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TKB Colors: our ready-to-wear products

Recently, we announced on our site that we had some finished matte liquid lipsticks "coming soon" for sale on our site.

I wanted to briefly explain to our long-time customers what this is all about.

For decades, TKB has focused its efforts on supplying raw materials and offering support to indie businesses.  We started with the soapmakers and quickly added a variety of indie crafters, with a large portion of our customers being makers of indie cosmetics.

Over the years I have often been encouraged by my staff to make "our own line" of products and sell them on our site.  I have typically declined, explaining that being a supplier and supporter of businesses is entirely different than being a seller of a finished product.  The two models require a whole different set of skills, tasks and processes.  Also, I was a little concerned that my customers might feel I was in competition with them.

As my staff has grown, however, I also recognize that their interest in my company also encompasses how one makes a finished product.  They really want to get their hands dirty.  I also recognize that until we were making things in our lab, we were not going to be very good at providing meaningful support to our customers.

So, last year I relented and we set up a small lab for making stuff and brought in a makeup artist and chemistry student to start us out.  We work on projects part time, and not everything we do turns into a finished product.  Much of what we are working on involves trying to answer customer questions or find better raw materials.

One of the fruits of last year was a small line of finished nail polish colors.  We showcase them in our TKB Exclusives tab of our new website.  It has been fun to be able to offer customers samples of a finished product which we make, and also to see our logo on a finished line.  Do we sell a lot?  No. We're OK with that.

This year, we worked on answering the questions we get about making a matte liquid lipstick.  As a team, we learned a lot about making this product, and ultimately we now offer our customers step-by-step videos and instructions.

We also decided to launch about 10 colors of our own in a finished format.  The colors were developed by Sam Tang (with input by others, including the infamous Kat Luu of Customer Service). Sam has been with our company for about 5 years and she does all the photography for our new website.  She is also a big fan of cosmetics and really wanted to try her hand at a line of lipstick colors.

As before, we expect to price the product at the high end of the spectrum and we don't expect to sell a lot.

I hope that our customers will see that TKB's selling of TKB Colors is not a form of competition or dilution of what they do but an attempt by us to be better and more fully engaged suppliers of raw materials to the indie cosmetics industry.

We hope to offer more projects (and raw materials, formulations and tutorials) as the year unfolds.

Kaila Westerman

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