Focus on Eye Pencils: Q&A with Linda Eisner

Linda Eisner, founder of pencil me in cosmetics, spoke with GCI magazine about environmentally-safe products and her company.

GCI: What was the process involved in formulating the pencil me in product line, from concept to the shelf?

Linda Eisner: While working in the private label cosmetics arena for over 20 years, designing successful brands for other companies, I fantasized about having my own line. With the tremendous support of my husband, Michael Eisner, I created pencil me in cosmetics. He is the “M.E.” in pencil me in. I wanted to create a healthy pencil for the eye area, since nutrients can be absorbed into the body through the delicate eye tissue. I was already representing a fabulous pencil manufacturing facility and knew there was a need for a natural healthy cosmetic pencil, so I asked this factory to create a formula that would meet my specifications and requirements. I asked them to modify our then-current luxurious formula and add vitamins and antioxidants to it. Once the formula was perfected, it took months to create the right shades. All the colors were tweaked to be different—not the ordinary eyeliner shades currently in the marketplace.

Thirty shades to appeal to everyone. Slight amounts of glitter were added to six shades for a subtle but sophisticated sparkle. Another seven shades are very pastel, white, silver or gold in color. I love this look and wanted to share it with the world. Try applying one of these shades in a thin creamy line to your upper eyelid very close to your lash line. (Perhaps the sky blue or buff beige eyeliner). The pencils are highly concentrated with pigment color. It won’t seem like you are applying enough color at first until mascara is applied. But then you will be amazed at how the soft colors pop and show the beauty of your eyes. Use the deeper, more seductive shades under the eyes like Boysenberry and Greystone. For convenience, the cap of the pencil is a pencil sharpener—no need to hunt for pencil sharpeners anymore; it comes attached to the pencil! After product formula, colors and pencil design, the next step was designing the perfect cosmetic pencil display. This display needed to take up a small amount of counter space, have easy self-service access, be easily cleaned and have tester availability for all colors. The pencil me in display meets all of the requirements. The pre-pack contains 12 of each color and 30 eyeliner pencil testers. Each pencil is individually shrink-wrapped with the UPC label underneath the clear plastic sleeve. The sides of the cosmetic pencil display are easily removable for cleaning. Now pencil me in cosmetics is looking for upscale salons, spas and boutiques to retail the pencil me in eye accent pencil line.

GCI: What cosmetic/personal care product can’t you live without?

Linda Eisner: Daily moisturizer. Everyone looks better when the skin is hydrated and glowing.

GCI: How do you believe the beauty industry is changing or has changed, and what news or trends do you think will be important for professionals to pay attention to this year?

Linda Eisner: Environmentally-friendly products. Consumers are looking to make changes that are healthier for their families and, ultimately, for our planet. We are looking for healthier crops, soil and animal life where the former has been sacrificed in the name of productivity and convenience. I have been focusing on food, water, personal care products and household cleaners. Consumers are becoming more educated about cancer-causing ingredients and toxic chemicals. I believe we will be looking for simplified products—going back to the basics [with organically-grown products, not genetically engineered or synthetic. For example, in the cosmetics world, instead of slathering thick pore-clogging foundation onto one’s face, the new trend is to brush on mineral powders, which gently prime the skin, cover imperfections and even out skin tone naturally. Brushes by Karen private labels a fabulous line of mineral makeup. For myself, my cosmetic application is completed in five simple steps. I shape my eyebrows, brush on my mineral make-up, apply my eyeliner, mascara and lipstick, and I’m out the door. Natural looking and simple. I too am trying to leave a softer footprint on the earth.

GCI: What have been the milestones thus far in your career?

Linda Eisner: For years, I had been creating under the specifications of one person or company, and now I get to use the opinions and tastes of different genres of people. I feel like I am evolving, going from private labeler to manufacturer/wholesaler/retailer.

GCI: Who is your business role model?

Linda Eisner: Essie Weingarten of Essie Cosmetics. I'd love to become the Essie of cosmetic pencils.

GCI: You can ask your role model one question. What is it?

Linda Eisner: In the beginning, when your brand was unknown, what was your marketing philosophy, and can you give me the name of a good investor?

GCI: What is key to balancing your business and personal lives?

Linda Eisner: There never is a true balance. There are ups and downs in relationships and also in business. The strategy is to make the most of your ups and try not to worry so much about the downs. My husband and I believe in staying involved in each other’s businesses, bouncing ideas off of each other and asking for opinions. My husband and his two wonderful children, Stephanie (age 25) and Gabriel (age 23) help share in the creativity of the new company [through] press releases, choosing colors and shade names, working exhibitions, creating the display and Web site, etc. How do you relieve stress? Eisner: I talk about what I believe is causing me stress. I try to identify it. I may not initially be able to solve the situations, but I find that once I get it out, my stress levels are greatly reduced. Simple pleasures relieve a lot of my stress. I take a break and walk away from my office. I exercise and occasionally go out to lunch with friends or for a boat ride with my husband.

GCI: What is your favorite destination?

Linda Eisner: My husband and I love to spend time on the water. We spend as much time as possible during the summer on our boat and relaxing at our favorite marina in Fire Island, N.Y.

GCI: Would you prefer a trip to the spa or an outdoor adventure?

Linda Eisner: I am not a high-maintenance woman. On a beautiful day, I choose to be fishing on the ocean. However, every other week, religiously, I can be found with my friends at nail night for manicures, pedicures and dinner.

GCI: Do you choose a good book, a great movie or 150 channels of television?

Linda Eisner: Mostly in the winter months, I find myself seeking out or asking around for movie recommendations. When the weather is good, my husband and I spend our down time on evening cruises, getting ready for the next boating trip.

GCI: It’s mandatory karaoke night, what are you singing?

Linda Eisner: We are semi-regulars at karaoke night, because my step-daughter, Stephanie, has an amazing voice and can really belt out a tune, so we go to relax and hear her sing. If I had to choose a song, I would grab my husband and we would duet to The Turtles’ “Happy Together.” Mike and I are married only two years. We met via computer dating in 2003.

GCI: What are projects on your roster now, and what are your future professional goals?

Linda Eisner: To establish the brand name, to water it and make it grow green [and] to make pencil me in cosmetics a household name like Essie Nail Polish is.

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