AWNY Startup Stories: Lipstick Queen

Poppy King is a name many Australian women associate with lipstick. Her successful brand Poppy was a 90s icon that gave us bold lipsticks named after the seven deadly sins. Fast forward 20 years and Poppy King has created Lipstick Queen. Poppy spoke with AWNY about her experiences of reinventing her brand in the USA.

Tell us about yourself and your business – how was Lipstick Queen born?

I grew fascinated with lipstick when I was 7 years old and played dress up with one of my mum’s lipsticks. What amazed me was how different I felt on the inside when I put on lipstick, and that is what led to my lifetime obsession with creating lipstick that makes you feel like a superhero.

What have been your greatest challenges in starting up a new business in the New York area?

Holding people’s attention. There is so much going on here so its hard to compete with that – it’s something I work at every day.

What are your three greatest learnings in starting up a business?

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition…..you have to repeat what you stand for so that people understand what your business does, and what it offers them that no other business can.

What steps did you go through to launch your business? (logistics, marketing etc)

I developed the right lipstick formula that gave the brand a point of difference.  and then figured out how best to get that message across in the marketing.

Starting up can be notoriously difficult – what’s motivates you to keep going?

Someone once said to me, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle” – meaning work hard and be patient!

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’ 

I feel that way every time I look at the Chrysler Building. I am just so happy to have that beautiful art deco skyscraper in my sights.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

By treating lipstick the way Willy Wonka treated chocolate. Making it magical, surprising, and imaginative, versus a trend or fad.

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Do you have any mentors that have been instrumental in their support? How have people been with sharing information and their networks?

My customers are my mentors and working at my in-store counters is where I get the most inspiring and useful information.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

Think about why you are doing what you are doing as that will help you figure out what you need to do to achieve success.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business, and why – or if not, also, why?

Australians are great at multi-tasking, which is great for efficiency, and I credit my Australian-ness with being able to see things from a wide perspective.

What is next for Lipstick Queen?

More magical and enchanting lipsticks and global expansion on the back of that!

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