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The Perfect Marriage

For Tarte’s 10-year anniversary in 2010, CEO Maureen Kelly turned to celebrity and runway makeup artist Tina Turnbow, left, for her fashion expertise before launching the Flower Child Limited Edition Collection.

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: August 31, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

In the world of beauty brands, Tarte Cosmetics has become known for its successful business collaborations. Bringing in outside experts to merge product ideas, such as on the vitamin-infused Tarte/Borba Inside Out Lipstick and Lip Gloss lines and the Enbrightenmint pen, a dual-sided gel and vitamin-infused lip gloss (the brainchild of Tarte’s CEO Maureen Kelly and teeth-whitening giant BriteSmile), have become a staple of the brand’s innovations and growth. When it came to teaming up with Scott-Vincent Borba, a cold call from the founder and CEO of Borba encouraged the partnership. For Enbrightenmint, Kelly’s idea for a blue-toned lip gloss that would make teeth appear whiter spurred a conversation with Denise Parpard Harrison, vice president of marketing, and other executives from BriteSmile, which had already introduced a popular teeth-whitening gel to the market. But for Tarte’s 10-year anniversary in 2010, Kelly turned to celebrity and runway makeup artist Tina Turnbow for her fashion expertise before launching the Flower Child Limited Edition Collection in January to Sephora, Henri Bendel, QVC and online boutiques across the U.S. “The collaboration began with us supporting Tina at award shows, movie premiers and other celebrity-driven events,” Kelly says. “During the past two years, our partnership evolved, as she was the lead artist at some of our Beauty.com-sponsored fashion shows, including one for [English fashion designer] Charlotte Ronson.”

In 2008, Tarte revamped its image to feature what it called “health couture” beauty —where healthy ingredients meet fashion-forward packaging. To help eliminate environmental waste, Tarte made its cheek stain components recyclable, and the eye shadow palette has a magnetic base, which allows the consumer to refill shadows and reuse the packaging. The brand had also taken its high-performance ingredients to the next level by ensuring what Kelly says are “clinically proven” results.

“To us, that means using groundbreaking eco-technologies that deliver unique and proprietary blends of 100% natural ingredients,” Kelly says. “For example, we want foundation to do more than just cover minor imperfections. We want it to tighten and firm skin.”

For the Flower Child Collection, Kelly was already planning ways to incorporate the world of eco-beauty and fashion into her cosmetics when she realized how big of an asset Turnbow could be to the new product line.