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Sweet Tarte: Taking Inside-Out Beauty to Heart

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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For her part, Kelly has learned that business owners are only as good as the people they bring on board. “It’s so important to hire people that complement your weaknesses,” she says, “and believe me I have many!” Believe what you will about that, but also consider that she has also learned a thing or two about the power of giving back. “We’ve upped the ante every year since we launched, and I’m so proud of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity over the past few years,” says Kelly. “Last year we donated our holiday budget to help finance a new home for an underprivileged single mother, and my team all participated in the actual build.”

Whether pounding nails for Habitat for Humanity or hammering out the next year’s business plan, building is something Kelly and DiResta seem to be pretty good at. The occasional figurative crooked tile or paint drip can be chalked up to learning and preparation for the next challenge. Neither one spends time on regrets, nor are they looking for any “do overs.” DiResta says when you have no choice but to figure something out on your own, you do it—and that can be empowering. Kelly has learned from her mistakes and believes they make her a more effective manager. But judging from all the media attention the young company has been getting, successes have outweighed mistakes by a wide margin.

Rewarding Experience

Recognition comes in many forms, and over the years, tarte has tallied up an impressive array of awards. The cheek stains and tinted moisturizers have garnered their share of praise, including “cutest packaging” from Shape magazine, and earlier this year, a new lip product, fRXtion, took home a Cosmetic Innovators of the Year (CITY) Award for Color Cosmetics Package Design from ICMAD.

There’s been no shortage of kudos for the products themselves, and now they are getting recognition of another kind. As this issue of GCI magazine was wrapping up, word came of the kind of notice that speaks to business growth and dynamism. When Inc. magazine published its Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, tarte was listed as number 994. According to the report, tarte has enjoyed 354.3% growth and posted 2006 revenues of $5.7 million. The whole beauty inside and out notion figured into this recognition. In citing what they found noteworthy about tarte, the list makers said, “A trainer comes in twice a week to help employees stay healthy and keep fit. Inc.’s findings suggest that the company is growing because trendy packaging and lots of all natural ingredients win customers.” It just so happens that the importance of natural ingredients is on Kelly’s short list of key trends.

“Naturals and the whole green movement is a huge trend, and one I believe is here to stay,” she says. “Fortunately for us, we’ve been focusing on natural ingredients from the start.” DiResta says they are ahead of the curve on this one, and are “keeping pace” with their original plan. Sephora was amazed by their ingredient story, and encouraged them to share that information with its customers. “Now, we’re shouting it from the rooftops—or at least from our unit cartons, Web site and gondolas,” says Kelly. “Every one of our products has [our trademarked] skinvigorating key on the back detailing all of the healthy benefits such as minerals, all natural SPF, vitamins, whether it’s dermatologist-tested, etc. That way [the consumer] can make an informed decision about what she’s putting on her skin.”

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