By Tiffany Luning
Once upon a time, in the land that brought us koalas, Vegemite, and Hugh Jackman, there was a young woman who worked as a model agent. At the ripe old age of 21, she had opened her own boutique modeling agency and it became a booming success. For the next decade, she owned and operated one of Australia’s most renowned and respected management firms: Shelley Management Group. Comprised of three agencies – FACE Models, Lollipops Children Model Management, and Commercial Faces Actors – this management group wrangled a talent pool of over 1200 people, and their models graced the pages of international fashion magazines and countless ad campaigns worldwide. But this hard-working Aussie gal was not satisfied with merely being a superstar model agent. She wanted to conquer the cosmetics world as well, and launched ModelCo in 2002. Sound like a fairy tale straight from the pages of “Vogue”? Maybe so, but it the real-life story of Shelley Barrett.
Shelley Barrett was driven to build her beauty empire from her years of experience working with models, hair stylists, and makeup artists. She identified a niche in the market for fast, multi-purpose beauty solutions and pounced on it, launching ModelCo first product, the Lash Wand Heated Eyelash Curler. It was a resounding success, selling out worldwide and featured in key beauty editorials internationally. ModelCo was creating a cult following amongst the fashionistas and celebrities, just based on that single product. Barrett then launched TAN Airbrush in a Can, which garnered even greater sales and recognition. By 2004, ModelCo profits reached a whopping $5 million and a turnover growth of 200%. The business forecast for 2006 anticipates that the turnover will be in excess of $12 million. Pretty impressive, no? A key factor in ModelCo success thus far is the warp-speed turnaround from product development to marketplace, unlike so many of the larger beauty brands, ModelCo can get their product to consumers in time to dovetail with rapidly-changing trends.
Barrett says about her brand, “competing against the biggest and the best in the world is part of the challenge that I relish. I see it as an opportunity. As markets become more globalized, with fewer geographical and trade barriers, it pays to be ambitious and actively seize new opportunities. I don’t feel threatened by foreign competition and am proud that ModelCo is an Australian company being taken seriously in an international arena.” ModelCo has just been unleashed right into our New York laps, debuting in May at the too-fabulous and beloved Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Avenue, 212-247-1100). Barrett is as excited as we are about the Bendel’s unveiling, saying, “I am delighted that ModelCo is the first Australian beauty brand to be sold in what is undoubtedly New York finest boutique department store. Henri Bendel very much understands our brand and shares our long-term vision. I see this strategic partnership with Henri Bendel as a milestone on ModelCo, an ongoing journey to paint the world pink (their signature color), continuing to create innovative products with ‘WOW’ factor and becoming a major player in the international cosmetic industry competing against luxury and large multi-national cosmetics brands.”
ModelCo has recently introduced a hot-off-the-runway color cosmetics range called Colourbox, which brings us all the standards of a beauty routine: foundation, eye shadows, lip gloss, blush, bronzers, brushes, and pencils. Barrett wisely figured that women want to have products and applicators all in one sleek package, as opposed to schlepping around lip glosses, shadows, and separate brushes for each. As such, each compact comes with its own small innovatively-designed applicators for instance, full-length pencils with sharpeners in the lid. HALLELUJAH! How genius is that?! The compacts housing these colors are rock-solid. They may be tiny and cute with their white-and-magenta color scheme, but these puppies won’t be popping open in your purse. They’re small and strong, the way packaging needs to be.
Colourbox FluidSplash 3-in-1 Foundation is a revolutionary oil-free foundation that comes with a Vitamin E and Aloe Vera enriched concealer and eye base – cunningly hidden in the lid. Flip open the lid to reveal the eye base and concealer, which you pat on to prep the skin for makeup application and mask those annoying skin imperfections. Unscrew the lid and voila! A tiny nozzle to dispense your foundation (which is ultra-hydrating due to its 50% water content). Both the concealer and foundation feel extremely lightweight, but still provide moderate-to-full coverage. This hypoallergenic foundation is available in Sand (fair), Shell (light beige), Shore (beige), Urchin (medium beige), and Dune (tan).
One of my secret shames as a beauty writer is that I utterly and completely suck at applying blushes. I can never get the application or color quite right, so I just given up on it. The Colourbox Blush, however, I really like. It is lightweight and non-drying, thanks to the inclusion of silicon and apple seed oil. The pigment tends toward being a bit transparent, which makes it nearly impossible to over-apply as no one looks good with fuchsia racing-stripe blush. The compact is two-tiered, with the brush hiding underneath the blush palette in order to keep the mirror clean. The blush is available in D vu (Pink), Joie de Vivre (Apricot), and C st la Vie (Terracotta), so there a great match for any skin tone. For those of you working the faux-tan look, there is also a Colourbox Bronze Duo called Raison D tre. This compact contains two natural-looking shades one bronze (to contour) and one shimmer (to highlight).
The Colourbox Gloss Kit is a seriously brilliant idea. Each little kit contains a good amount of shimmery gloss, a diminutive matching lip pencil, and a flat-headed retractable brush all in the same sleek pink compact. Can you imagine not having to drag around that purse-lint-covered lip brush anymore? Hooray! The glosses are shiny and sheer, which makes for a great summer look. The Gloss Kit is available in Melon, Pomegranate, Nectarine, Cherry, and Plum. It’s quite a bargain, too, considering that you get a gloss, a pencil, and a brush all for $26.
With all the walking we do in this city in those fashion-over-function strappy sandals, it is amazing that we all don’t already own the Cool Feet Airbrush Catwalk Heels spray. Cool Feet is the first-ever airbrush foot cooling spray, designed to revive and refresh your poor, tired feet. It is enriched with papaya extracts to revitalize, bamboo to restore suppleness, chamomile to soothe, and peppermint to invigorate your senses. This spray is icy cold and let me tell you, it going to feel incredible to spray this on when it 90 degrees outside.
Finally, the famous TAN Airbrush in a Can. If Amber Valletta and Eva Herzigova love it, who are you to resist? TAN is a sunless tanning mist that contains a deep golden pigment to give you an instant healthy glow while the self-tanner develops underneath in hours for a long-lasting bronze hue. All that, and it contains moisturizing aloe vera and the scent of cocoa butter, so you’ll be caramel-colored and smelling like a tropical vacation.
By the way, ModelCo bills itself as tested on models, not animals How can you not love a company that makes you look glamorous and respects our animal friends?
You can find ModelCo here in the U.S. at select Sephora and Victoria Secret locations, Bliss Spas, and the aforementioned Henri Bendel. If you happen to be jet-setting all over the planet, you can also find it at over 500 department stores and beauty apothecaries, including Paris Collete and Le Printemps, Dubai Villa-Moda, and the UK Space.NK. To see all their worldwide locations, visit www.modelco.com.au.