Beauty, like our age, doesn’t stand still. So it’s particularly interesting not only to keep a hand on the pulse of the beauty beat, but to meet new players and creatives, who help promote smaller brands that not only bring innovation into the busy marketplace, but often lead the change that large conglomerates then choose to implement. It’s my curious pleasure to introduce you to UNDRGRND Beauty and it’s founders Neil Petrocelli and Ehrin Fitzpatrick.
Born out of years of experience in the beauty industry and a desire to leave corporate life behind, UNDRGRND BEAUTY is an extension of Erin and Neil’s marketing and sales agency Beauty Anthologie and, most importantly, their never-ending love of exceptional beauty products. With that as a common denominator among us, I was eager to learn more about their business, as well as the two creatives working tirelessly behind the scenes.
Undrgrnd Beauty is a place for niche brands to incubate, grow and flourish. One thing that Neil and Ehrin are focussing their efforts is the uncovering the potential of green & natural Down Under (Australian) beauty brands, which are particularly representative of their company’s thoughts about the landscape & terrain from which Australian brands originate.
“Beauty is inexplicably linked to culture, so it’sAs reported on Spotstyle.com
no surprise that the beauty rituals of Aussie women reflect this same down-
to-earth vibe. And now, some of the buzziest new beauty brands come from
Oz. This phenomenon has become prevalent enough that the trend has a
Ehrin and Neil share professional history in beauty – they started working on the corporate side of the easily-recognised brands, which in the last few years evolved into a partnership where they have jointly founded a website – or rather a portal – to present those “undiscovered” brands which stand out as “beauty gems”. There are indeed many creative, industrious and passionate founders creating brands worthy of note, yet you still rarely see them on the pages of glossy magazines or celebrity-led websites. With that in mind Neil and Ehrin wanted to do something cool – both for the brands and consumers of beauty. As a result UNDERGROUND BEAUTY was born.
“We hold ourselves to high standards and are looking for brands which are like-minded. Each brand has an original story, an uncommon ingredient or a passionate mission that sets them apart from all of the others. This is not necessarily mainstream beauty.”EHRIN, co-founder UNDERGRND BEAUTY
But that’s not all that Neil and Ehrin do – their ‘agency sister’ Beauty Anthology helps untapped or new to the US market brands find their path. It literally helps to bridge the gap from the brand’s home to an audience in the U.S. which includes consumers, apothecary proprietors, as well as the behemoth retailers (with Ehrin and Neil providing P&L’s to highlight the many pluses and minuses of that business model).
But back to Undrgrnd Beauty where the team has more than a fondness for Australian Beauty. They believe that Australia is quite unlike any other place when it comes to sourcing beauty brands. That does not mean that they don’t appreciate brands from other markets or their ingredients, but the following quote from Simplysona.com website sumps up their thinking and feeling on the subject quite well: “Focused on natural and clean ingredients, A-beauty is all about healthy, glowing skin….Because Australia has amazing natural resources, so many A-beauty brands simply source their ingredients from Australia’s own backyard. These brands are gaining a lot of attention because of their commitment to clean, pure and organic ingredients.”
It’s easy to be attracted to brands that really embody the natural ethos, and the fact that Australian skincare is often replete with ingredients grown indigenously or exclusively in Australia, authenticates Neil and Ehrin feelings, and makes their jobs much easier – because they seem to live and breath the brands they work with.
“From Kakadu plums to Finger lime and Eucalyptus extract, Australia has some of the most stunning plant life in the world, making it an excellent source for skincare ingredients.”Australian Skin Clinics
When I further questioned Neil about the ‘attraction’ to Australian beauty, he forwarded me another quote from Australian Skin Clinics which neatly sums up and ties up things together: “Australian skincare embodies a laid-back, light-hearted way of life, and an approach to skincare that is no-nonsense, and just a little bit playful. As most of us are too busy to spend 15 minutes on our skincare routines, A-Beauty is the no-fuss approach which wards away unnecessary ingredients and complicated regimes, instead encourages #skinthusiasts to get back to basics with their skincare.” You can see this non-nonsense attitude in the now well-known gut supplements from The Beauty Chef and the smart efficacy of formulations that work for different skin types and ages by Australian brands Mukti and Audra James. Not fussy or complicated routines or products, instead the well-researched and formulated products that make you look and feel if not exactly Australian, then at least helping impart a little bit of Oz’s sunny, laid-back attitude on you. I plan to introduce two such brands, TMF Supernatural Cosmetics and Ipsum, that Neil and Ehrin introduced to me, to you my dear reader in the separate post soon .)
What I also found interesting was that Ehrin and Neil not only work together, but are good friends as well and so are their families. They “left the corporate world together – after many years of working together and sharing many ‘horror stories’ and many more laughs (even as the horrors were happening!)”. Another bonus? Their office is located just above the Irish pub, which I bet can come in handy after the end of heavy-loaded work day – be it for providing a relaxing drink or an Irish sense of humour to sooth the frowning brow.
As I was getting to know the company and some of the brands they represent, it quickly became obvious that Neil and Ehrin seem to work collaboratively, with Ehrin handling much of the creative execution (she creates great video content!) and Neil handling a lot of the nuts and bolts. One day Ehrin may be focussing on developing a social media playbook for a brand, while Neil is working on a distribution P&L. On another they might shift the focus from purchasing and planning straight to distribution and logistics, depending on client’s needs and experience, as well as hands-on or off preference.
When it comes to choosing clients, a couple of things have to ‘ring true’ — Neil and Ehrin have to love what the brand stands for (also a big help is loving the actual product) and then feel a positive vibe with the founder. The spirit of the founder can otten be infectious – and that’s an additional bonus of the relationship. At the moment there are a couple more people on the team – but both Ehrin and Neil like to get to know the brand properly and pride themselves on the fact that either of them can answer any question a founder may have without hesitation.
So there you have it – a team of passionate beauty insiders (translation: junkies), who have spent years searching for new and exciting products and brands. Now they curate an assortment of brands they found on their beauty hunt for the next generation of cult beauty products. With over 40 years of industry experience under their belt and working for some of the most recognized brands and retailers in the past, UNDRGRND BEAUTY is appreciative of that experience because without those stops, they wouldn’t have arrived to their current destination, built on desire to do something on their own – new and different and, well, kind of cool too.
Instytutum: A high-performance, results-driven skincare line that marries the best of Swiss R&D with groundbreaking, anti-aging ingredients.
Kester Black: The coolest nail polish brand that makes even cooler nail color that’s 10-free.
66.30 Pour Homme: An award-winning line made for the modern, urban man who understands the importance of skincare.
NOTO: A gender-fluid, multi-use cosmetics line featuring high-performing natural and organic ingredients.
Ipsum: Certified organic skincare, super-charged with native plant oils. Made in Australia.
L’Odaites: Clean skincare in the French tradition, more than a ritual to enhance beauty, a feast for the senses.
tmf. True. Makeup. Freedom. – artist-driven, clean color cosmetics from Australia.
To learn more about UNDRGRND Beauty, please click here