Vogue Arabia features Kitmate

Homegrown Brand Kitmate Ensures Your Makeup Won’t Melt During Summer

KitmateCourtesy of Kitmate

Every makeup lover has been there. The tragedy of trying to apply slightly melted makeup in the highs of summer. Living in the Middle East it doesn’t even really need to be summer. Either way, it’s devastating whether you notice before or after attempting to sweep lipstick across your pout to end up with product everywhere. Katharina Brennan and Melanie Meyer the founders of homegrown brand Kitmate knew this feeling all too well. The professional makeup artists share their story on creating a brand that offers so much more than just combating this.

What are both of your backgrounds?

We are both makeup artists, originally from Germany. We have been based in the Middle East for many years. Between us, we have nearly 20 years of experience in Dubai as hair and makeup artists. Melanie studied makeup in Paris and LA and went to art school in Germany and Katharina studied both hair and makeup in Germany.

How did you meet?

We met in Dubai in 2016 on the set of a photoshoot.

How did you come up with the concept for Kitmate?

We had individually thought of starting a business at some stage and we had already been working on some initial design ideas and foundation plans for a business before we met, but it was our shared ideas and experience that brought us together to start Kitmate. We were both dreaming of creating products for makeup lovers and makeup or hair professionals.

How long did it take you to launch the brand?

Kitmate was launched at the end of 2017 and it pretty much took a whole year of preparation. We had a very long sampling phase to ensure our products were up to our standards, it was important for us to create a product that is durable, reliable and goes with the trend of the time. We wanted to break into the market with a product that stands out and shows our love of detail.

KitmateCourtesy of Kitmate

Talk to us about your products?

As we launched, we wanted to start with an initial product range that would be as versatile and unique as possible. We were trying to have the perfect bag for everyone. Since then we have added several other styles and sizes. Last year we also branched out into other makeup supplies such as crease-free hair clips and eco-friendly disposable mascara wands.

As both of us are still working on photoshoots we are testing our products on a daily basis. This enables us to make adjustments or improvements to new productions. We also try to keep a close relationship with our customers and encourage feedback to ensure product quality and functionality.

How did you come up with the idea of insulated bags?

Have you ever tried to apply a melted lipstick or frozen lip balm? Unfortunately, extreme temperatures and flawless makeup don’t always get along – hence we created an insulated bag for professional and everyday use, putting an end to damaged make-up products, for easy application, no matter where you are in the world. Our insulated set bag for professional makeup artists is currently in a redesigning phase to further improve the versatility of the bag.

What is your bestseller?

Without a doubt, our iridescent bags. The iridescent color has been a huge success and they are Kitmates absolute bestsellers. Customers love the holographic material as it is truly an eye-catcher and really stands out.

Is sustainability important to you?

Kitmate is very interested in the global movement towards environmentally sustainable products and materials. Especially being a vegan and cruelty-free brand, we feel it is a necessity to find new ways to make our products more sustainable. We have recently re-designed our Iridescent bags and found a way to replicate the same holographic effect on eco-friendly material. The bags look and feel the same but are now environmentally friendly!

KitmateCourtesy of Kitmate

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Being entrepreneurs and creating products from scratch is not always easy. Neither of us came from a business background, and to be able to launch a company we had to learn quickly what it means to conduct international negotiations, dealing with overseas shipments, creating sales and marketing strategies, business development and accounting. Even now we are learning every day and will continue to do so since the world and the markets are always changing.

To be on top of things and also running successful careers as makeup artists aren’t always easy. It takes a lot of determination and persistence to be successful. To find a balance between business and personal lives is also difficult and we are very thankful for all the people who have supported us along the way and have been very understanding of all the endless evenings and weekends we have spent in front of the computer or on the telephone.

And, your biggest triumph?

We think our personal development throughout this time was immense. We have learned so much in every aspect and more so we have learned how to work together as a team. Together, we have made our dream of having a business come true and we feel very flattered when we see our products used by other makeup artists on set. It makes us very proud to have created something which people like and value.

What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs?

Determination and persistence. Follow your dreams and don’t give up. There are always ups and downs but it’s important to focus on what’s important in life, be humble and never stop learning.

What are your future plans?

We want to continue to extend our eco-friendly product range. Today, more so than ever it is important to protect the environment and the people who live in it. We also aim to be a modern brand that is always a step ahead in design, quality, and functionality.

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