Ladies (and some gents, too): If you're interested in putting your money where your mouth is when it comes to shopping local, you'll be glad to hear there's a local lipstick purveyor who can help brighten your smile. Elizabeth Street Cosmetics is a San Francisco-based boutique lipstick and gloss collection. ESC founder Kelly Crispen named her line after the street in Noe Valley, where she's lived for the last 12 years.
I first heard about Elizabeth Street Cosmetics when I read about Rare Device's upcoming Valentine's Day Trunk Show and Moving Sale on Feb. 11, where Kelly will be showcasing some of her products. I was excited to hear about a local cosmetics brand, and went onto the ESC site to find out more. It turns out that Kelly has years of experience in make-up, working on the corporate side, but also as a make-up artist, so she has a good sense of what looks good. I also found out that Kelly's lipsticks are free of parabens (chemicals often used as preservatives in most make-up, but which are possibly linked to breast cancer). They're chockful of natural ingredients and infused with antioxidants.
Wanting to know more, I contacted Kelly and asked her a little more about her experience and Elizabeth Street Cosmetics:
TBI: When and how did you get your start in the beauty industry?
Kelly: I needed a job while I was finishing up college. I was make-up obsessed and Lancome hired me as a freelance artist on the weekends. I loved it so much that I worked my way up to being a counter manager for Chanel. From there I was promoted to be an in-store trainer within a year. It was fun while it lasted but I found myself in the car half the day and I was wanting to hone my skills with a make-up artist driven line. I spent four years with MAC and learned so much in terms of color theory and application. Once I had my boys, I needed to get back to doing and wearing natural makeup. Bobbi Brown was a perfect place for me for the two years while I was developing my own line.
TBI: You named your line after the street you've lived on in Noe Valley, and several products after other neighborhood streets. What about Noe Valley inspired you?
Kelly: Noe Valley is unique. I'm amazed by all the Victorians, the use of color, and attention to detail. Where else in the city would I be able to know my neighbors and walk down the street to get coffee or to the post office where they actually know your name? There is also a great bakery and some nice places to pick up flowers on the same block.
TBI: What lipstick shades are most popular with San Franciscans? What's your favorite shade from your line?
Kelly: Most popular lipstick is probably Noe. It's a sheer rosy brown with just a hint of color. It's on the "safe side" for people who don't like to wear a lot of makeup. Most popular gloss is Hill. It's a super creamy warm nude that looks great on everyone. My favorite is hard to say. Depends on my mood. I'm generally a gloss girl. Everyday gloss for me is 24th or Duncan (both neutrals) and definitely Valencia (pure red) or Lexington (gunmetal shimmer) for night.
TBI: Can you tell us more about how you developed your lipsticks and where you source your ingredients?
Kelly: I teamed up with a manufacturer who formulates using clean ingredients and the purest grades of vitamin C and E. They're sourced in Canada, where regulatory standards are high.
TBI: What stores in SF carry ESC?
Kelly: I'm a big fan of small boutique businesses owned by women. Select colors are carried in Rabat on 24th Street, Curator, Kate's Closet, and soon to be Rare Device. The full collection can be viewed and purchased online at www.elizabethstreetcosmetics.
Have more questions about Elizabeth Street Cosmetics? Meet Kelly on Saturday at the Rare Device Trunk Show.