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A Feminine Touch: Q&A with Sue Devitt

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: November 3, 2008, from the November 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Sue Devitt, Founder of Sue Devitt Beauty

Sue Devitt, Founder of Sue Devitt Beauty

You may have seen her makeup artistry on runway models representing Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. Her work on celebrities has been noted on red carpets events such as the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Cannes Film Festival. She even co-launched Nars Cosmetics with Francois Nars, and she introduced Awake cosmetics by Japan’s Kosé Corporation to the U.S. However, Sue Devitt’s first love, among her many lifetime accomplishments, has been spearheading the creative direction of her own antiaging skin care and cosmetics brand, Sue Devitt Beauty. Devitt spoke with GCI magazine recently about skin care ingredients, business and travel.

GCI: How have you been able to work hands-on throughout product development sessions with your private group of chemists, and how does this give you leverage over competitors?

Sue Devitt: I have brought together some of the best minds in the business through my product development experience in Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S. We are a passionate and highly creative group, and we all inspire each other, coming together with different areas of expertise and various perspectives. Our standards are high, and it becomes almost a sport between us to exceed expectation and deliver exquisite results—driven formulations, colors and concepts. Our customers know they can rely on this for us, and they love it. We are still a small brand and are constantly on the lookout for the most performance-driven innovations, which allow us the ability to quickly react to fast-breaking developments.

GCI: What gave you the inspiration to enrich your color cosmetic products with seaweed and “microquatic” hydrating minerals?

Sue Devitt: When I introduced the “Sue Devitt Healthy Beauty” concept to the market in 2000, it was clear to me by the extraordinary reaction it received that women were beginning to understand the need for beauty to be more than skin deep…. At the time, no one was calling out ingredient or technology benefits within their products, because frankly, there weren’t any. I saw that as a major opportunity…. The “microquatic” name is derived from a combination of micro-emulsion technology and water. As seaweed lives within water, it made perfect sense to continue to fold in the nurturing effects of active marine properties, deeply enriching hydrating qualities and flower derivatives from nature. I wanted to round out an interesting blend of ingredients, while taking a soothing and natural approach to powerful antiaging ingredients by tapping into ceramides II, matrixyl, hysperidan methol chalcone and mdi complex. I thought the derm brands were doing a great job forging new ground, but I found a lack of sensitivity within the formulations. A feminine, nurturing and soothing experience was yet to be delivered to the consumer who appreciates luxury and effective functionality.

GCI: You recently hired Eric Horowitz, former president of Clarins, as the CEO of Sue Devitt Beauty. Why did you make this decision, and how will Horowitz help grow the company in new directions?

Sue Devitt: As a highly regarded businessman in the beauty industry, I was so excited to be able to tap into Eric’s reputation and depth of experience as the former U.S. president of a well-known, globally distributed business. As you can see, I am passionate about all that I do, and it was important for me to find someone who brings a high level of brand- building knowledge and a real passion for the business. In Eric, I’ve found a strong leader, which is what my organization really needed. I am looking forward to our collective development of the brand and having a lot of fun doing it.

GCI: How do your products fill a need in the beauty industry?