Pret-a-Reporter

Beautiful Rights Founder Talks the New Cosmetics Line That Gives Back to Women

Courtesy of Instagram/beautifulrights

Twenty percent of sales from each "Gloss Ceiling" lip gloss or "Pantsuit Pink" lipstick is donated one of five women's rights organizations chosen by the customer.

Want to donate to organizations that protect women's rights, but also look great doing so? Get yourself a beauty brand that can do both.  

Those beauty mavens supporting Planned Parenthood or Emily's List can now kill two birds with one stone, thanks to a new cosmetics company called Beautiful Rights, launching this month.

Founded by industry vet Kristen Leonard, the brand is unique in that 20 percent of the sales (not profits) from each "Gloss Ceiling" lip gloss ($24) or "Pantsuit Pink" lipstick ($24) are donated to one of five organizations — Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, the ACLU, Legal Momentum and Lambda Legal — which customers can choose from upon checkout.

"I hope to help shape the view that beauty isn't always about being 'pretty' or 'girly,'" said Leonard of the Beautiful Rights movement. "It is about empowerment, confidence, and self-expression."

Two lipstick shades, a gloss and a kit with all three items ($64) are now available for pre-order to ship out on Monday — just in time for the holidays. Ahead of the release, Pret-a-Reporter chatted with Leonard about launching the groundbreaking brand and her plans for expansion.

What is your background in the beauty industry?

I am both a makeup artist and a product developer. I started in the industry over a decade ago behind a MAC counter, and from there I built up a freelance bridal makeup business that I still run today. I have also worked for two prominent cosmetic manufacturers, which is where I honed my product development skills and created strong relationships in the industry. In the last few years, I have been consulting for beauty startups, developing products and helping with brand development.

What prompted you to launch the line?

The political climate in the country right now and what is ahead of us in the new year is what made me realize that I needed to get involved. I have always had different ideas for beauty brands, but nothing ever moved me to pull the trigger like Beautiful Rights did. I'm quickly learning that when you work towards something that is bigger than you, it points you in a very clear direction and gives you a drive like nothing else.

What are your thoughts about the importance of a brand like Beautiful Rights, which supports women’s interests in the wake of the election?

I hope to see more brands created to support women's rights. There is a lot of uncertainty over what the next four years will look like, so to know that as long as I can make beautiful makeup, I can continue to support women's interests. I also hope to help shape the view that beauty isn't always about being "pretty" or "girly." It is about empowerment, confidence and self-expression. It's really amazing what one swipe of lipstick can do to a woman's mood ... it's kind of like war paint. 

How did you choose the organizations?

When a lot of people think of women's rights, they quickly think of a woman's right to choose. While I fully support that initiative, thus donating to Planned Parenthood, I also know that there is more to women's rights than just reproductive health. By including organizations that support LGBT equality, gender equality, ending human trafficking and violence against women, and getting more democratic women into leadership roles, I am not only creating awareness of these great causes, but helping support women in so many ways.

Love the product names. Was there a strategy to keeping them fun?

These issues are serious and we all know a lot of women are pretty angry right now, but I didn't want to feed the anger, I wanted to feed the empowerment. I've always been the type to crack a joke in the middle of an argument or awkward silence to lighten the mood, so I'd like to think I'm doing the same thing here.

You started with lip products. Do you have plans to expand to full collection?

Absolutely. I'm all about starting with the staples and working your way from there. I plan on introducing new items over the course of next year, with some great names, of course.

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