Can you judge a book by its cover? Usually not – a lesson learned in 4th grade, when I declared Anne of Green Gables
“boring” before reading it and learning, there’s nothing dull about getting your best friend drunk, then falling from a roof.
But if a bad dust jacket doesn’t tell you anything, a quick survey might – is everyone in your office / coffeehouse / subway reading the same thing? Because maybe that’s a hint.
Such was the case with Lessons of a Lipstick Queen
, a DIY book from Poppy King on how to start your own business. The book was everywhere, and with good reason –it explores how to hang on to your creativity and still make a ton of money.
Okay, maybe it’s not that simple – so we grabbed Poppy herself, the former creative director of Poppy Cosmetics and Prescriptives, and the current president of Lipstick Queen Industries, to explain.You started your own makeup company when you were eighteen – but it was in Sydney, Australia. Do you have to be in a big city to start a big business?
Your location does matter, but sometimes in a smaller city, people are willing to take you more seriously, and give you a chance. I mean, it takes a lot to get noticed in New York. Big cities matter when you’re trying to grow something, but you should begin things in smaller cities, especially now with the Internet. But when you started, there was no Internet. Was that good or bad?
The Net would have made research easier, but it would have terrified the hell out of me, because it makes you see how much competition there is. And when you’re trying to pursue a creative idea, you have to cut out what everyone else is doing so you can listen to your gut instinct. Don’t go to the Internet for your vision; go for your information.So NYLON is a little obsessed with Australia…
That’s post-Cate Blachett and Gemma Ward. When I was around, darling, it was Paul Hogan! But now there are great designers there, right?
There are amazing Aussie and New Zealand designers. But let’s face it, Australia doesn’t do couture. What Australia does that’s fantastic is real, downtown, cool fashion. Elizabeth Charles is all Australian designers. And one of my favorite places is Lyell, did you know Emma Fletcher, their designer, is Australian? Her idea of glamour is so uniquely Australian, there’s no glitz on it; it’s pared back. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?
“It can’t be done because it hasn’t been done before.” And the second worse piece is, “You need to wear eye makeup.” That takes me from looking female to looking like a female impersonator!Beauty advice time: Can you tell us how to wear black lipstick?
We have a new shade coming out called Black Tie Optional, it’s a sheer black lipstick and a sheer black gloss. I want it to be like, fishnet stockings but on your lips. And I love black over pink, like all of a sudden, you just turn it rock n roll; it looks like your lips are bruised… I’ve really been into Man Ray and Louise Bourgeois, that spider, that sexual gothic feeling.Why have you been so successful?
Because for me, the fear of not knowing and not going to see what happens will overkill the fear of failure. I’m a curiosity-killed-the-cat kind of person.