Thursday, August 06, 2009

An interview with makeup artist and entrepreneur Ellis Faas - Part 1

Ellis Faas is a makeup artist who has worked with leading photographers and stylists on shows, ad campaigns, and editorial work in magazines. In February 2009, she launched her cosmetics line in Europe with Ellis Lips, liquid lip colors in three different formulas: Creamy Lips, Milky Lips, and Glazed lips.

Ellis Faas - image from

I wanted to interview Faas as I believe that Ellis Faas is on the cusp of something new and different in cosmetics. She bases her line on colors that exist in every human body, a concept that she realized when she did special effects makeup (simulating wounds, bruises, and blood). She's launched her cosmetics line with lip colors that suit all skin tones. Her signature shade is Ellis Red, a true blood-red: after all, we all bleed the same color. The line has distinctive packaging, created in collaboration with industrial designer Arnout Visser.

From concept to finished product: the bullet-shaped pens for Ellis Lips
All images from

1. Your biography states that you wanted to pursue a career as a photographer, but that you were too shy to approach others to model for you. You were your own model. How did you develop the courage to get others to model for you?

Besides myself, I also used friends and family to pose for me more and more, but I have only started working with professional models, since we started our own brand – I shoot all our visuals. I guess that I dare doing that, because over the past years I have been on so many numerous sets of the world’s best photographers. Combined with the knowledge I already had, that has taught me lot. Yet, I still keep things terribly small: just the model, someone to hold the lights, and me for makeup and photography.

2. Which type of makeup do you like doing best? Fantasy, special effects, or “real life”?

My origins are in special effects, so that is still a passion and I also use it a lot in the beauty and fashion shoots I work on. But to be honest, I enjoy doing any kind of makeup if I have fun with the team (especially model and hairstylist) and the story is nice – even if it means just making a gorgeously beautiful model even more beautiful.

3. Of all the items in your online portfolio, the one that most readers will recognize is the ad campaign for Lancôme’s Trésor. This is one of the most approachable (that is, real life) looks in your portfolio. How did you create this look?

Well, if your canvas is the face of someone like in this case Kate Winslet, it is primarily a matter of choosing the tones of foundation and the colours that suit the face and theme of the concept. This ad was supposed to be quite dreamy, so I kept it all rather subdued.

Kate Winslet for Lancôme’s Trésor. Photography: Peter Lindberg. Makeup: Ellis Faas
4. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started your cosmetics line? Other entrepreneurs have told me that their biggest challenges were financing and finding suppliers.

Finding suppliers was not so difficult because over the years I have met quite a few helpful people. Financing was difficult indeed, but since we started to do everything with a team of just three (now four), the amount we needed was still small enough to get a wonderful, private investor on board. But the biggest challenge by far is the production process and what happens to deadlines if only one of the productional steps has a delay. Phew!

Continued in Part 2.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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