By Amy Sciaretto
Deep down, we’re all makeup geeks. Marlena Stell’s multi-million dollar brand just advertises that fact with its name. The brand has truly come to the forefront in the past year, with its collabo with vlogger Manny MUA and its amazing, pigment-rich eye shadows. Makeup Geek is one of the brands born of the digital, “Instaglam” age. That’s why it was time to invite Stell to take her place In the Hot Seat.
BN: Give us your background, Twitter-sized… in 140 words or less, if you can. Or characters, if you want to give it a go! Can you do it?
MS: I’ve always loved makeup and enjoyed educating other women in cosmetics application, so I started my YouTube channel, >Makeupgeektv. It was a hit from the start! I loved teaching and talking makeup, but began to feel frustrated because I frequently mentioned other brands and their products on my channel and influenced their sales, but didn’t make any money from it. So, I launched my own website and cosmetics line, Makeup Geek, in 2011. It’s truly my dream job!
BN: What is the Makeup Geek philosophy?
MS: Makeup Geek is an online cosmetics company and beauty website staffed by a team of cosmetics aficionados with a passion for makeup education. The brand is committed to exceeding customer expectations, sharing useful beauty tips, and most importantly, supporting positive beauty messaging. Exceptional products at affordable prices is just the icing on the cake.
BN: Is there one Makeup Geek product every woman needs and why?
MS: Every woman needs Makeup Geek’s Cocoa Bear Eye Shadow – it’s the ultimate warm brown eye shadow and it looks good on everyone. You can wear it during the day or night.
BN: What is your favorite product you have created?
MS: My favorite product that I’ve created is Makeup Geek’s Foiled Eyeshadow in Grandstand. It’s the most gorgeous rose gold color with a metallic shine that instantly glamorizes your eyes.
BN: Is there a beloved product you didn’t create, but wish that you did?
MS: There are lots of products I haven’t created yet but that are in the works…I can’t spill these any secrets though. It’s hush-hush.
BN: Any teasers you can share about upcoming launches, pretty please?
MS: This holiday season is going to be eventful when it comes to Makeup Geek lip products. Think lots of different colors, finishes, and formulas!
BN: Why did you partner with vlogger Manny MUA for the quickly sold-out eye shadow palette? How did that shake out? And why do you think it did so well?
MS: I have met so many influencers over the years and have found that some were genuine and some were not. When I met Manny a couple years ago, we just clicked; he felt like a little brother to me. I love his authenticity. What you see on camera is exactly how he is in person.
BN: Will you crowdsource products in the future?
MS: We definitely keep our ears open and listen to what our fans have to say—they’re using and loving our products, so we definitely want to make sure we’re giving them what they want. We’ve dabbled in crowdsourcing a little bit by holding what we call Viewers’ Vote contests. We crowdsource names from our supporters for soon-to-launch eye shadows and pick our favorites. The suggesters of the chosen names are sent a generous supply of their shade before it’s launched to the public. It’s really fun!
BN: What makes MUG products so special?
MS: Makeup Geek products are just as good (or better!) quality than high-end brands, but with a lower price point. Plus, we have a huge variety of colors that many brands do not have.
BN: What is the one trend you see for Summer 2016?
MS: I think colorful highlighters and natural eyes are going to be all the rage this summer.
BN: How about Fall 2016?
MS: I think we’ll see a little a movement away from matte lips in favor of metallic and shimmery lips this fall!
BN: What is your favorite splurge?
MS: Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream — it’s seriously THE best moisturizer!
BN: And your favorite bargain steal?
MS: L’oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black has been my go-to mascara for years. It performs beautifully, and you can’t beat the price!
BN: One makeup tip, trick, or technique you want to share with all of our readers?
MS: To get that dewy glow that lasts all. day. long., apply a light layer of cream highlighter on top of the cheek bones and set it with a little bit of powder highlighter. Layering the cream and powder products will create an intense shine that won’t melt off your face on hot days. Skip applying powder to the rest of your face to keep your skin looking dewy and fresh.
BN: I find myself getting so many makeup ideas and tips from Instagram. How do you make that medium effect for your brand?
MS: We love connecting with artists that are using our products on Instagram. We’re inspired by their looks and enjoy sharing them on our feed for our followers to be inspired by as well. There are so many talented people out there using Makeup Geek, and Instagram has been a really effective way for us to reach and support those people.