Valencia Street just got a little bit prettier with the addition of The Balm Cosmetics' flagship store. The Balm's founder Marissa Shipman launched her unique line in 2004 with a focus on paraben and cruelty-free products. Now– thanks in part to her clever packaging and overall message of women empowerment – theBalm products are sold worldwide in nearly 60 countries to date.
The colorful boutique debuted on January 23, 2014 with a grand opening celebration that included fabulous offerings such as “Quiet on the Set,” a complimentary makeup application complete with a recorded take-home video tutorial – the first service of its kind to be used in-store in the cosmetics industry.
Marissa Shipman graciously chatted with us about her San Francisco roots and how her passion made her success happen.
Out of all the flagship cities you could have chosen, why did you choose San Francisco?
We are a San Francisco company. This is where we got our start, and although we retail in over 60 countries worldwide, we felt that it only made sense to have our first brick and mortar flagship in our own backyard.
Who is your target customer?
We create with practicality and multi-use in mind - we make fun, high-quality products that are easy to use, so you can feel glamorous in a short amount of time. Whether you're a student, a 9 to 5 warrior, a mom, or a makeup guru, our line offers something to everyone.
What inspired you to create a line that was paraben free?
theBalm has always made a commitment to use ingredients that are beneficial to our customers. In light of recent research findings, we felt that formulating without parabens was a necessary step.
What advice would you give to someone in the Bay Area who wants to open up their own cosmetic line?
If you're really passionate about starting your own line, develop a plan, think long term, and know that like with any other type of risk, success does not come overnight. Don't jump on the latest trends just because they're hot right now - be confident in what makes your brand unique. I began this endeavor by mixing lip balms in my own kitchen ten years ago, and had little to no idea that we would get to where we are today.
Mary Sanchez (@makeupregistry) has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years. When she’s not writing for 7x7, she’s making faces beautiful as a bridal makeup artist.