Chatting Business & Beauty With The Founder Of Winky Lux, The Most Fun, Joyful Brand Out There

by Christie Grimm · March 24, 2021

    Has there ever been a beauty brand as amazingly extra as Winky Lux?

    Seriously, the cult-favorite luxury company bent on making happier, healthier products has everything from blush formed into the shape of a rose and clear lip balms with real chrysanthemums inside to a cleanser with floating glycerin flower petals, a face and body shimmer stick and more!

    Since launching five years ago, Winky Lux has been disrupting the beauty world with its ever-expanding range of vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly goodies. Over 3,000 retail partners and 400,000 social media followers later, founder and CEO Natalie Mackey's mission to spark joy with her customers is reaching new heights of success.

    Curious to know what's been her greatest struggle building the company, or what her biggest beauty pet peeves are? Check out our interview with the boss babe below!

    How did you come up with the idea to start Winky Lux?
    I wanted a cleaner beauty brand that didn’t look like it came from Whole Foods. Everything in the market took itself so seriously. I felt there was room for a more playful point of view. 

    How would you describe the brand's ethos? 
    Joy. Everything we do, from packaging, ingredients, natural fragrances, boxes and messaging all has to go through the same purpose filter of “does it create joy for the customer?” 

    What were your greatest struggles building the company?
    Building processes for scaling. Also, it’s not new news, but female founded companies still only receive about 2% of venture funding. It means that I’m required to work a little harder and be a little more tenacious than my male counterparts when it comes to fundraising. 

    What were your greatest successes?
    Learning to recruit, hire and retain really great talent and choosing great partners. 

    Which Winky Lux products are you never without?
    Dream Gelee Moisturizer, Peeper Perfect Under-Eye Concealer, So Extra Mascara and Uni-Brow Eyebrow Pencil. I have that set of four in every bag I own. 

    Biggest beauty pet peeves?
    Fear mongering. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a brand that’s trying to make (insert random ingredient) the new dangerous thing, even some ingredients with years of safety data, all for the sake of selling products. I also think beauty is such a personal thing. For instance you can’t say something like retinol is bad because one Youtuber hates it. It’s great for some people and too harsh for others. Skin types are as unique and varied as humans themselves. 

    What's your personal skincare mantra?
    Be consistently consistent and always wash your face before bed. 

    What's your biggest piece of advice for an aspiring entrepreneur?
    Find a great entrepreneur network and create reciprocal relationships. I couldn’t do what I do without a crew of boss babes to lean on. 

    How has the beauty industry changed these past five years?
    The barrier of entry has gone down which has created a lot of noise but also a lot of democratization. Because of that, categories that were once considered niche are finally being addressed and everyone can find something for their unique skin, hair and makeup needs. In that way it’s the golden age of beauty. 

    Are you just constantly testing fun new products?
    Yes. My cabinet is full of prototypes. I’m a great first pass at a formula because my skin is super sensitive. It has to pass the Natalie pansy skin test before we can move forward. 

    How did you come up with the idea for your Flower Balm?
    The flower inside a balm was already popular in Asia (particularly Korea) and we engineered a version with cleaner ingredients and our unique packaging. I didn’t expect that it would become such a viral hit but I’m so glad it did. 

    When it comes to glitter, is less more or is more never enough?
    Ohhhh I can’t wait to wear (ocean safe) glitter again! When COVID is over I think “more will be more” as we all rediscover our most glamorous selves. 

    What's one makeup trick everyone should master?
    Brows. Just a little grooming goes a long way. 

    What are you most excited for next?
    Blue light protectors, shimmery metallic eye shadows and summer in general.