E! Entertainment founder Alan Mruvka who recently founded the monthly beauty subscription website TheLookBag.com joined me along with celebrity makeup artist Damone Roberts aka the "Hollywood eyebrow king" to discuss Damone's new role as the face of TheLookBag, perks of being a member and how we can all look great and feel great too!
Alan Mruvka, Creator of TheLookBag.com. Image courtesy of: IMDb
Candace Rose: Alan, as the founder and creator of TheLookBag, can you tell us a little bit about the site?
Alan Mruvka: "TheLookBag is a monthly beauty sample club where for ten dollars a month women could enjoy getting five luxury deluxe beauty samples delivered to them. And for the most part they are tailored to specific needs or likes that individual has."
Candace Rose: Damone, as one of the top celebrity makeup artists, and of course as "the eyebrow king", you're also the new face of TheLookBag. Can you tell us a little bit about the website?
Damone Roberts: "TheLookBag is a new website that is a membership only; ten dollars a month only, which I think is amazing. And what we're doing is we're having you fill out a profile when you join up and you get a deluxe box of five deluxe beauty samples delivered to you monthly. Now the samples are delivered to you based on who you are. For example your age, your skin type, your hair type, your ethnicity- everything. And these are the best we found worldwide that work for you in general. But the best thing about it is they are deluxe reusable samples. You know, you can use them for up to four weeks to see if you really like it versus a little piece of paper you tear off and use once, and you can't really tell if it works or not. I think that's a huge, huge, huge thing because I feel that we all have those dreaded makeup drawers, those dreaded hair drawers and that we've all probably only used them once or twice and we never really use them again. This is a great way that you can actually use something. It's brand new, it's from one of the top brands out there and if you do like it you can go to the website and order it for a discounted price for what you would pay if you would purchase it anywhere else. It's a win-win situation."
Candace Rose: Alan, what inspired the website?
Alan Mruvka: "Well, my background is in television. I was the founder of E! Entertainment television and I ran that for ten years. But the original concept of the website when I was starting E! I used to say that television was like a newspaper where you'd have headlines, and headline news, and sports, ESPN and weather on The Weather Channel, but there was no entertainment section. Today I say that television is like a magazine stand where you have home and garden, National Geographic, Playboy, Golf- it's all about narrowcasting and then I say well, you don't have to be a genius to go to a magazine stand and see which magazines are thin and which magazines are thick. So, if you look at men's magazines like Sports Illustrated or ESPN or Maxim or even Playboy they're like pamphlets. If you look at InStyle or Cosmopolitain they're like phone books, that's where the money is chasing, that's where the interest is today, so in looking back we can sort of reverse programming and being reactive to what's happening out there. That's why I consciously decided to make the transition from straight television to beauty, and with my belief in the internet sort of being the next phase of how we're going to be watching television, that's why I decided to launch my beauty idea on the internet. And the idea is everything from TheLookBag which proactively goes out in samples, products to more programming videos and content. In today's world where the newest things introduced at CES are what they call connected or network televisions, you are able to plug your internet right into your living room TV, go home plop down on the couch with your remote and you're watching the internet. So in a few years from now when it becomes commonplace and you want to watch Showtime, you'll watch Showtime.com and order up exactly what you want to watch. So, that's really how the idea sort of came about from the beginning. As for as TheLookBag goes we wanted to get into the business of sort of proactively going out there and offering samples. But it's very overwhelming when someone goes into a beauty store and there's literally a thousand different products around you. Unlike the fashion business where you see a red sweater- it's a red sweater and you can touch it and see it; beauty you have to open and smell it and see how greasy it is or how it is on your skin. So it's a little different animal where you really have to sort of try it to see if you like it, and you can't return it. So there isn't a real efficient way for beauty manufacturers to get out there to their customers. They have to rely on advertising which is not an efficient way to reach a buyer because like I said, you can't smell it or feel it or see how it works on your skin or just hope that a friend has the product and you try it. So this gives people an opportunity. I look at it really as a win-win situation. It's a win-win because a manufacturer gets to go out there and proactively get people to try the product and the consumers out there, it's a win for them because for less than the price of a movie ticket, every month they get to try between 60 and 80 products a year. When do you really ever get that opportunity? If you get 5 or 6 products a month times 12 months, you're getting 60/70 products and then of course if you enjoy the products and you like it, you can go buy the product. But it really gives you an opportunity to try a product and that's whats not out there right now."
Candace Rose: What type of beauty products will we find every month?
Damone Roberts: "We're going to go for everything. We're doing the top hair. We're talking for example the first shipment went out in January and we had Kim Vo. Kim Vo's an amazing hairdresser. We're talking to Chris McMillan, we're talking to Laura Mercier, we've gotten many, many people on board. It's going to be huge. I'm really excited to be a part of it."
Candace Rose: Are your products going to be included as well?
Damone Roberts: "Absolutely!"
Candace Rose: Your eyebrow gels?
Damone Roberts: "Eyebrow gels, eyebrow pencils; I've got brushes. Everything you can imagine!"
Candace Rose: Oh, sign me up!
Alan Mruvka: "One skincare that's very good, Obliphica is very good. We even have other things like Beautyblender where it's sort of like a big sponge. That's what a lot of celebrities use to put their makeup on. So we sort of really handpick every brand and we try to mix established brands with new emerging bands. Really the fun of everything is going out there, going to the shows, finding those really cool, good quality emerging brands and then giving that emerging brand an opportunity to connect with the celebrity and really get out there in a big way if we believe in something."
Candace Rose: I just love the fact that you tailor to peoples skin needs. I know that there are other beauty subscription shopping sites on the internet that don't, so I think it's great that you base it on whether someone has acne, wrinkles, sensitive skin, etc.
Damone Roberts: "Thank you, and I think that's important. I agree with you because again, you walk into any beauty department anywhere and it's kind of overwhelming. You know, there's a lot of stuff to choose from these days, a lot of stuff and you don't even know where to start. And I think this is a great way you can trust someone that's in the field that works with these models, and these agents, and these hairdressers, and skincare specialists and just find out what's going on and works. What isn't going on and see what works and you can actually try it before you waste your money because you're actually going to see if it works for you or not."
Alan Mruvka: "It gives people an incentive to try the product and if they like it they have sort of an inside price to buy it, and the other thing is that since I don't come from the beauty world, that's why I partnered up on TheLookBag with Damone Roberts who I feel is among the best in the world at what he does. So we went out there and we looked around to see who would be a great fit and a lot of people claim to be celebrity makeup artists and celebrity this and that, but Damone is the real deal, so he was a great choice. So together with Damone, I believe that TheLookBag is really the gold standard in beauty sample programs."
Candace Rose: Alan, you can pay a year in advance for TheLookBag, correct?
Alan Mruvka: "Correct. If you pay for a year it's only $110, so you get a break but it's really cheap. Literally we like to say it's cheaper than a movie ticket, and we've only had rave reviews at this point. We try to have a real full good box of products that people get."
Candace Rose: And you also have celebrity boutiques on the website.
Alan Mruvka: "Yes, because of my background in really working with celebrities for 25 years I figured why not reach out? Because celebrities constantly get emails 'how do you do your hair'? 'How do you do your eyes?' 'What are you wearing?' And they really sort of don't respond to all of them because they're all individual questions and it's a lot of work for them. So I set up a way for celebrities to get out there to their fanbase and constantly tell them what they're using and trying. For example we have one of our celebrities on our site- Sofia Milos who was on 'CSI Miami'. She has beautiful long curly hair and she's known for her long curly hair, and she's also Italian and a big star in Italy. Women with long, curly hair will say 'well what do you use, your hair's beautiful. So instead of emailing back a thousand different emails this is the way she'll say well go on my boutique or if she tweets go to my boutique on TheLookBag store and people can see what she actually uses."
Candace Rose: Damone, I noticed on your facebook page that you were recently at the Golden Globes with TheLookBag.
Damone Roberts: "Yeah, we did the Golden Globes with TheLookBag. It was great. I've been fortunate, I've workd with everyone pretty much in this industry, and it's great when you have something that you really believe in to give to your friends to try it out. To hear them say this is really cool, we like this and what not. We did something for InStyle magazine and the Golden Globes at Four Seasons and a lot of my friends and clients came by and they loved it."
Candace Rose: Damone, what would you say is the secret to looking and feeling great?
Damone Roberts: "The secret to looking great, I think is when you look good, you do feel good. I think that it's really important to take time to take care of yourself. For example don't go to bed with your makeup on, do get your eyebrows shaped professionally because it is the most important and underestimated feature on the face; manicures and pedicures- little simple things. Women are mothers and wives and girlfriends and running businesses, and there's a lot of stuff going on and I truly, truly think they are amazing creatures. They really are and I think that the only problem is that they don't take care of themselves as much as they should; they take care of everyone else and I think it's important. When you're on an airplane, they say as soon as the plane starts going down, that oxygen mask falls down you've got to put it on yourself first, so you can be there to take care of other people including your children or your husband or your boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever. And I think that's a good analogy because women are doing and serving everyone else but they're not taking the time to give themselves a manicure and pedicure or treat themselves. And this is a great way to do it because the package is delivered directly to your door."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Alan Mruvka: "Only that part of the beauty of getting involved with TheLookBag site is that we are going to have a lot of videos, tips, a lot of celebrity tips. So it's really sort of the whole concept of really bringing Hollywood beauty to you at home, that's really what we're trying to do. One of our tag lines is 'be paparazzi ready'."
Damone Roberts: "I think I would just say you can find me on twitter at DamoneRoberts or at TheLookBag as well. The website is LookBag.com and it's going to be updated constantly with new products and I want them to be honest with us and tell us what's working for them and what isn't because our goal is to definitely make life easier for the woman on the go and again, to put their best face forward."