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A moment with Rose-Marie Swift

Katja Kokko | 7.9.2015

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New Yorkista kotoisin oleva RMS Beauty rantautui meille Suomeen hieman reilu vuosi sitten ja on kovaa vauhtia vakiinnuttanut paikkansa yhtenä markkinoiden parhaista meikkibrändeistä – myös synteettistä kosmetiikkaa suosivien ammattilaisten keskuudessa.

RMS Beauty pitää kiistatta sijaa maailman parhaiden luonnonkosmetiikkameikkisarjojen TOP 3:ssa ja nuo valkoiset napit ovat vallanneet myös oman meikkipussini.

Mutta kuinka moni teistä tuntee tarinan tuon kulttimeikkisarjan takaa puhumattakaan sarjasta luojasta Rose-Marie Swiftistä, jonka nimikirjaimista sarja saa myös nimensä?

Sain kunnian haastatella Rose-Marieta ja täytyy sanoa, että naisessa on rajoja rikkovaa asennetta.

Jaan erityisesti Rose-Marien ajatukset aidosti laadukkaasta luonnonkosmetiikasta: tänä päivänä tarjonta on valtava ja kasvaa koko ajan. Joukkoon mahtuu aidosti laadukasta, tehokasta ja luonnollista kosmetiikkaa, mutta myös prosessoidumpaa ja heikkolaatuista. Luonnollisuuden määritelmä on myös hieman häilyvä – muun muassa tästä aiheesta olen kirjoittanut myöhemmin syksyllä ilmestyvään kirjaani.

Kuluttaja saa siis tehdä melkoista taustatutkimusta myös luonnonkosmetiikkabrändien kohdalla, mikäli haluaa varmistua laatuseikoista aidosti. RMS Beauty lukeutuu niiden sarjojen joukkoon, joita itse pidän luotettavana ja tuotteiden raaka-aineluettelo kertoo myös niiden aidosta luonnollisuudesta.

Mutta päästetäänpä tämä temperamenttinen nainen nyt ääneen.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from and what did you do before creating your own makeup brand? How did you start doing makeup?

I was born in the ’50s in West Vancouver, Canada, the eldest of three girls, into a very green environment close to mountains, forests and fresh, clean air.

My first obsession with beauty was my mother’s red lipstick tube and her powder with white Marabou feathers ‎overflowing from the jar always sitting on her vanity. She was a fashion designer by trade so I was also exposed to fashion and beauty at a very young age.

When I was in my late teens, my sister decided to become an esthetician and she decided I should become a makeup artist. Sure, why not? I loved fashion and beauty. I had an eye, I could fake it—and I did. I never went to makeup school, and to this day I still don’t recommend it to anyone. In my experience, makeup schools tend to have teachers that aren’t familiar with editorial makeup and teach a very dated approach to application. You tend to lose your creativity and your natural eye.

Making young, gorgeous models even more beautiful took me from Vancouver to Toronto in my twenties where I did all that I could do career-wise in Canada. From there I went to Europe and lived in Hamburg, Paris, Berlin and London. I am very fortunate to have worked with some of the biggest names in the beauty and fashion industry and have traveled all over the world, but somehow I never really took makeup artistry seriously. It was fun to be creative and it paid nicely, but didn’t seem to quite satisfy some mysterious inner discontent.

Then, in my late thirties, I landed in NYC and got very sick. I suffered from a multitude of things that were mysterious in many ways and of course, the traditionally educated doctor didn’t know what was happening with me, and so I took it into my own hands and did some major advanced blood, urine and hair analyses. My true wakeup call was when the lab handed me back my results and the technician said, ”Do you work in the cosmetic industry?”. I started putting two and two together and found that many of these chemicals were also in the beauty industry.

In 2004, I created a website called Beauty Truth that exposed some of the myths and ingredients in cosmetics. (Please note: I am not blaming, nor have I ever, my health issues on the cosmetic industry; however, today’s chemical laden beauty industry is definitely a contributor). I continued to educate myself on this issue and I began researching how to develop cleaner cosmetics for the models I worked with.

What evolved out of all of this is RMS Beauty, the real passion that filled my mysterious inner need.

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What is the philosophy behind RMS Beauty?

After many years in the fashion and make-up industry, I’ve learned a lot about the impact of daily exposure to chemicals in beauty care products. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t live up to its promises. I see the results of taking a quick-fix approach to looking good. I know first-hand the price our health can pay in the pursuit of beauty. I realized that what women need are skin care, color cosmetics, toiletries that are as pure as possible, lines that create a solid foundation for anti-aging and long-term beauty.

Skin is a living organism. It breathes, interacts, and absorbs information from everything it encounters. Our bodies and skin are living organisms that naturally require the infusion of life forces to maintain their intrinsic integrity and that is what RMS Beauty is all about. Be beautiful and be healthy. What better way to have it relevant by also adding the element of modern fashion by formulating not just healthy products but also products with a modern range of colors that work, wearable and user-friendly.

My flair of the rebellious, my personal touch, my integrity and my educational aspect of how I brand the line also keeps the interest of many people and gives it that unique cult feel.

What is beauty to you?

Anything that is real…

What inspires you and how do you integrate your ideas with the brand and business?

Life inspires me. The colors and textures of life inspire me. I do not get inspired by trends or by flavors of the moment.

How do you select ingredients for your products? How do you make sure that raw materials are good quality? How well do you know your suppliers?

I research every ingredient that I consider for my brand and also personally check out all aspects of the ingredients origin, growing process and processing. I go as far as purchasing everything myself which is then shipped to the labs. Doing this guarantees that no ingredients have been replaced with something inferior by anyone including the labs. My trust issues have worked fantastic for me regarding my brand.

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How would you define a high quality and effective cosmetic product?

Nowadays you can find thousands of products on natural cosmetic market, but not all of them are actually good quality and are basically just green-washed. Most of them use extremely low quality ingredients (even if they are organic) and start a brand with profit as the motivating factor.

Sadly most brands depend on the honesty and word of the labs themselves so you get some pretty generic products on the shelves if they do not contribute their knowledge and creativity. I can’t work like that and I have to be hands on. I know more about my products and raw ingredients than most brand owners themselves know about their brands.

In all honesty it is hard to know which one is a good product and which one isn’t. For example people think all coconut oil is the same but that is so far from the truth. There are so many ways of processing it (refined, fractionated, hydrogenated, cold pressed, cold centrifuged, organic, raw …the list goes on). These all affect the oil and some processing can actually destroy the healing properties of the oil. How do you as a consumer know…you don’t! That now is becoming the biggest obstacle in the industry. Educating yourself is your best advantage you can have of really knowing a brand that you trust and can stand behind. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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What is it like to run your own makeup business? What is your average day like?

It is a constant struggle yet every struggle helps you grow and learn more about business and the industry itself. It is continual growing pains but I love every minute of it. When I see the final product on the market and the customer response that makes every struggle and insecurity disappear.

What has been the most challenging moment with your brand?

Challenging moments are many and often as the green beauty industry is still in its beginning stages. There is really not so much true knowledge out there regarding truly natural product formulation so much of it is 101 chemistry or similar versions of everything else out there in the market. I am doing color cosmetics so that gets even more in the grey area of expertise. It is all a one step at a time process.

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Do you have a mentor in case you need advices?

I have a few mentors I speak to but I also like doing my own research. This gives me a better balance of information, different opinions that open my mind and that helps me tremendously in making a final decision. In the end I always go with my intuition.

What has been the highlight or a special memory with RMS Beauty so far?

When my memory goes back to when I first started, and I compare that to where I am now, that makes me smile.

How about the future? Are you planning to create more products?

Lots of products are launching very soon that I think will surprise people. We are always working on ideas so the future is definitely happening full steam ahead but I never tell before they launch.

What is the most challenging makeup product to create using only natural ingredients?

We will find that out when we start it working on it but so far so good. But again the word natural has no definitive meaning so what is the meaning of natural?

What is the biggest dream for your brand?

My biggest dream is not about my brand but for every beauty customer to embrace a cleaner beauty industry and to stop being brainwashed by marketing claims and label names.

What makes you happy?

Not really sure yet. It depends on my mood. : )

RMS Beautyn tuotteita myy mm. Naturelle, jonka tuotevalikoimasta saat koodilla KATJA10 -10 % alennuksen 15.9.2015 saakka. (Alennus ei koske May Lindstromin tuotteita).

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Tuotekuvat Katja Kokko, Rose-Marien kuvat RMS Beauty

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  1. Anna sanoo:

    Mielenkiintoinen haastattelu, vaikka tarina brändin takana olikin pääpiirteittäin tuttu. On upeaa lukea ihmisistä, jotka ovat menestyneet unelmatyössään!

    Eniten jäi mietityttämään kysymys tuotteiden laadusta, ja se, miten vähän me kuluttajat oikeasti tiedämme tuotteista, joita käytämme. Itse ymmärrän edes hiukan incien päälle, ja luulen osaavani havaita pahimmat viherpesuyritykset, mutta eihän inci kaikkea kerro. Ja vaikka valmistaisi kosmetiikkansa itse, ja tietäisi raaka-aineet ja niiden määrät tarkasti, niin raaka-aineiden laatu olisi silti tietynlainen kysymysmerkki. Eihän kukaan tavallinen kuluttaja voi lähteä selvittämään joka öljyn ja yrtin alkuperää, vaan täytyy yrittää löytää ne valmistajat ja brändit, joiden voi luottaa tarjoavan laadukkaita ja turvallisia tuotteita.

    • Juuri näin Anna! Siksipä itse koluan aina sarjat, joihin rakastun, perinpohjaisesti läpi ja koitan löytää kaiken mahdollisen tiedon. Sitten ei voi kuin luottaa valmistajan sanaan. Minun listallani luotettavin brändi on Neal’s Yard Remedies <3

  2. Anna sanoo:

    Juu, intosi perehtyä tuotteisiin ja niiden taustoihin on huomattu! 🙂 Siksi tämä blogi on niin huippu ja uskon, että monet lukijat arvostavat sitä. Moni bloggaaja tyytyy kuvailemaan tuotteita hyvin pintapuolisesti ja ehkä nappaa esittelytekstit suoraan valmistajan kotisivuilta. Toki tyylejä on erilaisia, ja se on ihan fine. Suomessa tietysti kauneusjutuista bloggaaminen tapahtuu useimmiten päivätyön ohella, joten on ihan ymmärrettävää, ettei monikaan bloggaaja ehdi selvitellä tuotteiden taustoja kovinkaan tarkasti.