AB: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
TF: I was born in Toronto, Canada where I was also raised, and have spent most of my life. But more recently, I’ve been traveling all over the world to launch Nudestix which has been a lot of fun.
AB: What was growing up like for you?
TF: I’m very blessed that I have always had such a supportive family - including my parents, and my little sister (who’s actually a co-founder of Nudestix), but is currently away in Ireland studying medicine. I also have 2 older brothers, one who’s part of our business, and the other who’s doing his own thing at the moment.
AB: So it’s pretty much a family owned and run business at the moment?
TF: Yup, we’re still an indie brand, and are so lucky to be able to do it together. My mom is actually a big part of the business too. Starting up a beauty brand is very expensive, so fortunately we’ve managed to take on some friendly investments from our close circle of family and friends to kickstart the brand.
AB: Childhood dreams and heroes?
TF: Oooh, that’s a tough one, but I would have to say that my mom truly is my childhood hero, even to this day. She’s tough, but also the greatest mentor who has taught me everything I know. She actually happens to be a chemical engineer by trade who has had a career in the beauty industry spanning over 20 years; having worked for giants like MAC and Cover FX. Because of her understanding of the inner-workings on how to create good quality products and formulas, we’ve benefited greatly from her expertise. She’s allowed us to share our voice, and we’ve been so lucky to have her help us steer the Nudestix ship in the direction we’ve wanted.
As for childhood dreams, I never really knew what I wanted to do. I always struggled with traditional classes and paths like Math and Science at school, but found myself to be more creatively driven which I wish had been nurtured more. You know they don’t really rear you to become the CEO of a beauty company at school. A lot of times you grow up around so many kids, and young adults who have a strong sense of direction, and I guess I lacked that, but it allowed me to explore myself deeper, and that’s when I stumbled upon beauty and realized that it was my calling.
AB: You’re right, traditional academia as we know it isn’t able to guide students as well when it comes to their more creative or entrepreneurial leanings.
AB: Who are your earliest beauty influencers?
TF: I would have to say even before we launched Nudestix I always loved Cara Delevingne because of how raw, open and honest she’s always been. That’s always refreshing to find in an industry that is consumed by show, and this culture of peacocking. Apart from being a triple threat (model, socialite, and actress), Cara has this allure that taps into my beauty sensibilities through her constant ability of simply being herself. She refused to change for the industry, and I admire that… It’s the type of woman we love here at Nudestix because we refuse to adhere to a mold. Beauty can be anything, for anyone, and our brand drives to achieve that level of democracy.
AB: Were you exposed to beauty and makeup very early on in your life?
TF: Yes! My mom has been in the industry for over 2 decades, so we got a glimpse into her world and career from very early on. She would bring product home, and my sister and I would play around with it and have fun. We were actually absorbing a lot too through her work, so perhaps it planted a seed in the back of our minds somewhere.
My mother obviously wore makeup so that’s something we witnessed growing up. She literally developed Cover FX in our basement, so to be in such close proximity of that only made sense that we’re doing what we’re doing today. It was serendipitous!
AB: You’re so lucky in a way. You had the expert in your home when you set out to launch Nudestix!
TF: YES! We knew what we wanted and the type of brand we wanted to create, and luckily my mom was there through it all to make it happen with the products and formulas, etc. The look and feel of makeup on a face is so important. We wanted that effortless, barely there approach to Nudestix. One thing to note about building a brand is while it is crucial to know what you want, it is equally important to know what you DON’T want because both aspects help guide you to the end target.
AB: As a girl who literally owns under 10 makeup products, I’m not someone you would ever go to for makeup advice. But that’s not to say I don’t want to look good or put together. What drew me to Nudestix is that you don’t need to be an expert to wear these products. It’s for the everyday girl like me whose willing to put in a couple minutes of effort but look GREAT.
TF: That’s exactly why we’re creating what we are! Nudestix is for women like YOU!
AB: When was the moment you decided you wanted to start something of your own via a beauty brand?
TF: So it was 2013 when we started having these private discussions on this whole notion of “less is more” in beauty and how we felt there wasn’t a brand that was tapping into that. We’ve only recently started to hear about the “no makeup, makeup” look which is something we were internally discussing before it rose to fame. Brands have always been about editorial looks and really packing a punch via makeup, and so we saw a niche and carved it out. I wanted to get into that. We were inspired by the career woman, the mom, the student… girls on the subway putting their face on in a few minutes. The story started to write itself.
AB: How was creating Nudestix different for your mom?
TF: She definitely had to go back to the drawing board because the world that she previously came from was all about high coverage, high-intensity, editorial makeup. We were going in a different direction with very sheer, easy, medium-coverage formulas. It was a shift for her in the sense that her whole approach to beauty in talking to her two daughters changed to much. We were adamant on creating something that wasn’t out there a few years ago.
AB: What are some of your favorite products? If someone is about to start their journey with Nudestix, what would you recommend they go for first?
TF: I would have to say our “Nudies” both mattes and glows are such a great foundational product to have. They work for eyes, cheeks and lips and are great for on the go color and glow. The formulation is a Korean based gel technology that’s so easy to put on the skin. It goes on like a cream, sets down like a powder, and acts like a stain so it’s very effective.
I also love our blur sticks which are a very natural finish, sheer to medium coverage concealer and foundation sticks. They’re so easy to put on and feel like nothing.
AB: Who are some cool celebs that have endorsed you guys, and wear Nudestix?
TF: We’re so thrilled that Emily Ratajkowski loves to wear our products. She embodies the brand so well. Another proud endorser of Nudestix is celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips who’s used our stuff on Chrissy Teigen, Olivia Munn, Ariana Grande, and Hailee Steinfeld.
AB: What are a couple products you can’t leave without?
TF: My Nudies Matte stick in the shade “In the Nude” and my Nudies Glow stick in the shade “Hey Honey”. They are my favorite products and I shamelessly promote them because of how yummy they make your skin look! I also LOVE our Magnetic Matte lip color in the shade “Rose” for that soft blush stain that looks so pretty on the lips.
AB: What has been your proudest Nudestix moment?
TF: Apart from getting the brand off the ground, launching our "Nudies" was a big milestone for us because of versatile the product is. I always wanted to create something like that, so when we did, it was huge!
AB: How are your formulas different from rivaling brands?
TF: We’re a paraben-free, cruelty-free, eco-friendly brand who’s entire product line comes in stick form so it’s easy to transport and work with. All our products and formulas are made in Korea, Italy, and Germany. By the end of the year, we’ll have 100% vegan products too.
AB: Walk us through your typical day.
TF: When you’re launching your own business, a typical day simply doesn’t exist. Each day is new, presenting its own challenges and wins. We travel a lot as a brand because we’re constantly launching in new markets, and doing press and media. When I am away from home, we typically do a lot of store visits, run workshops and tutorials, meet the sales teams globally and try to engage as much as we can.
When I am home, I’m at the office all the time. I try to be as front and center as possible with our brand by getting involved in everything from formula, production, to packaging, then of course content creation and marketing for our products. We’re a small team, so everyone is wearing multiple hats.
TF: I’m a product hoarder! It’s insane.
AB: Pet peeves?
TF: I hate seeing someone with poorly put on makeup (i.e. contour not blended in well, etc). It drives me crazy. I guess that’s a given all things considered. I also hate when people walk really slow. Oh, and incompetence is another big pet peeve of mine.
AB: What's some of the best advice anyone ever gave you?
TF: It's clichéd, but my mom always harps on the fact that it's not about the destination, it's more about the journey we take to get there. Launching our brand has been a huge adventure and learning process, but we're so proud of what we have accomplished. When you're young, you're always worried about what's next. We're so busy rushing through life that we stop to savor every moment that we experience to get us to where we need/ want to be.
AB: Tell us a fun fact about you no one knows.
TF: I was a huge tomboy growing up. I loved wearing sportswear, and just lounging around. Somehow it all changed one day and I morphed into a girly girl!
Nudestix is now available in Dubai exclusively at Sephora Middle East.