There was a time in the not so distant past that people could not be overtly passionate about anything deemed “geeky” to the mainstream world. A woman could not proclaim her love for zombie flicks or video games or anime or sci-fi television programming without coming under fire (oh wait, that still happens. Never mind.) Fortunately, “geek chic” has become a widely accepted form of personal expression. It is currently en vogue, so to speak. I was just in Target yesterday and saw a t-shirt with GEEK CHIC emblazoned across the front, so no one can tell me differently. Today, in nearly any city, people go about their lives nonchalantly wearing t-shirts with their favorite pop culture phrases, or toting custom-made bags, shoes, and/or accessories depicting their favorite shows or characters (confession: I generally have no less than two pieces of different fandom-inspired items on my person at any given time.) Cosmetics are no exception to this phenomenon. There are lines of nail polish, lipsticks, eye shadows, and more, all inspired by films, television shows, and pop culture trends. Sometimes a person just wants that exact same eye shadow without having to be an actor sitting in a make-up chair, right? In the grand scheme of “if you build it, they will come,” catering to such dreams can be both lucrative and fulfilling.
Enter Espionage Cosmetic’s latest project: “Nailed It!” Espionage Cosmetics takes make-up to new levels of nerdom, focusing on quality products with fandom inspirations. Their self-adhesive nail wraps provide perfect nails without minimal effort. Gone is the time consumption of layering coats of polish (and the frustration of needing to start over if the design is not quite right, or the polish gets smudged, etc.) Each set of nails comes with several sizes to ensure the perfect fit, and are touted as easily adjustable. Remove the wraps from the package, press and shape to your nail, trim the edge as necessary. To lengthen the life of the wraps, a quick-drying clear topcoat is recommended. That is all there is to it. Designs range from Doctor Who to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, steampunk to zombie killer. Proudly (or subtly) displaying a favored fandom has never been easier.
Jaimie Cordero, CEO/Artistic Director and one of the masterminds behind Espionage Cosmetics, took the time to tell Geek Girl World about the company’s origins and answer a few questions. Jaimie is a professional make-up artist. At work, she would mix a few of her versatile personal core products to use on set, which eventually led to the desire to start her own company. With a team of make-up aficionados around the world, Espionage took shape. Jaimie says, “There are other great makeup companies for sure and we wanted to do it differently in a few ways:
1.) Not take it so seriously.
2.) Sell a product that we loved but knew wasn’t the end all be all of existence. We at Espionage are very open about the fact that not everyone has time to put on a full face of make up every day AND THAT IS OKAY. Most people have limited time for things like perfect eyeliner. So what little time a normal person does have to dedicate should be fun and not daunting/feel like a chore.
3.) Create marketing that would be a playground for creatives and would immediately cause a connection with our nerdy audience.”
Geek Girl World: What do you hope people take away from the concept of Espionage Cosmetics?
Espionage Cosmetics: That it’s okay if your make-up and nails don’t look like the million pinterest boards you have saved. It’s okay to only have three make-up brushes. We love that you have a full beautiful life that keeps finding the perfect lip color on the back burner. Being a mom/going to college/working on your cosplay/raiding with your guild/having game night with your family are all more important than what the beauty industry will have you believe.
If you do pick up any product from Espionage, all we want is to see that you enjoyed our promotional material packed with Easter eggs of geek wonder; and that if you do purchase our product it made your life a little brighter, more fun, and that it added much needed glitter.
GGW: Espionage Cosmetics is quite interactive with its consumers/fans; any plans to do make-up tutorials, etc. to enhance the consumer experience?
EC: That is a project we are working on! We have a lot filmed, it is just the chance to edit things that is hard to come by! Kickstarter has been a full time gig! However once that comes to a close and packages are out we hope to resume some filming and a lot more editing!
GGW: Why use Kickstarter for this particular project?
EC: We chose crowd sourcing for two reasons:
1) Our company has been built entirely on incoming cash. Which means that we have survived and grown entirely off of income from conventions, online orders, and wholesale accounts like ThinkGeek. No debt. No credit cards. No loans. It was important to the business foundation we have built to keep it that way. Crowd funding was the way to do that.
2) Gauging public interest on our product. We knew we thought the nail wraps were the best thing ever, but knowing that there was a definite (and massive) interest is a big deal for a small company like ours. It helps us gauge future projects, designs, and inventory decisions for the next year of conventions and what not.
GGW: What do you hope to grow the Nailed It! line into? (Will you take polls or design requests?) Will it be something you will offer online, or only at conventions & events?
EC: As of now we have already listened to the public about what they want in designs! I just can’t tell you which ones specifically :) The wraps will definitely be online. We have already been successful in having ThinkGeek pick up a lot of the “Nailed It!” designs! And of course there will be the conventions to track us down at. Which is the best idea! This way you can see each design in person!
GGW: How did Espionage decide which designs to do first?
EC: We did what is done for all of our projects. We took an informal poll of what nerd thing our employees, interns, and creative wanted to wear. Then we made each one a thing!
GGW: There has been a recent trend of fashion and cosmetics inspired by pop culture/films (most recently Cover Girl x The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for the Capitol Collection.) Is there the possibility of such an official partnership/event in the future for Espionage? If so, what would the dream partnership be?
EC: We actually have two major ones in the works! And another 3 we have already informally begun the process for! Our dream is obviously to have the discussion about Star Wars licensing as well as LOTR.
GGW: What is the next project for Espionage?
EC: Currently there are 5 other major projects that are in the wings in various states of being ready for the public eye. At this point it is all about figuring out which one to put in the game. I guess I am still making that decision :)
For the Nailed It! Nail Art Kickstarter project, learn more here. The project is already fully funded, but you can still back it. The more stretch goals met, the more designs unlocked.
Full disclaimer: after learning more about Espionage, I personally backed their Nailed It! project on Kickstarter.