Brand Crush: Beauty Pie

Perhaps it's me paying penance for my SPF-shirking youth or the fact that my crows feet are coming in hot and no price seems too great to restore my formative glow, but I've become a card-carrying member of beauty addicts anonymous. 

Thankfully, Marcia Kilgore, founder of Bliss spas and the retro-kitsch Soap & Glory bath and beauty line, has come to my rescue. If not curing my "habit," she's making it considerably less expensive with her latest venture: Beauty Pie.

I've had my eye on this ambitious brand since it launched in late 2016. Borrowing from the best of the Everlane, Netflix, and Warby Parker business models, this direct-to-consumer beauty company is combining pricing transparency with a subscription model to change the game for beauty buyers in the UK and US, and soon other markets.

It works by offering high-end beauty products, developed at the leading labs and factories in the world, at cost to its members. So a lipstick that would normally retail for $25 is just $2.38 plus the price of a $10 membership.  Membership grants you access to up to $100 of regular retail priced merchandise each month, so four of those lipsticks for example.

Mission Statement

What I love about this brand is that they understand that if you're going to disrupt an industry, you've got to come out of the gate with a crystal clear message. Words that help consumers instantly get what you do. What do you think of these taglines and headers?

Beauty Pie Messaging

"Makeup Without The Markup"

"Like A Buyer's Club For Beauty Addicts"

"Like A Backstage Pass Into The World's Leading Cosmetics Labs"

"Luxury Lipstick For Less Than A Latte"


I think they've nailed their message and made a potentially confusing business model super relatable to their core audience.

To boot, they've used their copy to cleverly distinguish themselves from the beauty samples subscription box companies they could easily get confused for.  

A+ for positioning.

Do you need a clear message so others can finally get your break-through idea?

The Articulation Intensive might be for you. Let's chat through the details of my brand messaging engagement for business visionaries.   

Meet the Visionary: Rosalie Audoin of Dielle UK

Stark & Splendor exists to help visionaries materialize their big ideas. An awesome by-product of this work is that I get to meet, work with, and learn from some ridiculously savvy professionals who are about making meaning in this world. Far be it from me to keep all of this inspiration to myself! I thought it would be cool to introduce you to some of these world changers in this new Q & A series, Meet the Visionary.  

Meet the Visionary- Rosalie

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to visionary Rosalie Audoin, the founder and CEO of London-based beauty company Dielle UK.

A recent Articulation Intensive client, Ros completely blew me away with her passion for revolutionizing the beauty industry with her message of "essentialist beauty." In this interview she talks about what that means to her, and shares about her path to creative entrepreneurship.

Meet Ros...

Rosalie Audoin

Rosalie Audoin

Welcome to The Ampersand, Ros! Let's take it back to your childhood. As a girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ever since I can remember I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was 8 I lived in Puerto Rico and there was a big mango tree in my parents' backyard. Every summer the mangos would fall to the ground. I would pick the nice looking ones and take them around to my neighbours in a little basket [and sell them] for 10 cents each. Then I'd gather my friends and go to Don Mario's sweet shop, which was around the corner, and we'd have a feast!

I used to dream of being a real business woman from a very young age. My mom, who's always been my ultimate cheerleader, bought me a huge calculator once and it was definitely one of the favourite gifts I received as a child because I thought "every business women needs a calculator."

I also wanted to be a teacher because I love to share knowledge and encouragement. I lived in Haiti for a few years and saw there that education and insight literally change people's lives.

What led you to start Dielle?

A massive change in life! After having my son I went back to work when he was 6 months old, and the year that followed proved to be very difficult for me. I constantly felt torn about leaving him with nannies. Managing my very busy schedule was a real struggle. My husband travelled a lot as well, and when I had evening functions I sometimes didn't see my son for days.

One day I decided to make some changes which would make my season with a small child more effective. It was a tough decision but I quit my job (and I'm so thankful that I could do that) to start something new whilst working from home. My background was in finance and in the charity sector, but I loved the beauty industry and dreamed of creating a brand that could inspire and reshape some beliefs spread in this sector that [I believe] are damaging to women's souls. So I started Dielle and it's been the best journey I've ever embarked on.


How did you overcome the fear that comes with having your own business?

I haven't overcome that fear yet! Ha! I just do it anyway. It's a constant theme that I need to address. I was surprised to find out as I spoke to other entrepreneurs that's it's totally normal and most entrepreneurs experience fear in one way or another. Stepping into the unknown, putting yourself out there, making mistakes while the world is watching -- you don't always get to rehearse and correct your mistakes before the "show."


What's been the most challenging part of establishing a beauty brand?

Dielle was made of many pieces that, unlike a puzzle, did not really fit together easily. Initially, there was a lack of cohesiveness between different aspects of the business. The message of the brand, which is what makes Dielle unique, lacked clarity. I just couldn't seem to express it in a way that made sense. In my head it was clear but it wasn't communicated clearly to my customers.

Product Shot

Your new brand tagline is "Essentialist Beauty." What does this mean to you?

Essentialist beauty means: find out what is essential

to you

, what works for you, what matters to you and stick to it and make it work for you. I means don't follow every trend. Stop comparing yourself! Practically: do you know what nail colours suit you best? Do you know what shades and textures work with your lifestyle? Narrow in on them  and rock them! You don't need 50 or one in every colour! Be happy with the 3 that bring out your beauty, make your complexion pop, and enhance your everyday life. At Dielle we emphasize 

quality over quantity, and meaning over matter

. We are not driven by trends and consumerism, but instead we want to remind women to pursue meaning and authenticity in their lives.

Sweet Virtue

Sweet Virtue

What's your vision for the beauty industry and the impact Dielle will have on women's lives?

I want Dielle to be a brand that opens women's eyes and really helps them see themselves as the beauties that they truly are. I want women to know that their lives matter and that beauty products only exist to enhance what they already have! I dream of seeing a movement of women who stand confidently, focused on things that really matter instead of being distracted by illusive beauty ideals or by the undisciplined pursuit of more or "better."

Dielle Woman

You recently went through the Articulation Intensive. How did it impact the way you are building Dielle? Did you learn anything about yourself through the experience?

This was such as turning point for us as a brand. You have a very special gift: the capacity to create cohesion and coherence. You were able to grasp what I was trying to say and make it plain with exceptional clarity. The program forced me to take some time to think and really create a visual representation of what the brand is meant to look like. I hadn't done that since the pre-start up phase and I realised that the business today, was not at all what it was before we launched. That's a good thing, but we needed to articulate what Dielle has become and where we are heading. I also learned that I can no longer hide behind the brand, which I still find challenging but I'm slowly learning that it's the only way to build Dielle with authenticity and integrity. The program taught me that people buy from people -- not just a company with a logo and a product.

Thank you, Ros! I'm elated that you can say those things about our work together! What's inspiring you creatively right now?

I'm currently working on the calendar for next year and I am particularly excited about creating more ways to spread the Dielle message through our products, services and events!

Dielle Line Up

What's a piece of advice you would give to other visionary women starting out in the beauty industry?

There is a seat at the table for you, take your place and confidently bring to the table what only you can bring!

Trust Me You're Lovely

Last question! Fill in the blanks. Your favorite Dielle polish colors for when you are feeling...

Beautiful:Modern Goddess

Content:Secret Mercy

Powerful:Unyielding Courage 

Dielle Product Shot

Thank you Ros! And thank YOU for reading. To find out more about Ros' essentialist beauty philosophy and her stellar line of creamy, dreamy nail polish essentials, visit or follow along on Instagram @dielleuk.

The Thing About Originality...

A couple of weeks ago I was doing my normal morning blog perusal when I came across a post that caught my eye. Penned by a team of branding entrepreneurs, the blog was aboutthe importance of originality. The writers shared about a recent experience they had with a copycat competitor. They used the incident to reprioritize originality in their business and share this wisdom with their community. I totally get it. It is super annoying to place creative energy into something only to have someone else ride on your coattails. But, just the same, something about the post irked me.

Here’s my 15-second rant:

We live in an age where the adage “there is nothing new under the sun” rings more true than ever. With a quick search of The Google we can know exactly what our competitors are up to, down to how much they make, who they buy from [and at what prices], and details of their so-called “proprietary” processes.

The Thing About Originality...

Here’s my current take on originality:

It’s cool, but it’s fleeting. You can’t stop investing in R + D, and developing unique offerings, but you also can’t hang your hat on these things either. The barriers to entry, particularly in knowledge-based businesses, are just too low these days. You’ll have your 15 minutes, and then you’ll be back to the drawing board.

So what’s the alternative?

I don’t have definitive answers, but I've recently been very taken by the concept of authenticity.

Authenticity happens when you realize that what's most useful to the people you serve is your truth.

C.S. Lewis Originality Quote

There is exactly one person in the world who holds  the precise mix of know-how, creativity, experience, humor, insight, and worldview that you have. Your authentic self is inherently original! No one can rip you off and do you justice. They can duplicate your products and services, but they can never duplicate you and what you bring to bear on your creation.

So how do we do it? How do we write, design, sell and build our brands authentically? Here are three practices I’ve been implementing recently:

3 Simple Practices for Creating Authentically

1. Filter, filter, filter!

I'm a fact-finder by nature. Before I take action, I research and read until I am sure I want to go in a particular direction. When it comes to my own business, I read voraciously. It's helpful to be keyed-in to what is going on in the branding and content worlds, but the downside is that I often grapple with immense information overwhelm.

It's hard to create authentically when you're deluged with other people's ideas.

To combat this, some of us need to go Marie Kondo on our social feeds!

I'm becoming a ruthless tidying-er when it comes to thethings I allow into my inbox or blog reader. The content that I value brings me joy and inspiration rather than "10 sure-fire ways to make a million bucks this month." Catch my drift?

When I do read something of someone else's that inspires me or helps to further an idea that I've been noodling, I jot down quotes and paraphrases and always attribute the source accordingly because authenticity and plagiarism aren't friends.

2. Ask Reflective Questions.

When I sit down to write my own material, I almost always start by asking myself a series of questions. Here are the ones that led to what I'm sharing today:

  • What's annoying me?
  • What have I learned recently that can help my followers?
  • How can they implement it?

You'll notice these are not earth-shattering questions, but they do help to uncover creative ideas that stem from my actual life and business as opposed to the make-believe life I can end up living vicariously if I'm not careful.

When you sit down to create, try the discipline of looking inward first before you look out to what the competition and market is doing. You can always adapt your authentic ideas, but it is hard to come up with them when you're taking your cues from other people's journeys.

3. Create for Exactly One Person.

This is a fun one. I recently watched an interview with the writer Elizabeth Gilbert [of Eat, Pray, Love fame] where she talks about her number one trick for writing [starts at minute 10.30]. It's simple but so profound: know who you are writing to.

The idea is to choose a person, not a demographic, archetype, or NRS social grade, -- someone you actually know who is representative of your target audience -- and create as if your product was going to be used by only them.

Gilbert's novel, The Signature of All Things, was written to her elementary school teacher, Miss Carpenter. Whenever Gilbert had to make a decision about what went in the book she would ask herself, "does Sandy Carpenter care about this?"

I think this is such a powerful exercise for cultivating creative authenticity no matter what you do! Whether you are blogging, sketching, or engineering, it is difficult to be inauthentic when you are creating for someone you actually know -- someone with real needs, hopes, curiosities, and annoyances. I've found that creating for someone [as opposed to a generic group of people] is a great filtering mechanism for my best ideas and lends a human quality to the the final product. Win-win.

So that's it! These are the habits I've been adopting recently to help me shoot for authenticity rather than stress about being original. Do you feel me on any of these? Undoubtedly, it's important to stand out from the crowd in business, but in the end, I believe that the best way to connect with our customers is by creating from who we actually are.


Today's post was adapted from the October Starknotes email, the monthly missives where I get a little bit deeper about the highs and lows of life from the creative entrepreneurship front.