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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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tarte’s main focus is making sure that its products are really demonstrative of what it calls health couture, a trademarked term defined as “fantastic product with great skin-caring ingredients in chic, fashion-inspired packaging.” DiResta and Kelly are adamant that what consumers put on their skin must enhance their natural beauty and actually deliver ingredients that work.

Naturals topped DiResta’s trend list, too, but she rounded hers out with education and finding inspiration in the past. Customers want to know more about the products they buy and she credits that need to know with the success of distribution channels such as QVC. Customers now learn about brands straight from the creators. “I think we’ll just be seeing a huge proliferation of information in the coming years—more detailed Web sites, online videos, more ‘magalog’ type catalogs,” she said. She believes customers will continue to align their personal philosophies with those of a brand.

For DiResta, finding inspiration in the past translates into digging into the beauty archives. Companies with rich, long brand histories, she says, are looking to the past for inspiration to further build up their brands. Newer companies are giving a nod to the past by reinventing classic products, best seen in what she calls the re-emergence of lipstick: better formulas, better packaging, but still the ultimate iconic beauty product.

Multichannel distribution rounds out Kelly’s top trends. Traditional department stores are losing some of their luster, and with mass-market beauty companies putting out more innovative products, CVS and other pharmacies will grow in appeal. Home shopping channels, infomercials and the Internet have also grown in importance.

A focus on ingredients in general and actives in particular also made the list of powerful trends, and Kelly isn’t just giving lip service to ingredients. She recently partnered up with pal Scott Vincent Borba, creator of the eponymous line of drinkable skin care, to send a message to her customers that she is serious about beauty from the inside out, and tarte has capitalized on Borba’s investment in research and testing of nutraceuticals. tarte’s latest lip gloss offering, Inside Out, includes natural ingredients from BORBA’s Age Defying, Replenishing and Clarifying lines, aimed at diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while helping to protect against environmental attack. When Kelly says “your makeup should be working for you,” she means it. DiResta believes the association works because both BORBA and tarte are crossover lines that “manage to capitalize on aspects of the zeitgeist while still remaining current by virtue of their high-quality products.”