Ally and Taylor Frankel’s pursuits are both typically teenaged — studying for exams, running for student council — and extraordinary — the sisters are muses, models, social media managers and co-founders of a hot Canadian makeup line.
Launched last May, Nudestix is available at top retailers like Sephora and Urban Outfitters, and over 100 more physical and online stores internationally. It’s been shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious, New York-based Cosmetic Executive Women’s 2015 Indie Brand Beauty Award.
Financed by their parents, the venture was conceived by mom and company president Jenny Frankel, a chemical engineer, one-time MAC Cosmetics product developer and co-founder of corrective camouflage line Cover FX Makeup.
Nudestix consists primarily of thick, neutral-toned pencils for lips, eyes and skin, packaged in sleek, black tins.
Jenny, dad Lorne Frankel, and a staff of about 20 manage the day-to-day aspects of the business, but Ally, 15, and Taylor, 18, who run the firm’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, respectively, are key to the “Crayola meets Chanel” line which is geared to fuss-free, on-the-go millennials.
They are both the face of the brand — appearing in promotional material and traveling the globe to do in-store trainings, consumer events and press events — and its lead arbiters —vetting every lab sample at Nudestix’s Dufferin-Finch headquarters with final say on shades and textures.
Company marketing material positions the girls as ambassadors for the multifunctional, $28 pencils. Employing the hashtag #gonudebutbetter, they chat up the products online, in between posting vacation selfies or Justin Beiber’s latest video.
“Social platforms, that’s their sources of inspiration,” said Jenny of Nudestix’s target demographic. “They’re not reading magazines; they’re not watching TV; they’re watching YouTube videos; they’re on Instagram; a brand could be a person, product or retailer. Who and what they like to follow are very lifestyle driven.”
Despite their cosmetic industry veteran mom and professional modeling experiences, the sisters never embraced the heavy makeup look and related clutter of brushes and compacts.
“I noticed that beauty was not really that important to them,” said Jenny. “I come from the generation of Sex and the City beauty which was that we had to wake up half-an-hour earlier to do our makeup; and if it was hair washing day, we were waking up a whole hour earlier. They wouldn’t even think about that.”
The siblings’ style icons are beauties that emulate the no makeup, makeup trend, like actresses Lily Collins and Shailene Woodley and model Cara Delevingne
“Is she the most beautiful model out there, who knows?” said Taylor of Delevingne. “But the fact that she lets her personality really shine through is what makes her so much more beautiful. She has this naturalness to her and she embraces it which is what Nudestix is all about.”
Having expanded to 53 products from the 41 they launched with a year ago, Nudestix is also appealing to older women who appreciate the minimalism of the German and Italian manufactured line.
“We have surpassed our expectations,” said Jenny. “The retailers have taken to us much more enthusiastically than we would have dreamed of. And sales per retailer are higher than we were expecting. We’re trending to do a $5 million business by the end of this year.”
Taylor, who has just completed her first year of commerce studies at Ryerson University, envisions a future as a beauty industry mogul, while Grade 10 student Ally favours the well-being aspect of cosmetics and plans to pursue dermatology. In the short term, they have an enviable summer schedule: West Coast promo tour; trips to Hong Kong and Australia for Nudestix launches; and tweaking a new product for eyebrows.