Drew Barrymore is no doubt best-known for her huge Hollywood roles in blockbuster titles — “E.T,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Never Been Kissed,” and “Donnie Darko” — and while she still plays a major role in the movie and TV industry through her production company Flower Films, a big focus of her life now is situated at the helm of her cosmetics business.
Barrymore founded Flower Cosmetics in 2013, which offers an affordable cosmetics line, sold exclusively at Walmart.
The cosmetics industry has many established players and the sector is extremely competitive; something Barrymore clearly knew a thing or two about when she launched Flower — her ex-husband’s father, Arie Kopelman, is the CEO of Chanel.
Speaking to Business Insider at Advertising Week New York on Wednesday, Barrymore explained the three reasons why she made the leap.
“It was getting my sort of college degree in being a co-creative director for Cover Girl for eight years, being part of the campaigns, and concepts, and marketing, and photography,” she said. “Working with [makeup artist] Pat McGrath and trying to drive the brand into something I felt like could best serve, as well as the women we were trying to reach gave me so much education that it felt like a waste not to do something with it.”
Barrymore then joked: “I’ve also been in a makeup chair since I was 6-years-old and had the fortune of working with the icons of the beauty industry, so learning, being in love with products, pigments, brands, companies, and just being a constant student of makeup.”
She described the third reason as a “hybrid” of the love of makeup and the advertising of it.
“I think there’s such a crucial necessity for positive messaging so that women feel empowered and are not making themselves up to be something else,” she said. “It’s always about being the best you. Who you are inside and your joy levels and a smile is better than any lipstick. It’s sort of anti-makeup messaging, but I think it’s more human-messaging and the rest will fall into place.”
What most surprised Barrymore about running a cosmetics line was the “level of time-consuming anxiety” that comes with constantly attempting to track down the latest innovations.
Barrymore said: “That’s really what the beauty game is all about. It’s about constant new-to-market products. So traveling to labs and creating 30 to 50 new products every single year is so much more all encompassing and consuming than I would have assumed.”
“When we launched, we launched with 180 products and that felt like an undertaking. But every year there are 30 to 50 [new products]. Chasing innovations and being competitive with the labs is one of the most challenging and exhausting [aspects] but when you win a victory, you feel like you want to throw a party. You got that formula? This is a good day,” Barrymore added.
The Flower brand has since expanded into other verticals including eyewear and a recently announced home line. We asked where she might take it next.
“[The idea is] to build the branches of your tree from a nucleus. The nucleus is color cosmetics with Flower: Fragrance, brushes, bags, eyewear — things that naturally evolve and don’t feel like they are greedy and all over the place,” Barrymore said.
“With the [home] line comes the love of home, and design, and lifestyle — those are natural branches to that tree. Slow and steady wins the race and being on point with what you’re trying to do, rather than just throwing it out there and seeing what sticks,” she said.
As far as marketing is concerned, Barrymore remarked that there has never been more content available from beauty bloggers and companies offering makeup “how-tos.”
“If anything, it’s overloaded. Where do I begin to go down the rabbit hole of people showing their knowledge, application, love, passion, their latest thing? It’s all being shared out there and that’s fun to see major companies that used to just rely on TV and print accessing these women bloggers out there and wanting them to talk about their products because it’s a more human channel,” Barrymore said.
As for herself, Barrymore says Instagram is her online channel of choice. The actress, producer, and entrepreneur has more than 5.3 million followers and regularly shares updates about her businesses.
“Instagram: that’s my platform. I need one and one only. I’ve never done Snapchat, never done Twitter. Facebook is important but I’m personally invested in Instagram — that’s my channel,” she said.
Barrymore participated in an Advertising Week New York panel on Tuesday afternoon with her ex-husband Will Kopelman’s father Arie Kopelman, who is the CEO of Chanel, and her ex-husband’s brother-in-law, ad tech company Kargo’s founder and CEO Harry Kargman.