Indie Beauty Profile
Gretchen Chevalier, ittsē
Custom and personalized beauty products are in high demand these days, as consumers expect individualized solutions and unique experiences from makeup brands big and small. The ittsē solution is a simple yet sophisticated format that lets each consumer build a custom color palette for every look.
Here, the beauty entrepreneur behind the brand shares a profile of herself and of ittsē.
Name: Gretchen Chevalier, Founder and CEO
Indie Beauty Company: ittsē
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Cash flow: While the company is not publically sharing sales figures, Chevalier says that, Anytime a product sells out and strong consumer demand remains, I get a thrill.
Team work: 12 employees
Distribution: In the US and Canada, ittsē retails on our own ecomm site, ittse.com, and in Belk Departments stores. We are launching internationally in 2018 in the Middle East, Singapore, and Europe.
Years in beauty: 20
Years at ittsē: 3
Entrepreneurial experience: I’d been behind-the-scenes in the beauty world for more than 15 years, running a color mfg facility. I witnessed the growing trend of pre-fab make-up palettes, and understood that consumers are purchasing these collections only to use 2-3 of the colors / products. In creating a new beauty business, it was my mission to respond to the specific consumer demand that I’d seen go unanswered for years, an extensive line of high-quality yet affordable color cosmetics that are completely customizable.
The business: The brand's concept is to engage women in more actively creating their beauty experience. We had to have chic and elegant packaging that was also completely customizable. We want to offer women the option to select cosmetic packaging as an accessory to their looks as if they were selecting a handbag for their outfit. This is why the packaging comes in a variety of colors, so women can infuse their own personal style into their make-up routine. It was then also necessary to develop an extensive high-quality color line, spanning the finishes from high-sparkle to sophisticated matte. And with over 150 shades / products to choose from at affordable prices the possibilities are nearly endless and can please all tastes.
The wow-factor: ittsē infuses individual style and personalization starting at the packaging level. We are innovative in allowing women to exercise their personal taste by choosing the palette color of their preference. We then make the process of building their own custom cosmetic kit extraordinarily fun. The website is lively, entertaining and informative and facilitates a truly enjoyable shopping experience. The best part, we manufacture only department store quality products and offer them at a very affordable price point.
The customer: ittsē is for the make-up wearer who doesn’t have the time or interest to engage the traditional cosmetic shopping experience. She understands that her outward appearance doesn’t define her, but she doesn’t trivialize the importance of paying attention to herself and how she presents herself to the world. She relishes that confident feeling she has when she knows she looks her best and most beautiful. ittsē the brand strives to have women feel that empowerment every day. How would that change your life…to capture that feeling of exuding self-assurance not just on the occasional basis, but every day?
Milestone moment: Initially, I’d planned for ittsē to remain online only. Organic interest from brick and mortar retailers caused a shift in that trajectory, and I am proud to have that validation of our innovative concept.
Advice for fellow indie beauty entrepreneurs: Get your sleep now.
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Chevalier says it is ittsē’s soon-to-be-launched Ready Rouge, a plush crème cheek color that gives a perfect natural flush.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.