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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Poppy King, Founder of Lipstick Queen

Poppy King is an internationally renowned trend spotter, creator, color expert and innovative business leader. Her entrepreneurial spirit, unconventional style and personal passions set her apart in the beauty industry. Poppy infuses the products she creates with fun and glamour.

At 18 years of age Poppy started her own brand when she couldn’t find the lipstick she wanted. Having always been mesmerized by the allure of old-time Hollywood she drew on this retro inspiration and added her own modern influences to create the perfect matte lipstick brand. In 1992 her first range was released. Poppy infused the brand with many points of difference including naming her lipsticks after each of the Seven Deadly Sins and selling them throughout hip boutiques instead of department stores.

Within 1 year the brand was a household name in Australia as the media around this young, passionate innovator exploded! Within that time the brand reached a $3 million turnover from a standing start. The reputation of this unusual brand grew and by 1993 Barneys New York has launched her line in their flagship Madison Ave store. The international press now caught on and Poppy was featured in countless magazines and publications. In 1995 she was awarded the Young Australian of the Year and named by Time magazine as one of the “Global Leaders for the New Millennium”.

For 12 years from 18 until the age of 30 she headed Poppy Industries (the company she founded) as it went through the many and varied cycles and challenges of business. In 2002 she was identified and approached by the Estee Lauder Companies as someone who could provide creative and unconventional product, branding and press ideas to their Prescriptives brand. She was relocated to New York City to take up the role of Vice President for Creative Marketing for Prescriptives.

In order to take up this challenge wholeheartedly, Poppy ceased operations of her brand. Poppy undertook her role with Prescriptives for 3 years until November 2005 when she left in order to complete her manuscript being published by Atria division of Simon and Schuster. During this process of writing a guide to entrepreneurial thinking Poppy returned once again to her own entrepreneurial roots and decided to re launch her lipstick line here in the United States. Her new brand Lipstick Queen was released in November 2006 and has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers and was awarded The Breakthrough Product of The Year for 2007 by Beauty Biz magazine (published by Womens Wear Daily).

Poppy’s first book “Lessons of a Lipstick Queen. Finding and Developing the Great Idea that can Change your Life” was released May 2008 in the USA.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Poppy King for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How old were you when you first started wearing lipstick?
Poppy King: 7 years old playing dress ups! Then seriously from 14 years onwards.

Out of all of the spectrum of makeup, what is it about lipstick that you love?
It's power to totally transform you. Other make up either corrects or enhances but lipstick transforms a super hero.

What inspires you?
My customers. I love women and the way they interact with product and integrate it into their lives. It is utterly fascinating and inspiring to me.

What are you proudest of?
My insistence on keeping my focus on my customers rather than all the other white noise that goes on in this industry.

What do you feel makes your lipstick different than others?
The attention to detail in the texture and the shades and the 20 years of experience I have in focusing on this one area alone.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 shades of lipstick, what would they be and why?
Matte Red, Sheer Red and Red gloss. I love red and it makes me feel capable of doing anything...even getting off a desert island.

What mistake do women make most often with lipstick?
Thinking they can't wear it because it will look "too much" on them. All women can wear lipstick if they minimize the rest of their make up. That is how to make it look modern...back off on the eye make up.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
Downtown. I love downtown and most of my life happens below 14th street.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
It is tie between Castor and Pollux in the West Village and Lyell in Nolita.
Gorgeous and unique clothes.

What is your favorite drink?
Sakatini (sake martini)

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Café Gitane...I live near it and I am there all the time.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Here is New York by E.B White

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Look at the Chrysler Building

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underated for sure is the community aspect. I don't find this a lonely city
at all.
Overated. Wall Street bankers as we have since found out

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
That I am genuine

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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