I am a makeup lover and have spent more money and time in Sephora than I care to admit. So when I learned I had the chance to attend a panel with Georgie Greville and Mazdack Rassi, co-founders of the makeup brand Milk, I was thrilled.
But I soon discovered I knew nothing about Milk.
Milk is not simply a makeup brand, far from it. Milk Makeup grew out of the creative conglomerate that is the Milk Group. The group is a self-described culturally conscious company that has its hands in everything from fashion to equipment rentals. Georgie and Mazdack spoke with pride about the rich creative culture that the Milk brand represents, an almost-anything-goes mentality that allows creatives to express themselves through any means necessary.
The team decided they wanted to create a product for their community, and Milk Makeup was born. Its story is one of values, risk and reward.
Since the Milk Group has its finger on the pulse of creative culture, they vowed to build Milk Makeup on the values of Quality, Creativity, Inclusion, Eco-Consciousness and Fun. And they did. Best articulated in their promotional video, Milk created a makeup brand that allows people to “live their look” – but in a way that was built on the culture of community and inclusive nature that already existed.
As illustrated by Milk, understanding the value system of your organization before launching into new endeavors can help to maintain authenticity and bolster credibility of the brand. This commitment to values can also help attract and maintain loyal consumers who also share those ideals. Milk entered the makeup world understanding who they were making a product for, and their focus on the community they represent served as the all-important guiding light for the brand.
Milk decided to bring ageless, genderless makeup into an industry that often sells anti-aging to the hyper feminine. In keeping with the concept of a culturally conscious company, Milk Makeup navigated this landscape by strategically partnering with those who already represented all that Milk stood for.
Perhaps one of the biggest risks taken by the company was promoting masked artist Leikeli47 as a brand spokesperson. Despite her partially covered face, Leikeli47 told Milk that she had never worn makeup before the brand came along and was so inspired that she created a song for her album about the brand.
In true Milk fashion, the team flew to LA to produce the music video for the song, complete with glitter, a holographic Lamborghini, and, of course, bold beautiful makeup.
Instead of a forced partnership with the LGBTQ community for Pride Month, Milk Makeup decided to walk two blocks from their office to The Center, an organization that provides support, a welcoming environment and health services for the LGBTQ community. Milk knew that many of its own members had benefited from the work of The Center, and so an organic partnership was formed.
Marketing professionals should be taking note of these partnerships, as they are the perfect example of how the “right fit” can create a harmonious and symbiotic relationship between brand and partners and foster long-term brand advocates.
Milk Makeup has thrived, entering 50 new stores every six months with a demographic that spans from ages 13-63. The brand has stayed true to their grounding values, and in return Milk Makeup was welcomed with openness and support from a population that finally felt represented and heard.
Thanks for the great lessons Milk Makeup – I hope everyone in the advertising world will follow your wonderful example.