Bite Beauty, a lipstick maker, has decided "to make creation part of the purchase process," reports Chavie Lieber in The New York Times (12/5/13). Bite Beauty makes "all-natural lipsticks" previously sold exclusively through Sephora. Last summer, they tried a pop-up shop, where shoppers could "concoct their desired shade" and had "women lining up around the corner and sitting on the pavement" to get in. "Women are always searching for the perfect lipstick shade," says Bite Beauty founder Susanne Langmuir. "It’s also an excellent lab experience for us."
Bite Beauty’s first permanent store, located on Prince Street in NYC, is called Lip Lab. It allows shoppers "to mix and muddle to create a personalized lipstick (down to color, finish and scent) for about $28." Decorated to suggest "a candy store," Lib Lab "features three ‘play’ stations where customers choose from pods of primary colors and deep reds and then finger paint to get the desired result." All materials "are food-grade quality and made with organic and gluten-free ingredients." This appeals to Sharon Marcus, who appreciates that the product "is edible."
Sharon’s primary motivation, however, was to try to replicate "a discontinued Clinique lipstick … which she swore was the only natural-looking lipstick that complimented her fair complexion." Each shopper does receive expert assistance, in the form of a "lipstick technician" dressed in lab whites and wearing latex gloves. Chosen shades are put "into a centrifuge" and then "the molten hue is poured into a metal bullet mold." It then sits "on a freezing plate for five minutes" before being encased. (video) Each customer is also given a "card breaking down the formula" for future use.