the people behind the brand – alison raffaele cosmetics

14/07/2012 § Deja un comentario

We discovered alison raffaele while visiting the US. Can’t remember what caught our eye, perhaps a shop assistant invivted us to try it out, but we sure remember how pleasantly surprised we were with the way Reality Base felt on the skin. After that, we discovered true concealer and the incredible primers. It wasn’t until this year that we’ve tried the illuminizer – after all, it’s a new addition to the alison raffaele family. We liked what we tried very much and knew, straight away, we wanted deCULTO to have it.

Of course, it helped to learn that Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman and Kristen Davies were fans of the brand but what we found really enticing is that Alison Raffaele, the woman behind the brand, had trained under Bobbi Brown!

Here we catch up with her and talk about Bobbi Brown, small independent brands, products she’s working on and food – among a few other things!

Name Alison Raffaele

Why did you choose to give the brand your name?  Because the brand is a reflection of my own personal insights about beauty.

What prompted you to start your own line?  My own dark circles.  Searched the globe for a product that would hide them yet still look natural…FOR 20 YEARS!  I knew exactly what I needed, so eventually I just decided to make it myself.

Did you have a plan B when you started your line?  No.  Never did and never will.  ARC is fueled 100% by my pure passion, and to do anything else just wouldn’t be me!

What was it like to work under Bobbi Brown and how much of her philosophy and method has been passed onto your own cosmetic brand?

As a young makeup artist coming onto the NYC scene in the early 90’s, becoming Bobbi Brown’s Head Assistant was a dream come true.   Looking back now, I am so grateful for her generosity and wisdom, as somehow Bobbi always found a way to point me in the right direction while still allowing me to find my own way.   What I learned during those three years with Bobbi at the beginning of my career is impossible to measure, for not only did she teach me everything she knew, she BELIEVED in my talent—and that, in turn, gave me the confidence to believe in myself.  So my techniques and philosophies are based upon what I learned from Bobbi, yet at the same time, wholly my own.

Where would you like to be in ten years’ time?  Somewhere healthy, happy and successful with my husband, daughter and friends by my side.

What product are you most proud of and why?  All of them, really!  But True Concealer is the one that holds the most special place in my heart because it was my first.

What product are you currently working on?  A new version of my Inner Glow blush (from my original line) that can be used on both cheeks and lips, and a bronzer.

Is the beauty industry a woman’s world?  Oh, yes!  It is one of the few places in this Universe where men don’t question our expertise.

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting your own brand?  That I am smart enough and talented enough, damnit!  For some reason, we are conditioned as women to believe that we cannot do things by ourselves – that we always need help – and not taught to dig deep within ourselves to find our inner strength and expand our personal limits.  It took a lot of work for me to turn off those voices in my head and believe in myself – but I did!

What do smaller, independent brands need to do in order to survive in a world dominated by power groups such as Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, P&G…?  Find great retail opportunities and venues like where we can showcase our talents and products.  We also need to work together, be very, very clever, and find investors that will support us as people, not just commodities.

Why do you think people should buy smaller, independent brands?  Because in order to survive, our quality just has to be that much better!  And because there are not so many “cooks in the kitchen”, the end product that is produced is generally the result of one great creative vision — not some water-downed compromise that was made to please everyone involved’s egos.

Favourite food?  Cannoli filling (I have a massive sweet tooth!) behind the brand: alison raffaele

Favourite book?  Oh dear, I have lots! Fiction: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flag (the movie doesn’t even come close!) Business: Why We Buy by Paco Underhill Biography: The Power Broker by Robert Caro Pregnancy/Children: The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Favourite piece of clothing? My high-waisted “Ginger” jeans by Seven for All Mankind – because  I can dress them up or down and my butt always looks AMAZING in them!

Most admired brand outside of beauty and why? 

Apple – clarity of vision, uniqueness in design, ease of use.

Target (American mass retailer) – excellence in brand positioning and bringing style/design to the masses.

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (American Grocery stores) For championing healthy lifestyles and a love of good, nutritious food in a beautiful and fun way.


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