makeup artist

Beauty Conversations Part 2: Christina Zilber, Owner of Jouer Cosmetics

Fiona Stiles1 Comment
I have always been about what works.  I love brands that are passionate about what they do and how they grow, especially the smaller brands.  I love to support them and I find that they are equally supportive of us makeup artists, which speaks volumes about how they run their businesses.  One of the brands that I have loved since it's launch is Jouer.  I think their products are beautiful, versatile and frankly, have a real and specific customer in mind, and I love that.  Christina Zilber, the owner of Jouer, makes makeup that women really want to use.  All of the colors are incredibly wearable and the formulas are fantastic.  They consistently come out with products that go directly into my kit and my own makeup bag and I always look forward to seeing what they launch next.  

I wanted to hear more about how Christina started her company because I just love people that make things happen.  And she has created a beautiful brand that everyone should know about.

photo: Jennifer Cawley

- I know that your line is very much about celebrating women and about being a line that women can really use.  All of the colors are incredibly flattering and wearable and the formulas are so dead on.  What is your check list when you're creating a product?
I want women to feel beautiful and confident and like themselves, not “made-up”.  It’s important to me that makeup is effortless in terms of application and effect as well as that it should deliver skincare benefits.  As a product junkie, I’m highly discerning with what I put on my face and I do not compromise with my line.  I test products extensively before they go to market.  I have to love it and believe in it before I’m willing to put my name on it.

- One of Jouer's unique features is its packaging.  Can you describe your philosophy and inspiration for the packaging's customizability?
Sometimes the simplest ideas aren’t represented in the market. I found my niche when I kept trying to find a makeup palette with a concealer inside; simple but impossible to find. I wanted to carry a palette with what I wanted, no more, no less. The idea of real customization is at the heart of the line and it doesn’t exist anywhere else.

- What was your a-ha moment that lead you to creating the line?
 I began my career as a model and my favorite place to be was the makeup trailer.  I was fascinated with how women could be transformed by makeup and loved discovering and trying every product I could get my hands on.
The inspiration began with my desire to customize a palette.  I wanted to create a line of effortless colors with skin care benefits you could combine to create customized, portable palettes.

- Jouer has been around for 8 years now and you are a seasoned business woman.  What do you wish you could have told yourself when you started the line?  
When I started the line I wish I would have known how tough it is. Not that I would have been deterred, but perhaps I would have been more mentally prepared. My father framed a poem by William Bennett for me that I hang in my closet.  It’s called “You Mustn’t Quit” and it’s my mantra now as it was the day I started the brand.

- What have you found to be the most surprising thing you have learned as a business owner?  
Maybe not surprising but somewhat challenging is what worked for the company 8 or even 5 years ago, doesn’t anymore.  You’ve got to adapt. Thanks to social media, now our customers are so savvy, so smart, so educated about what they put on their skin.  To be a successful brand, you must be in conversation with the women who love and buy your products.  Our authenticity really closes that gap and makes Jouer a brand people want to be a part of, and trust. 

- What was your biggest challenge starting Jouer?
Manufacturers minimums have always been a challenge. Because I’m a small company and don’t order in super large quantities, I tend to get pushed back in production queues and everything takes longer than expected. It’s always a challenge being the “little guy”. When I look at competitive companies who produce a palette of 30 eyeshadows for $30 I can guarantee they manufactured those colors in China where there is very little oversite in ingredients. I don’t feel comfortable delivering a subpar and questionable formula to my customers so I’m again at a disadvantage in pricing. A quality formula costs more; I can only hope my customer is aware the cheaper the makeup, the more potential hazardous materials you’re putting on your skin.

- I would have to say that the "Peony" cream blush is akin to NARS's "Orgasm" in the sense that it's Jouer's runaway successful color.  I know it's a staple in my kit and my personal makeup bag!  Was that one of the initial colors in the line or did it come a little later?
Peony was not one of our original colors but it was created early on.  I love a rosy pink cheek and the peony tint was created to make that clean, fresh youthful glow.  My goal was to make that just the right pink so that it was wearable on every skin tone.  Because of the success of the tint, we matched that perfect pink for a Peony lipgloss too. 

- I'll say to you what I said to another female business owner I interviewed: I hate that no one ever asks a man "How do you do it all?"  It's so insulting to ask a woman how she juggles all of her responsibilities; you're a mom, and the owner of a large and very successful makeup line.  So instead of asking how you do it.... I'm just going to say "You're awesome!"  And keep putting out great products.  

Well, thank you.  I am a master juggler and my kids are on the Jouer ride with me.  We all share in the success and failures!  We learn together! And, may I also add, you’re awesome! I love your artistry, you’re a mom, and you just started your own business. I believe women should support each other in the workplace, you will always find a supporter in Jouer.