Find out how a cosmetic start-up brand from Poland, Soirée Cosmetics, are competing with the likes of Kylie Jenner makeup!

Back in May, on a rainy day in South Kensington, we caught up with the founder of Soirée Cosmetics and talked all about Lips. Lucky us! Check out the full interview below as we take a deeper take as to why the cosmetic world should be afraid!

You’ve been flying around from Poland to Germany, England and even New York. Has it been all work and no pleasure with the recent start up? 

I’ve always been a person who’s enjoyed travelling and I always knew that I wanted that (extensive travels) to be part of my profession, so I guess I’m lucky to say that most of these trips lately have been business-related. However, I didn’t think it would be like that at all, not at this stage where Soirée is in the start-up phase and I’m somewhere in between of graduating high school graduate and partially-enrolling as a university student! (PINCH MYSELF)

We’re based in Poland, where 100% of our production takes place, Germany is where I was born and raised so naturally, I’m trying to build a connection with the German cosmetic industry as a sort of personal ambition. Although London is where I just feel like me and my brand belong! New York was somewhat of a turnover point in the way I perceive myself, business, leadership and the people that surround and support me, whether professionally or privately. It’s really been crazy because my first Soirée-related trip was a Fashion Week event in Warsaw last September, which was 8 months prior to our launch, but we were already working all day, every day. From the beginning of 2017, there’s not been a month where I wouldn’t be out of the house for at least a week, whether it’s been Warsaw, London, Hamburg, New York or shorter trips! Strictly for meetings, of course, it’s been a crazy first half of the year and I’m super excited for what’s to come because since I developed some sort of immunity to sleep deprivation and stress has become an everyday factor for me anyway, I can say that establishing and running a startup since I was 18 is pure pleasure.

What does Soirée stand for?

Soirée stands for quality.

That is the first answer you will always hear from me and from people who ‘ve been associated with us from the start. It’s also the answer I’m keen on hearing from random people when asked about Soirée and so far we’re on the right track! Of course, our quality has its roots somewhat deeper, in a vision of breaking conventional barriers and fears. We are using Soirée, an institution of quality, a tool to inspire certain people.

The idea of a new cosmetic brand came to me in March 2016, when I was on FaceTime with my closest friend, and partner- Marta. It was just before my finals and graduation [she had a year longer in High School] and it wasn’t a good time for me, for neither of us actually, because we got really lost in what we were expecting from ourselves in life. Social media was additionally tearing us down because as ambitious women, we were under the influence of all the lifestyle pictures we scrolled through each day and according to this traditional path that we were expected to follow! Which kinda goes like this… high school, university, work until you’re 60-something and fed up with how your life looks up until this point, we would never really ride them double R’s we saw other entrepreneurs successfully purchase.

You have to keep in mind that social media is a great medium to share and spread your mission, but it’s also easy to get manipulated because, at the end of the day, that’s what the goal of influencers and brands is. Certainly, I saw myself as a creative executive and leader in the future but I definitely wouldn’t have thought of myself as entrepreneur and director of something so huge at 18.

The biggest motivation is people coming up to us and showing genuine interest in Soirée’s story and mission. What, I think, truly motivates them when they are talking to me is that they start seeing, that not only Kylie, who certainly had an easier start in the cosmetic industry than us thanks to her fame-status and financial possibilities, can pull of establishing a global brand.

How did you come about the name?

It started out as a joke really. We [Marta and I] were talking on FaceTime, discussing what other matte liquid lipsticks we could try, since none of those which were available suited our needs. We laughed about how we could do it better than the other brands and it suddenly turned into a question- why don’t we do it better? It took some research, a few calls and several Starbucks meetings between the two of us and that’s how we started Soirée.

The name itself is a French word which stands for an evening gathering, usually in intimate company. It is a pleasant word, visually nice as well, but think of a scene like this: a woman, like your Mum, for instance, is getting ready in the evening. Pulling out a fancy dress, doing her hair and makeup. Why? Because she wants to feel the most confident self, she wants to feel seductive in her own skin, basically slay with her presence. Of course, I don’t think women need makeup in order to look and feel pretty, but that’s what cosmetics are there for, to enhance your already fabulous features, so go for it. Soirée seemed like a perfect name for a brand delivering products that make you look in the mirror and love yourself. Evening makeup is usually stronger and is supposed to last longer to remain as flawless as if you just applied it, so the products usually have better coverage and are heavier on your skin. We, however, created a product that is taking care of your lips 24/7, with a basic range of shades suitable for every occasion.

What’s important to the brand and your customers?

Marketing your mission is a challenge, which every passionate creative will tell you because there’s so much you want to communicate to people it’s hard to focus on a few short key-words, which are supposed to do the work. For Soirée it’s definitely important to be perceived as a premium brand, but not necessarily aiming only at those who are spending the most money. We believe everyone deserves to feel beautiful in their skin, so they should have access to quality without the struggle of being or not being able to afford it. Of course, scarcity creates desirability and makes a brand appear luxurious, but Marta and I, as well as many of our friends, were privileged enough to be able to afford and use high-end cosmetic products or other products. The availability of which was very limited and desired and rarely were we satisfied with what we were spending our money on! Especially in terms of lip products, which is why we created Soirée Cosmetics.

Seen you’ve been working with a few influencers and been picked up by a huge magazine in Poland. Tell me more about the situation!

Influencer marketing was and is our main focus. Years ago, like in the early 00’s and before, it was only red carpet celebrities who could really do some valuable advertising but I think today’s generation of social media users which produced many extremely talented and inspiring influencers, stole some of those celebrities’ marketing Midas touch. We’ve been lucky enough to have crossed paths with makeup influencers who have shown incredible support to us, and this is just the beginning. The best thing was meeting one of them [@divaadana] in real life, at this year’s London IMATS. It was both, such a stressful and motivating situation at once, but the best part is that situations like that always leave me even more humble and eager to work on my goals.

Elle.pl also featured a review of our #MattéLips back in May, the same week as Slow Life Magazine put us out there in print. I got a call from a hysterical Marta at midnight or so, telling me of that Elle article and I just remember being speechless. The feeling you get when you’re being recognised by an institution as huge as ELLE is what you’re working for because it’s a confirmation that what you do is good, and you don’t get that much in business! The best part is that ELLE.pl’s review of Soirée was genuine and I had no idea what they would write, so it could be a positive review, as well as a “DO. NOT. EVER. BUY.“ which would set us back. Soirée’s review was written by ELLE Poland’s leading editor and she wrote [huge shortcut] that we thought we could compete with Kylie Cosmetics, and that we actually have a genuine chance to do so with our product and approach.

All of this happened one month after we launched our online store, so people were definitely surprised to see us out there!
Being featured in a magazine which is sold in Poland’s biggest news agents, as well as being reviewed by ELLE, whereas our review stood out from the rest of the matte lipsticks’ reviews provided in the same article, being the only one containing a reference to the brand’s background/story, not only the product which by the way turned out to stand up to all expectations.

You have an interesting way to market your products on the shop, has the makeup ‘mark’ become iconic for you?

Thank you! I care for a genuine and exclusive experience, which doesn’t end when completing checkout in our online store. Soirée is a 360 experience, you hear it, you see it, you feel it, you smell it (our lipsticks have the most luscious smell ever) and you even taste it to some extent. I’ve heard so many stories about how boyfriends loved their girlfriends to wear Soirée on their lips because the scent and minor taste were divine. (Perfect Valentines or Birthday Gift if I’d say so…)

The mark was, at first, a draft. It is a swatch of our product on a white background, which I photographed in my living room and uploaded to the website while it was in construction, so I could see how colours on the site would work together. I fell in love with its sleek, minimalistic appearance and the message- it’s bare and bold, which is exactly what we are selling. We’re honest and serious about our lipsticks.

How competitive is the make-up Industry? Have popular brands and celebs brought out their own ranges such as MAC and Kylie Jenner made it more difficult?

Popular brands, no doubt, are major players in the game, MAC being a household name in our industry and Kylie Cosmetics definitely being a game-changer. It’s a dynamic market and since it is so heavily influenced by social media, it’s changing even faster than ever. Competition is strong and it takes a lot of time and money to break through in the makeup world, which I think people are not even that aware of. The good thing is that the market may be homogenous, but there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as enough cosmetic products. With each person, there come so many different preferences, and while awareness-wise we’re nowhere close to ruling- Anastasia and her Beverly Hills originating empire, we can still have a piece of the cake, and we’re definitely having it, and you know what the issue with cake is- once you taste a piece you rarely get enough, so despite being a minor brand the business plan of which was initially outlined on the back of my biology papers, we’re a major player in terms of what we are offering to our customers and that is opening one door after the other.

What are the plans for the rest of the year and 2018?

Get our brand out there and make people fall in love with Soirée and all its aspects, which includes launching many more products, so even more people can experience the Soirée. I want everyone to wear our lip products and feel #SÉLFLOVÉ, I also hope that Soirée’s story and background serve our followers as inspiration and continuous motivation.

One of the best memories that I have because of the work I do is this year’s Opener Festival in Poland, where I literally had fans coming up to me. No crowds, like 3 people, but this is something I will never forget. I even took pictures with one and it was so crazy seeing someone totally random being excited and stressed by your presence, because of what you simply represent. Soirée is not a mere job to me, it’s a part of me for sure and girls who know me and my brand from social media, telling me that Soirée lipsticks are the best lipsticks they have ever used, putting aside every other, is my drive. The cutest thing was when I was ordering a Jägerbomb and I noticed a girl meaningfully looking at me from the other side of the bar, like her gaze was piercing me, and suddenly she just started screaming things to me, like “SOIRÉE! SUSANNA! IS THAT YOU! LOVE YOU GUYS!” This was not only a nod towards Soirée, but towards the whole movement that I’m working on/ with our makeup artist aka Dominika Herman and the most talented young photographer- Louisa Daria. It was personal and it was awesome!

Social media has become an integral part of every business and brands! If you could work with any influencer, who would it be and why?

When first seeing this question, I thought ‘Hard one’. Marta immediately jumped in saying Pamela Reif, and I would agree with it no doubt. One of our first four shades is called Pam and it’s actually that, Pamela. Neither Marta nor I am fitness-freaks but Ms Reif really caught our attention, way before she hit a million followers on Instagram. She’s from Germany too, and she’s only one year older that us, so seeing her achieve all this success and making a genuine impact on the influencer scene! All I can say is that I’ve got a huge load of respect and admiration for what she’s achieved so far and how she has achieved it as well. She’s super smart and her work ethic seems only inspires us. However funny it may sound since we don’t know her in person, Marta and I feel a connection with her in terms of this #GirlBoss power that we are all advocating for.

To see the full range and learn more of about their products, please make sure to visit their web page:

Soirée Cosmetics