Meet the Founders of Eddie Funkhouser Cosmetics
Get to know the founders Eddie & Kai of Eddie Funkhouser Cosmetics as they share their experience and insight about breaking into the cosmetics business. Their background and skillset as product developer, beauty spokesman and brand & market designer has helped them immensely. Everyone can use Eddie’s most essential makeup tip. If you already have it, Bravo! If not, it’s time to catch on. Read interview below to find out what it is.
Company: EDDIE FUNKHOUSER®
Location: New York & Los Angeles Offices
Founder: Eddie Funkhouser, Cofounder & Executive Creative Director
Education: Expert cosmetic product developer, beauty brand spokesperson for 15 years
Founder: Kai Kaden, Cofounder, Creative Director
Education: Brand designer, market developer and producer for emerging and legacy brands for 15 years
Favorite Quote: “No risk, no reward.” (Eddie) — “Where the mind goes, the energy flows.” (Kai)
Social media handles:
Can you give a brief introduction about your company? What were you doing before you launched your company? What prompted you to take the leap and start your own business?
EDDIE FUNKHOUSER® is a game-changing cosmetics brand created by veteran makeup artist, spokesperson and expert product developer, Eddie Funkhouser. With its refined, minimalist packaging and world-class, studio-grade formulas (created predominantly in Italy), the EDDIE FUNKHOUSER range has the look and performance of prestige cosmetics delivered to customers everywhere at an unprecedented value.
Before the launch of EDDIE FUNKHOUSER, Eddie and I had finished producing two other beauty brands together. Eddie had signed a short contract to represent a seasonal color collection for a legacy beauty brand.
Together, we consulted with a few retailers on building their beauty brand portfolios and strategic marketing programs – and helped two different emerging brands find new retail platforms and revenue channels.
We started EDDIE FUNKHOUSER because, after considerable planning, determined that it not only filled an important need in the marketplace but because Eddie was such an authentic and accessible spokesperson and product developer. No other makeup artist brand offers the kind of immediate accessibility that we do. Of course starting small is an advantage in this way, but we have built this into our company’s long term vision so that it is scalable and always part of the brand’s DNA. It’s this Eddie advantage, combined with our incredible price point that not only creates clear differentiation in a crowded marketplace – but becomes truly disruptive.
Would you be willing to share how you started your company (ie, funding, investor, branding)? What surprised you about the process? Was there anything that was more difficult or easy than you expected?
EDDIE FUNKHOUSER was founded by myself and Eddie Funkhouser and was started to bring this exciting new brand to the beauty market place. EDDIE FUNKHOUSER really reflects countless hours developing and testing makeup on photo shoots – the ultimate testing grounds for cosmetics. Our branding process is intentionally rigorous and protracted. We’re a bit compulsive in this way but it’s a necessary evil. If you are not clear on your brand positioning right out of the gate, things will spiral out of control very quickly. Most brands fail early on because they don’t know who they are – or they’re afraid to embrace their brand’s vision.
When we are developing a new brand, I believe in locking the whole team in a room and making them get to the core of all of the typical branding components: brand vision, brand promise, brand persona, target customer, brand print. Lots of notes…and then weeks of editing. As a general rule, we continue to edit any copy we are creating until it is crystal clear. It’s exhaustive, but clear messaging is an imperative with us.
When developing EDDIE FUNKHOUSER one of the things that we found most challenging was (and still is) getting retailers to think outside of the typical mass and prestige compartmentalization that has happened. The cosmetics floor can be a really dull experience for women. We are hoping to bring the element of surprise and newness to any retail environment that is willing to try new things.
Self doubt often times stops people from trying new ventures. Did you have any doubts along the way? If so, how did you overcome them?
Self doubt, self worth and fear…these are the big challenges we all have to deal with on some level every day, myself included. Self doubt is heartbreaking to me because it is a learned behavior. Our nature is to be bold and adventurous – to take risks. Even the most timid or withdrawn of us yearns for the sense of excitement and freedom associated with taking risks and exploring the new. Many have said it before, but great love and great accomplishments involve taking great risk. Deepak Chopra once told a friend of mine who was asking him how he deals with self doubt. And Deepak’s answer was to ‘doubt the doubt’. He believed that self doubt had no basis in reality and therefore, you can be assured that it is never correct, so why not just “doubt the doubt”.
You must be very clear about your vision and work to refine and clarify it constantly. When you are able to deal with doubt in a less serious way, you instantly open up all kinds of new possibilities. I’m always amazed that whenever I drop resistance to something, how quickly the answer or solution comes. So find ways to disrupt the negative, obsessive or self-defeating thoughts that will always arise out of fear. Meditation, yoga, working out, going for a clear-headed walk are all great ways to mitigate self doubt, fear and anxiety. If you can dream it, you can be it. So don’t stress!
What advice can you offer someone just starting out? What three ingredients would you say are the main factors to a successful business?
For someone just starting a new endeavour, I think the best advice I can give is to be patient, and gentle with yourself – but to also be diligent and do the deep practice that is necessary for the cultivation of any meaningful work.
3 Ingredients for Successful Business:
1. Do the math. “Due” the diligence. Make spreadsheets your friend and understand simple formulas. You don’t need to know advanced math. You have to get your head around your business and the market space you are trying to make a dent in. It’s your obligation to always be studying it. It’s critical to have a dream and a vision, but you have to know the hard numbers. When will the company be profitable and what will it take to get there? You have to know the answer to these questions on any given day, at any given moment. Detail every potential expense, no matter how seemingly minute or grandiose. Understand how you arrived at your costing, to the penny. Create marketing and sales budgets even if you do not yet have your seed money. Work as though the funding of your venture is imminent. These will all be important and necessary exercises for you and will help you to start drawing associations between the different parts of the plan. Create clear operational and sales goals. You must know if you are ‘on’ or ‘off’ plan on any given day so that you can adjust your approach, if necessary. Having a plan also allows you to be vigilant about the performance of your company without being a control freak. When you know where you stand with the numbers, it makes a lot of other decisions much easier, and usually less fearful.
2. Embrace a leadership role in everything you do. Thoughtful, servant-style leadership is something you should always be working towards, in every aspect of your business. Get in the habit of treating everyone like your customer, even your employees. Become a master at listening. If people see that you are genuinely interested in making their life easier, while still respecting them on the most human of terms, they are much more likely to work with you on anything – and be understanding when there are difficult choices to make.
3. Take it from Yoda: Being Thoughtful and Staying Present. Probably the single biggest advantage you can have over a competitor, is your ability to be present and non-judgemental in all aspects of your business. Being present means using your senses to truly pay attention to what is going on, without latching onto any one thing or without reacting, usually emotionally. Staying non-judgemental is an artform. In this clear minded space, you can again see relationships, associations and new business opportunities. Being present also allows you to work through interpersonal issues in a much more effective way.
Though not a guideline, it’s important to mention that appearances really are everything in today’s business world. Design (especially industrial design) is the new high art and it is everywhere. Your business must incorporate great design and great imagery throughout to be taken seriously. You don’t need to be a genius to create great design either. There are many freelance designers available and countless, great looking templates online for everything from package labels, stationery to t-shirts and hats.
In creating Eddie Funkhouser Chromographic Lip Color where does your color inspiration come from? Did trends play a part or do you try to separate yourself from trends?
Though not a central focus for us, we do study trend reports and forecasts – and usually create our own version of what’s hot. It’s fun to participate in trend and see how each designer spins it – but it’s important to have your own voice too. For the most part, we are inspired by our own experience, travelling, art, music, pop culture, fashion. This is where we get our real inspiration. A color story, for example, can arise out of a trip or a fascinating book read or a chance encounter. In the end, this approach helps us create more authentic and unique products and choices for customers.
What are you most excited about with this collection? Can you describe your “it moment” when you knew you accomplished the goal you set for your brand?
Our Luxlight Series. It is an amazing group of products for face and body that help produce a beautiful radiant, youthful, soft-focus effect. The Luxlight Hydrating Primer is amazing and can be worn alone or under foundation. The Luxlight Illuminator is also incredible and adds a touch of light to the corners of the eyes or to cheek bones. When you take your selfie, you’ll see how diffused and beautiful the light is on your face with our Luxlight products.
Over the years, we have received countless notes from friends and customers with amazing and inspiring stories. Many of the notes are thank yous to Eddie for taking a moment to share makeup tips and techniques with them. Almost always, when he is working with customers, he ends up talking about self-empowerment with them and encourages them to follow their own dreams. Reading those letters are our “it moments”. Those moments outweigh any other successes for us.
Can you share an essential makeup tip and what products from your line should every girl have in her makeup arsenal?
The most essential makeup tip is self confidence.
From a product standpoint it would have to be to moisturize before applying your makeup. You’ll notice a huge difference. Skin will remain supple and radiant throughout the day.
Eddie’s absolute essentials are: Luxlight Hydrating Primer, Quattro Variable Lash Mascara, Hyperreal Hydrating Lip Gloss and Ultimate Smoky Eye Palette (with this palette you can do up both eyes and brows).
How do you want people to feel when they wear your cosmetics?
We want our customers to have a genuine reaction to our products based on the value we have built into every product. If their reaction is ho-hum, then we’ve missed the mark. If we have done our work, our customers should feel: inspired, that they are getting their money’s worth, that the pigment and colors are true and vibrant and blendable and feel amazing, that products work as promised and are supported after the sale.
Random fun fact about Eddie Funkhouser?
Eddie Funkhouser is related by DNA to classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
In the coming years what can we look forward to from the Eddie Funkhouser brand?
Our long term plans include the introduction of a signature fragrance, specialized skin treatments and select fashion accessories.
Be sure to check out their website and follow Eddie Funkhouser on their social channels.