March 16th, 2019
As the creator of Ireland’s biggest beauty brand, Marissa Carter is a busy woman. Founded six years ago, her tanning line, Cocoa Brown, sells a bottle every 30 seconds and her 120+k followers on Instagram tune into her stories daily to discover what life’s like behind the scenes. We caught up with her at the launch of her new cosmetics line.
What’s your background and how did you get in makeup?
My career in beauty began the day that two wonderful Irish women, Lorraine and Careena Galligan, agreed to let me take their Beauty Specialist Diploma course in the evening while working in the office of their college during the day. I could never have afforded to study beauty otherwise. They gave me a leg up which resulted in me opening my first salon, Carter Beauty Salon, in a house I was renting at the time – the business soon outgrew the spare room and I opened my first official premises. Once the salon was on its feet, I decided to develop my beauty education at the Circadia Institute in the US with a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry and Skin Histology which resulted in the birth of Cocoa Brown: the rest, as they say, is history.
What’s your earliest make-up memory?
My earliest make-up memory is of sitting on the bottom of my mum’s bed watching her apply her make-up. I just loved watching the transformation and the glamour of it all (even the blue eyeshadow), how a little slick of lipstick and a touch of mascara could create this air of confidence.
Tell us about the background to the launch of your beauty range.
Carter Beauty is something that I’ve wanted to do ever since starting in the beauty industry. Cocoa Brown took off so stratospherically that there was never time to get into cosmetics. We expanded our team and got the ball rolling, and once we got started there was no stopping #TeamCB. It was a very busy time with lots of blood, sweat and tears (I promise none of them ended up in the palettes!) but come launch day seeing people’s reaction to the collection made it all so worthwhile. I still get a buzz of excitement every time I pass a stand in a shopping centre.
What’s your personal favourite and why?
Of course I love everything equally, but I do have to say, the Supreme Gel Liner was my hero product from day one. I always had a little fear of liner, but the Supreme Gel Liner makes it so easy to apply. I was obviously right as it’s a favourite amongst customers too and was worn by Ariana Grande in her latest video, break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored. We can’t keep it on shelves.
Where do you retail? And overseas?
We currently retail in Primark in the UK and Ireland as well as over 100 Irish pharmacies. We’ve also just launched in Hudson’s Bay, Canada, and, of course, like every brand, we’re online at www.carterbeautycosmetics.com to get your instant fix.
What’s the range of foundations in your collection?
We have two foundation finishes, Full Measure HD Foundation, which gives full coverage and is perfect for evening wear and special occasions and Half Measure Dewy Foundation which is a buildable, dewy foundation perfect for every day wear. Both ranges come in 12 shades with Cremé Brûlée being the bestseller – it’s a perfect match for Cocoa Brown’s Original Medium 1 Hour tan.
How many lip products do you have?
We have two ranges of lip products, Word of Mouth Matte Lipstick, which is a creamy formula and Free Speech Lip Tint which is a wet-look, high-pigment lip colour that doesn’t dry out. Both ranges come in 20 shades, each named after inspirational women. We’ve got everything from a spicy red named after Queen Bey to a universal nude named after Momager of the Year, Kris Jenner.
What’s your plan for adding to range?
Without giving too much away, we’ve got lots of new products planned for launch. The beauty of being such a social-based company is that we get instant feedback from our customers and we really take that on board. We get DMs every day with suggestions, ideas and wishes and we’re extremely fluid so we can act on them immediately.
Which make-up artists do you work with?
We’re a beauty brand created with make-up artists in mind: our aim is to be in every make-up artist’s kit. Carter works with all types of make-up artists from celebrity favourites like Rokael Lizama (Ariana Grande’s make-up artist) to freelancers and bridal make-up artists. Each make-up artist brings something different to the table. We’re as happy being tagged in a picture of Ariana as we are a bride or a teen getting creative. It’s great to see the experts loving our brand.
What’s the best piece of industry advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t ever worry about people copying you because eventually they’ll copy your mistakes.