We went behind the scenes with Caitlin, the mastermind behind Shiro Cosmetics, and discovered how she created her empire with just one hand…
Tell us about your brand’s backstory
This is a fun one! I literally started up my company with one hand, which is a great hook, right?
Rewinding a little: back in 2009 I started reading blogs which reviewed indie bath and beauty products, and this is when I learned that cosmetics could be handmade at home and be every bit as good as the big brands. At the time, I thought to myself, “Huh, that’s neat.”
Then in early 2010, I broke my left shoulder in a snowboarding accident. Because of this, I couldn’t properly care for my 1-year-old son, so my mom stepped in to help me out.
I was super bored with all the newfound free time and decided to take a real try at that fancy homemade eye shadow thing because hey, what else did I have to do?
I did a bunch of formulating, self-testing, and on April 30 of 2010 I launched my collection of Pokemon-inspired eye shadows on Etsy. I got my first sale that same evening and the momentum never stopped!
Eventually I came to a point where I had to decide whether Shiro was going to be a hobby or a career. I dropped out of university to build my brand full time, and that’s been my life ever since.
What is your brand best known for?
It would have to be our nerdy/geeky inspired themes in general, I think!
We were the first indie cosmetics brand that I know of to pull inspiration from traditionally nerdy interests. Our most popular collection by far is the Harry Potter inspired set, which has been featured everywhere from Cosmo UK to Better Homes and Gardens.
Last year it became the topic of such an intense media craze that we had to shut down for nearly a month and a half just to deal with the backlog of orders, that’s the first time we’ve ever closed the shopping cart!
What inspires you?
Pop culture in combination with visual beauty: the rich embroidery in Game of Thrones, the vibrant palettes of animated series, the forests and jewel-studded caverns of Middle Earth… And Nicolas Cage’s cagey lil face, obviously!
What are your 3 favourite products that you’ve created, and why?
The Blood of My Enemies lip gloss, because I like the name and the color itself is so extraordinarily pigmented and striking and wearable all at once.
Good Luck Charm eye shadow, because it’s a sweet little name with a pretty sticker and it’s so infinitely versatile and suuuuper buttery smooth.
Eon elemental glow, because it’s a totally unique type of product and it’s just right for those days when I want to look polished and pretty in under 5 minutes. And the label art is perfection.
What are your 3 best sellers?
This varies wildly depending on what’s been mentioned on social media in the past month! In general, though, it’s safe to say that our Butterbeer lip gloss, Lingered in Twilight eye shadow, and Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk October Afternoon eye shadow are always in demand.
Favourite part of your job?
The people I work with! Right now I have three full-time employees: Lauren (who I consider a partner), Andrew, and Tori. We are a total dream team and it’s a pleasure to spend time with them every day.
How do you want you/your brand to be remembered?
I want this brand to be remembered as one that always does its best, that keeps its promises, that excels at customer service and creativity. I want my brand to be one that brings happiness into peoples’ lives, contributes to the good of society, and treats everyone with kindness and fairness including its vendors and employees. On a personal level, I’d like to be remembered as “that sweet old lady who could bake like a son of a gun, and man her hair was always rad too” (I legit cannot wait to go grey, it’ll make coloring my hair sooo much easier).
And now, the fun bits…
A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
“The future of Club Penguin depends on you. Step forward, adventurer.” And then he’d take off the sombrero and toss it forward with his surprisingly dextrous flipper and it would turn into a swirly magical portal, and I’d be like “whoa man come on I never even played Club Penguin and I cuss too much so I’d have been banned anyhow” and he’d be like “YOU ARE OUR LAST HOPE” and I’d be like “ugh, whateverrr, can I at least grab a coffee first.”
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Oh, I like that plural! I would want telekinesis, invisibility, flight, sick krav maga skills, and persuasion. In that order.
Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention. What do you think cats dream about?
I’ve seen my cat dream. It’s about 95% murderin’ and the rest is salmon treats.
Code expires 9am AEST Friday 24th March 2017.