November 15th, 2016
Linda Treska‘s career is an astonishing read. As the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Global Trends for US brand Vincent Longo Cosmetics, which has made a welcome return to the UK beauty scene, you know that this is a woman who knows her industry extremely well.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, she began her career as a make-up artist and consultant for luxury brands including Origins, YSL Beauté and Vincent Longo. Her career expanded in the global product development role at Vincent Longo Cosmetics at merely 21 years old, followed by increasingly senior product and trend development roles with Estée Lauder, Laura Mercier and Laura Geller. In 2015 she came full circle, taking up her current role with Vincent Longo where she first started, alongside her own beauty brand, Pinch of Color, which creates products with the focus of conserving water.
WP: What first sparked your interest in make-up?
LT: I have loved make-up since an early age, from playing with my mother’s lipsticks. I was fascinated by the colours as well as the lipstick scent. Colours in general, whether it was crayons or markers, gave me a sense of inspiration and allowed me to create beautiful images which reflected my emotions. Now I am able to do the same thing, but with make-up and formulations.
WP: What did you study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and how was the experience?
LT: I studied Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing. FIT was the only college I applied for because I had no interest in attending any other college. This degree gave me the opportunity to enter the beauty industry and gave me an understanding of how the business side of beauty functioned.
WP: You actually began your career as a MUA before moving into consultancy and product development – how important is that pro knowledge, and the experience of other MUAs, when you’re creating a product? Are they in mind from the beginning or do they help in the testing process?
LT: Being a make-up artist has been my secret tool in being successful in the beauty business. It has given me an understanding of textures, formulas, colours, performance and technique that I have applied when developing new products. In addition, being a make-up artist has helped me in seeing the development of a product in a higher level. I can truly test the formulas from the beginning “concept” stage to the final approved product.
WP: You’ve come full circle, beginning and ending with Vincent Longo Cosmetics. What was it about the brand which makes it such a good fit for you, and vice versa?
LT: Vincent Longo Cosmetics was my first love in the beauty business. I started as a make-up artist and went up the ranks. One of the main reasons I have always loved the brand was for its formulas, colours, shade range and the ability to always impress the customers with trend-forward innovations. Vincent Longo Cosmetics has given me the platform to grow within the beauty industry from being a make-up artist to a COO.
WP: For those who don’t remember know Vincent Longo Cosmetics from when it was last in the UK, how would you describe the brand?
LT: The brand has really evolved through the years. When it first started in the late ’90s it was known for its use in editorial shots, fashion catwalk, red carpet and with A-list actors. While the formulas remain unrivalled, the brand has evolved and has become more relevant with today’s market trends and needs. We continue to carry on the values of artistry, however we celebrate the individual qualities that make each woman iconic and authentic.
WP: What are three of the brand’s best-selling products which people should look out for?
LT: The Water Canvas Crème-to-Powder Foundation is probably what the brand is best known for, thanks to its unique texture. The Lip & Cheek Gel Stain is always a winner, as are the Pearl X Eyeshadows in their rainbow hues.
WP: You worked in Global Product Development at Vincent Longo when you were just 21, and have made huge leaps in your career very quickly. What advice would you give to artists and individuals on how to stand out from the crowd and be noticed?
WP: I have always been very true to myself, my work as well as the passion I have for this business. I always strive to think outside the box and make sure to connect with each brand and founder that I have had the privilege of working for. It is important to really connect with the brand in order for you and the company to be successful. Another piece of advice is to work hard and pay attention to detail, as well as not be afraid to go the extra mile.
WP: What is the biggest misconception about product development, and can you tell us a truth that people may not know?
LT: Most people don’t realise the importance of product development within a company. Most CEOs or Senior Executives focus on other functions of the company without realising that the engine and what drives the growth and the success is what comes out of Product Development.
WP: What is your favourite part of the product development process?
LT: Spending time in the lab and working hand-in-hand with the chemists by formulating and ideating the next ground-breaking concept.
WP: When it comes to trend forecasting what do you have to take into account? How can MUAs stay one step ahead of the trends?
LT: For me, one of the critical ways of being a step ahead of the trends is travelling. I use travelling as a guiding tool to see and forecast what is coming. We all inspire one another and usually the trends come from other countries, continents and are mainly driven by people, food and cultures.
WP: What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out as make-up artists?
LT: Practice makes perfect, but also having your own style is what sets you apart. Whether you are working in make-up artistry, trend forecasting or product innovation, it is that individual style and taste that will help you stand out.
WP: What can we expect from Vincent Longo into 2017?
LT: Big things are coming! I take pride in products and I have to say that my focus for 2017 will be new product concepts and of course expansion of the brand into new markets and new distribution. Follow us on social media for the latest news of what’s to come.