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KJAER WEIS CELEBRATES 10 YEARS IN THE BEAUTY BUSINESS!

@kjaerweis

November, 25th 2020

A decade ago, Kirsten Kjaer Weis followed her heart and took a chance in making her mark in the cut throat makeup industry. After launching just three products, she caught the eyes of the world with her modern luxe natural cosmetic brand Kjaer Weis.

Words By Jen McDonald

It is no surprise that the inspiring Kirsten Kjaer Weis is as successful as she was when she started her organic makeup brand, Kjaer Weis, ten years ago. This Danish-born, New York-based makeup artist is a true pioneer in the luxury beauty industry and still stands by her values of producing high quality products that make skin beautiful. Her secret lies in combining harmless ingredients in super luxurious, sustainable and reusable packaging. We think her brand is genius! 

As most of the world plunges back into lockdown, Kirsten reflects on the last ten years of her business. Like many of us, Kirsten and her team have had to adapt to the new way of living and adapt her business. “As for everybody, COVID has been a unique, multi-layered experience. We have had to find new ways of personalising the experience online so that our customers feel a sense of connection,” she explains. “We are learning to live with a new normal and I’m so grateful that we have managed to remain safe and keep going. We have had to think creatively about how we operate, which has presented challenges, but has also given us great results.”

@kjaerweis

“I think sustainability has always been a part of my life but without me really noticing it. We used to live sustainably without even realising it” -Kirsten Kjaer Weis

Growing up on a farm in Denmark, Kirsten was one of six siblings living a wholesome childhood. It was this upbringing that influenced her to use natural ingredients in her makeup line. “It certainly shaped my thoughts and installed in me an affinity for nature from an early age,” she reflects. “I learned about nature’s bounty, untouched produce and all that it has to offer.”

Kirsten originally wanted to be an architect, but after college and travelling, she switched paths to study makeup. It was on her travels that she encountered the person that would set her on a different course. “I met a woman in Copenhagen, who I found so inspiring and became a very influential person in my life,” Kirsten shares. “She ran a spa and offered me a year’s apprenticeship there. It was there I really learned about skin and the importance of taking care of it. I went on to study makeup at a school in Paris, called Christian Chauveau School of Artistic Makeup, before moving to New York where I became a makeup artist. The rest, as they say, is history.”

@kjaerweis

Moving to the big apple, she rapidly gained traction in the industry. It was whilst working on the set of fashion shoots for big magazines that she started to get booked for her focus on skincare. “Working as a makeup artist in New York, I saw first-hand the effects that vast amounts of conventional makeup could have on a model’s skin,” Kirsten tells us. “I would get a product out of my kit and they would beg me not to use it, saying it causes them to break out. I was amazed that this [makeup] was accepted as the ‘norm’ for most women. I looked for clean alternatives but the products did not perform as well as and lost a certain quality. It was then I had my ‘aha’ moment and thought, why not create a brand which encompasses clean and luxury without compromising performance?”

 It took several years of hard work, dedication and endless testing of products before finally launching her brand in 2010. And we are so thankful that she did! All of her products use organic or certified natural ingredients. Kjaer Weis is one of a kind, focusing not only on the composition of each product but on the packaging. Kirsten turned to the award-winning creative director, Marc Atlan, to help her design the brand’s classy, modern and plastic-free refillable containers. “I have always been obsessed with Marc Atlan. His designs are exceptional. I had a ‘Comme des Garçons’ perfume bottle, which looks like a silver pebble and lays flat in the hand. Every time I held it, I felt so overwhelmed by its beauty. So I emailed him out of the blue, showed him my mood board and we hit it off!”

“We wanted to set a new norm with products that married together the worlds of green and luxury”

Ten years on and Kjaer Weis does not cease to amaze us. The brand’s dedication to its ethos has not faltered, using only ingredients that are kind to the skin and enhance a woman’s natural glow. Their biggest achievement, Kirsten tells us, is their commitment to sustainability. “I believe we have achieved what we set out to do and really created a gold standard for beauty,” she says. “When we started, sustainability was rarely spoken about in the industry. We wanted to set a new norm with products that married together the worlds of green and luxury, something which had not been seen before. Now, sustainability is the focus for many brands. I feel very proud to have been at the start of this movement.”

Having driven her business to where it is today, Kirsten has some words of wisdom to share with us and anyone with a dream of having their own brand: “Make sure you stick to your brand’s purpose, use this as your pillar and do not move away from it. It will present its challenges and obstacles, but you must stick to it. When difficult choices have to be made, go back to this to make your decision.”

@kjaerweis

To mark the brand’s ten year anniversary, Kjaer Weis has partnered with New York-based artist, Christina Zimpel, to create a limited edition set. The set comprises a specially designed ‘Cream Blush’ to give lips, eyes and cheeks a gentle sheen, along with ‘The Beautiful Oil’ to create flawless, radiant skin. The brand has swapped its traditional silver packaging for a classic red tone, delivering the products wrapped in a ‘ready-to-gift’ box designed by Zimpel. The artist’s design gives the set a both sleek and playful feel.

“My advice for anyone, particularly those that are younger, is to be true to yourself and be confident. Embrace your self-identity and try not to mimic others. The world of social media often makes us think that we have to look or act a certain way to be successful but more often than not this is not true. Beauty is in originality” -Kirsten Kjaer Weis

Staiy is in complete awe with Kirsten and her brand. What started with three products has now grown into an extensive collection. And the brand shows no signs of slowing down. “We are constantly trying to innovate sustainable solutions and ask ourselves what more we can do. One thing we are focusing on at the moment is how we can get more sustainable tester products out to our customers, especially with stores being closed,” Kirsten says. The future is certainly bright for Kjaer Weis and we certainly expect new, exciting products from this innovative brand.