioning, its lip products are priced from $22 to $32. In 2019, the brand’s product repertoire is expected to expand with a palette.
Although Kelmon is well-connected within the investor community – she’s a member of Pipeline Angels, a network of women investors supporting women entrepreneurs – and previously specialized in private placements at investment bank Montgomery & Co. LLC, she doesn’t envision self-funded Belle en Argent taking on outside funding soon. Kelmon says, “For the first year or maybe couple of years, we want to be able to have all control and grow it at a really authentic pace without having to focus too much on revenue.”
Belle en Argent is hitting the market at a moment when lip gloss sales are rising. A report from Omnilytics reveals Fenty Beauty’s lip gloss Gloss Bomb sold out at least eight times in three months and, from Oct. 31 last year to April 30 this year, the lip gloss segment containing 321 stockkeeping units registered a sellout rate of 54.2% at Sephora.
Kaitlin Jones, merchandise specialist at Ipsy, is confident Belle en Argent’s Lip Luire Gloss formula with jojoba oil, castor seed oil and caranauba wax stands out from the glossy crowds. She says, “This lip gloss is the perfect gloss for your everyday look. It is a lustrous gloss that delivers a high shine and can either be worn alone or layered with another lip color to give it an extra pop of sheen.”