Interview with Julie Labelle, a newcomer to the eco-responsible beauty market... to follow closely!

After working almost 10 years in the cosmetics industry, Julie Labelle, one of the first beauty youtubers in France, decided to create her own brand of beauty products.

From now on, Julie Labelle, with her eponymous brand, proposes “a clean, eco-responsible and made in France beauty”, with simple products adapted to the everyday make-up routine. 

We spoke with Julie about her brand, her entrepreneurial journey and her upcoming projects.

by Carolina Ortiz Jerez
Could you tell us how Julie Labelle was born?

After working for two brands in the cosmetics industry as “Innovation Project Manager” and “Makeup Unit Manager” for a fashion brand, I decided to stop because I didn’t necessarily agree with all the practices of the cosmetics industry.

At the time, I was becoming more and more interested in what was in the products I was using, and I didn’t necessarily agree with everything I saw. As a result, I really felt a disconnect between my values and what I was doing on a daily basis for companies.

That’s when I said to myself “at some point we’re going to have to connect all this”, and I set out to build a brand with which I am deeply aligned and where the values are my own.

Could you explain to us what is the DNA of your brand?

When I thought about the brand, I really wanted something that would both fit me and my needs, but at the same time, reach out to a lot more people. A brand that could appeal to all women, to our girlfriend, to our sister, etc…

I also wanted a brand that was super practical and adapted to the way we live today, with a simple routine and easy to use products. That’s how I came up with the Julie Labelle brand, based on multi-use products.

Compared to your years as a youtuber, how was this experience useful when it came to creating your cosmetics brand?

Having the community I have today on Instagram was a springboard when I launched, since I had a community that was there to receive the message, the brand, discover the products, etc.

Everything that was brand creation, product development, etc, it was more my professional experience that helped me. 

When I was in charge of make-up innovation, I had a lot of contacts with laboratories and I was able to learn a lot about manufacturing.  Understanding what the laboratories were telling me at the time of the creation of the products, helped me for the launch of the Julie Labelle brand.

What inspires you when you imagine or create a makeup product?

The basic inspiration is a gesture I used to do: use my lipsticks to apply makeup on my cheeks and eyes. Until I was told that lipstick doesn’t go in the eyes and that it wasn’t very safe.

So, I created a multi-use color product that I could apply to lips, eyes or cheeks without any problems.

At that time, I only launched three shades, because product development is very expensive when you do a custom formula.

Your brand Julie Labelle offers "beauty made simple". Why this choice?

Simplicity for many things. Today, there are many people who don’t want to take the trouble. In the morning, things have to be done quickly, we are all in a constant rush every day, we are looking to save time. For me, makeup should not be a constraint, it should bring you a little joy, but it is not supposed to be a very long and restrictive routine. So for me it was very important to focus the brand on simplicity, especially on the number of products.

When you launched your brand, many people noticed that the models were "smiling". Was this a desire on your part?

Absolutely! One of the main things I noticed was that “I didn’t want to have chicks with a smile on their face”. It was written like that in my notebook.

I was also tired, by my experience in the luxury industry, of this hyper cold beauty, in which, I find that we do not recognize ourselves. In any case, I didn’t recognize myself.

The sublime actresses in the posters, they are very beautiful, it is not the question, but I found them very cold, and I found that it lacked truth. I needed to bring back the truth and for me, it was very important to have people who were happy. Because in fact, the make-up, the beauty, are supposed to make us feel good.

I wanted to show that beauty is also the desire to have fun, and therefore, to have chicks who smile.

Do you think that being a woman made you think about the fact that your brand is associated with joy? Because on the visuals of brands that are run by men, the women don't smile.

I think that helps. What you describe is a bit of a woman object that is put forward by communication. Cold women, very beautiful, but frozen like objects. It is perhaps a rather patriarchal vision. As a woman, I want to show that a woman is not only an ad we are used to see.

Julie Labelle proposes "clean" products. Could you explain us this approach ?

From my experience, as I worked with laboratories, I saw what was put in the products. I was more and more interested in the compositions and I realized that the components of the formulas were not safe for our health.  

I found many alternatives for skincare, but for makeup, there was very little offer. I thought there was a big gap.

As I wanted to build a brand with clean formulas, I told the laboratory “here are the 18 main ingredients that I absolutely do not want in my formulas”. This is what is called in cosmetics the “blacklist”, and each brand has its own definition of clean and natural.

We have removed all the chemicals that are harmful to the skin.

For me, the only ingredients that are not natural are the pigments, for a simple reason. Some pigments, especially the red one, comes from the cochineal, which is a small insect, and the manufacturing methods of this pigment, are not too ethical, which does not make it at all vegan.

So, I preferred to compromise by having just synthetic in the pigments, so that they are safe and as ethical as possible. Moreover, they allow to have these bright colors that you can’t find in traditional brands.

To finance your production, several brands are now using pre-order. Why did you lean towards this model and not towards crowdfunding, for example?

When I started, I financed the project for the most part. I put all my money and all my savings into funding the development. When you create a brand from scratch, there are investments that happen very early in the development process.

Two years ago, I started building the brand. And I already had to get money out to pay for developments. So I couldn’t wait for a crowdfunding to bring money into the company. 

The pre-order allowed me to pay for the rest of the production and future developments that are coming at Christmas.

What are your short term projects?

There are quite a few projects planned. This end of the year is all about the gift. It’s a product that I love to give for Christmas and that I love to receive.

Next year, there will be new shades of “La touche” and at least one product per quarter.

Where can we buy your products ?

On my website: