BeautyTalks with Biography Founder Linda Thompson
Share with us the background of Biography and your recent launch.
I am a Canadian and I have lived in NYC for the last 25 years. My professional credits include executive positions at American Express, CNBC, and Channel One Network, where I created partnerships with Sony and EMI Records. It was my love for storytelling that led me to the coveted position of Editor-In-Chief at Cartier International in Paris, where I spent couple of years working to bring the history of the legendary jewelry Maison to life through short-format digital infotainment. It was around this time, before there were many face oils on the market, that I discovered the natural, French approach to beauty. While in search of a moisturizer for my skin, which was acting up in the cold Paris winter, a local pharmacist steered me away from the artificial, harsh ingredients in most known brands and whipped up a bespoke blend of plant-based natural oils for me to try – and it worked miracles. That experience sent me into a long side hustle experiment with face oils, ultimately leading to what Biography is today.
"What started as a side hustle became a cult favorite of makeup artists, models, music executives, and beauty junkies."
You are a product pioneer. Tell us about the process of developing your products and the formulation process.
I have been experimenting with different oils and ingredients for years, ever since my time spent living in Paris. I travelled as far as Belgium and Australia to find the most pure, effective all-natural ingredients in hand-crafted combinations to create formulas with a most pleasing scent and efficacy profile. I tested many mixes, ultimately landing on our special four formulas. What started as a side hustle became a cult favorite of makeup artists, models, music executives, and beauty junkies. Ultimately, my hobby turned into an extended focus group that tested the blends with over 10,000 faces. Once the formulas were perfected, it was time to build a real brand with a real story - and Biography was born!
We at GlossWire love the names of the products and their wink and a nod, can you walk us through the concept of the names and what each product targets?
Each formula speaks to how we came up with their name. Their function, ingredients, and effects allowed us to craft a story and personality for each product.
Petty Grudges is full of rose ingredients and helps with cell turnover, fine lines, and sun damage. It is our overnight treatment that works against those things, those petty grudges. It is sassy and fun and ultimately reminds you to let go of those things in your life.
Long June is a dry oil that works to lock in moisture and absorbs on contact. It targets redness, sensitive skin, and rosacea. It is also very healing for post-dermatologist treatments. The name came from a friend and our venture advisors. Long June is a mindset about calmness and positivity, and an idea that it is always Long June -- the longest and best month of the year.
Few Words is our men’s all-in-one oil, for skin and hair alike and smells fantastic. We call it the Swiss Army Knife of men’s grooming. A man of few words is our sartorial, Biography guy - classy, refined, and cares about what he puts on his face.
Golden Ray is a radiance-boosting moisture lock harnessing the power of French Marine Algae to stimulate collagen for increased suppleness. Think of this oil as an oil, serum, treatment, and primer in one. The oil is a deep orange color and leaves your skin with the most perfect, golden hour, glow.
Tell us about your go-to essential key ingredients and what issues they tackle.
Our fruit seed oil complex is the motherlode of antioxidants from the raspberry, cranberry, watermelon, and pomegranate seed oils creating a power oil/serum of anti-aging and damage reversal. Another ingredient that I love to work with is Camellia seed oil because it balances moisture levels and helps damaged skin - acne, eczema, and sunburn. It has great calming properties, quickly absorbed, and is not greasy.
Do you believe self-care and a solid skincare routine changes your mindset?
YES! You need to take that time for yourself. Even if it's five minutes in the morning, it really does change your mental state for the day. No phone, no distractions. I like to make a cup of tea and do my routine to get ready for the day!
Do you see your brand expanding with different products?
Yes, we want to expand outside of just face products, creating sensory and expressive moments in other aspects of life. We hope to create products in the bébé, body, lifestyle, and home spaces.
"Biography revolves around our customer’s experiences with the product and the brand -- the human experiences that connect us all."
What inspired your brand’s name Biography?
I have a deep passion and love for storytelling and hearing about other people’s stories. Ultimately, however, Biography revolves around our customer’s experiences with the product and the brand -- the human experiences that connect us all. We are a company that services more than the surface - as most personal care brands do - we want to get to know that person and their story.
What role does social media play in your brand?
We love to use our social to show the fun and personal side of our brand. We like to make quirky, fun, and unique content to share our personality and brand ethos. Ultimately, social media is a special place to distinguish ourselves, share more about our craft, and understand people’s relationships with us as we evolve.
What are your morning rituals?
I wake up around 6:30am and take my dog, Tessa, for a stroll around Central Park. When I get back, I make some coffee, answer texts and do an Alo Moves workout in my living room. Then, I get ready for the day while listening to The Daily and some good tunes.
What is in your beauté bag?
Some of my favorite beauty things are Dyptique body butter, Eve Lom cleanser, Epara eye serum, Neulash conditioner/growth serum, The Nue Co The Pill Serum, Golden Ray Glow Drops, Gucci Westman bronzer, Chantecaille eye shadows, Gee Beauty eye pencil, Marvis toothpaste, Another 13 by Le Labo or Rose of No Man's Land from Byredo which were special gifts.
What has been your favorite part about building this business?
Biography launched in December 2020, so basically the entire year of 2020 was remote. Working on bringing a consumer goods brand to life in such weird, WFH times, was a big challenge. However, ultimately, our team and our bond made building the business so much fun. We have such an incredible team full of women who are very in line with our brand with high conviction to build something fresh and fun and never done before. At the end of the day, the people who you work with make or break a company - and in this case, it made it all worth it and so enjoyable.
What have been key learning experiences being a D2C business?
The majority of our business is D2C at the moment while building out our retail network in parallel- so it’s really a mixture of both. Having a solid D2C presence, especially during COVID times, means a strong and engaging digital experience… both on website and social. It also means being readily available to customers and their needs to make sure their experience is as personal as it can be. Also, as we are all working remotely, we have, as most people have, had to find ways to build company culture and team dynamics without a normal office environment.
As a female founder have you faced distinct challenges or found support in the industry?
All in all, we have been very lucky in the support we have received. I am a woman Founder and CEO, and we have an all-women team. As a new fresh brand, the support from retailers, dermatologists, makeup artists, and press outlets has been so welcoming. We have worked hard to develop a strong design point of view and a fresh take on the natural beauty industry. It seems to captivate people and excite them about what we are doing.