Three women of varied ages and ethnic backgrounds are raising the bar in the beauty industry with a refreshing take on the needs of the makeup market. SPKTRM Beauty is an up-and-coming brand devoted to reshaping the industry to make it more inclusive and transparent. As the world’s first beauty brand to entirely ban skin retouching, it’s safe to say that founders Jasmine Glass, AnnaLiisa Benston and Ehlie Luna are ready to disrupt–– and to liberate.
Beyond their mission to shatter unrealistic ideals in beauty marketing, SPKTRM has created a line of paraben-free, cruelty-free, PETA certified products that are available in a true spectrum of shades. Additionally, a portion of all profits will go to organizations that assist disadvantaged women and the LGBTQ community. “Through celebrating the genuine beauty of more diverse and relatable individuals in our imagery, we aim to dismantle unrealistic ideals and empower our supporters. By providing an ethically marketed product, our customers can feel good about purchasing SPKTRM Beauty.” Their foundation is inclusivity regardless of race, age, and gender.
The founders come from three different backgrounds: Jasmine is a magazine editor, Ehlie is a makeup artist and singer/songwriter, and AnnaLiisa is an artist and designer. What started as an idea over mocktails quickly became a passionate project. Ehlie recalls, “I couldn’t think of a single reason not to dive in. It made so much sense and is so aligned with my beliefs.”
While retouching is often the center of controversy in both fashion and beauty (you know, when it gets noticed), SPKTRM has chosen to forgo this common practice altogether. “It's something we had seen slowly pop up in the mainstream market… it felt like such a natural step in the evolution of marketing materials pertaining to beauty.” This concept was an important factor in moving forward with the brand’s development.
Why is banning skin retouching important to you?
Ehlie: As a woman, I’ve definitely felt the pressure retouched images encourage. It was frustrating at times–– that feeling that I just had to play ball. As a makeup artist it’s important to me because I see how this kind of distortion makes it impossible to for people to know what their eyes are actually looking at. It’s this unreasonable standard and I see people holding themselves to it. I’m constantly trying to remind them, those images are mostly a fabrication.
AnnaLiisa: No retouching is a direct reaction to the over saturation felt in social media and online. So much of my identity is wrapped up in visual language. As an artist I see SPKTRM as an opportunity to put more positivity in the world. A celebration of honest visual representation and thus the chance to help people see themselves in the beauty industry: scars, freckles, blemishes, and all.
Beyond inclusivity, representation and ethical responsibility, the brand doesn’t want to stop there. “We intend to move into biodegradable packaging and are interested in less waste overall. We’re also looking at going the reusable as much as possible.” They also plan to continue welcoming more diverse selections of campaign models.
As for any disruptive business, it does not come without hurdles. “We are learning a lot from our initial outreach. Some of our first moves didn't pan out the way we expected, but we're staying flexible and focused.” SPKTRM will be launching its e-commerce platform soon after listening to feedback from supporters. The challenges they face, however, are no match for the reward. (Cont'd.)
What is the most rewarding part of creating this brand?
Ehlie: The most rewarding part so far is the partnership between Jasmine, AnnaLiisa and I. We each bring different perspectives and it’s something I think we all value.
AnnaLiisa: Hear hear! I couldn't agree more. I'd also add that it's such a honor to start a brand with two like-minded people who truly want to add some positivity to the beauty industry. It feels like a dream.
If you’re looking to start a business, the founders of SPKTRM hold sage advice on making it work. “Use what you know and learn what you don’t. Start now.” They also encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, adding “Work with people who aren't like you. You need people with different skill sets, but similar passions and goals.” Finally, they advise not to shy away from tough advice and prepare for a lot of hard work–– something we’re certain these women are familiar with.