Behind the scenes of Espionage Cosmetics’ eyeshadow palettes with CEO Jaimie Cordero
By Lisa Granshaw
Espionage Cosmetics is well-known as a destination for those in need of geek cosmetics. Over the years, the company has offered a wide-range of nail wraps and loose powders that could be used as eye shadow, all of which were inspired by a variety of nerdy areas. Those classic loose powders recently disappeared though, with pressed palettes rising in their place. The palettes have been a long time coming, according to CEO Jaimie Cordero.
"From the inception of Espionage, I've always wanted to do pressed powders because they travel better, they pack lighter, [and] it's what the market and customers are most familiar with because that's what's most prevalent in the market. It would be easier to sell," she told GeekFold. "Then all of a sudden we became so known for our nail wraps."
As their nerdy nail wraps grew in popularity, Cordero kept working behind the scenes to refine the formula for these pressed powders. That process alone took her 18 months. Cordero said once they had the formula down it was smooth sailing from there and they just had to figure out the best way to present the product to the rest of the world. The presentation of these palettes, which include four colors and a makeup brush, continue a tradition at Espionage that Cordero is quite proud of. She sees the small, straightforward palette design as another way they've taken the intimidation factor out of cosmetics for nerd girls like her who didn't grow up with makeup on their to-do lists.
"Instead we were playing video games or we were in chess club or math club or watching Star Wars or a million other things that were more important to us when we were younger," she said. "I kind of feel like somebody made a rule that the rest of us just kind of complied with that if you didn't get into it then, it's not going to be a thing for the rest of your life. Then we have that weird thing where you can be nerdy or you can be girlie and like cosmetics. Espionage is a really awesome place because it's a place where none of that exists. Makeup is a fun thing."
To Cordero, makeup isn't something you have to execute flawlessly to participate in.
"We encourage everyone at every skill level because there's so many things that it does for artistic brains, for our community, and that it can do for cosplayers and do for self-esteem," she explained.
The two palettes currently available for preorder on Espionage's website are the Colovanria collection and RPG collection. Colovaria is quite magical with shades like Alohomora, Obliviate, Ferum, and Lacarnum Inflamari while the RPG palette will prepare you for any encounter with colors like LoS (line of sight), AoE (area of effect), XP (experience points), and DPS (damage per second). The range of colors look like a great match for the palettes' geeky themes.
The RPG collection was actually the first palette theme Espionage decided on since so many of them are Warcraft and RPG fans, including Cordero who met many of the most important people in her life this way.
"I met my husband in World of Warcraft. The biggest and best things in my life in the past 10 years came out of an RPG," she said.
When Espionage came up with the names of the colors in the RPG palette, Cordero said they wanted them to translate not just if you played Warcraft, but also if you played Dungeons & Dragons or League of Legends or are a fan of Critical Role. The fun of these palettes doesn't end with the colors and names either. Cordero said there are easter eggs in the packaging and labeling too. This is also just the start of palettes Espionage plans to make. They already have six more themes for palettes queued up.
Palettes aren't the only change to occur at Espionage this year. Their nail wraps also received a makeover to fulfill what Cordero said has been the number one request they've received from customers: smaller sizes. Now their wraps come in sets of 22 with a wider range of sizes. Each set also comes with a nail file.
"The fact that we get to offer so much more and keep it at the same price point was a lot of doing that our team really hustled over and really thought about and focused on and we managed to do it," she said.
In addition to what customers see change about the nail wraps, things have also improved in areas they don't see like production, which has become more streamlined.
It's all part of the company's journey to connect fellow nerds like them. Cordero sees the impact of their geek cosmetics as a way for nerdy customers to bond with each other and even find new friends. Cosmetics may be a small part of someone's body and not as obvious as a Star Wars logo tee, but the nail wrap designs for example can still catch the eye of someone who doesn't recognize the geeky theme as well as someone who does.
Espionage's palettes are certainly an exciting new evolution for geek cosmetics. Many indie companies have stuck with loose powders for their eyeshadow over the years, which makes the arrival of these palettes and the promise of more a game changer in the industry. Loose powders are fun and useful, but can also be messy and potentially difficult to use for anyone not used to them. The small palettes on the other hand are familiar to more people and easier to carry as well as use on the go whether you're at a convention or heading to work. The palettes open up a whole new world for geeks embracing cosmetics and perhaps it should be no surprise to see Espionage leading the way.
The Colovaria and RPG collections are currently available for preorder on Espionage's website and cost $35. They are expected to ship Sept. 5.
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