Ladies, Big Girl Cosmetics is heading to Macy’s! Homegrown right here in Chicago, Big Girl Cosmetics was born from a gift received on The Oprah show. Kiley Russell, founder and CEO of Big Girl Cosmetics, attended the taping of the infamous episode in 2010 when Oprah gifted everyone in the audience a brand new car. I’m sure the idea of cruising down Lake Shore Drive was tempting but Kiley had other plans. Kiley Russell sold that car and used the money to start her own company which we now know as Big Girl Cosmetics.
Initially, Kiley made soaps and body butters and concentrated on skin care but always had a love for makeup. When asked why she started the company she responded “When you’re an adult, you should be able to do what you want.” Amen to that! In the last seven years, Big Girl Cosmetics has been available online and in local salons, as well as Big Girl Makeup Bar and Spa in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood (also owned by Kiley Russell). This line has now found a new home in Macy’s on State St. and River Oaks Center (as well as Southlake and Glendale in Indiana).
Kiley saw a need for deeper pigments and vibrant colors that did not fade on darker skin tones, which is one of the motivations behind Big Girl Cosmetics. Big Girl Cosmetics features more natural, mineral based products such as bright shadows (baked eye shadow $22-pressed eye shadow $16), bold blushes (blush $15-baked blush $24) and both liquid and powder foundations (pressed dual foundation $34-liquid foundation $34-foundation stick $35). In addition to this, Big Girl Cosmetics offers several lip products ranging from $12 to $19 dollars as well as beauty basics like primer ($25), mascara ($22), and eyeliner ($16).
One of the first things I noticed was the wide range of colors in the foundations and asked her inspiration behind this. Kiley made reference to the lack of color range available for polyethnic women, a problem that a lot of women of color face at makeup counters today. She says these women feel “neglected.” “They shouldn’t have to use three different foundations just to look like themselves.” Kiley saw a void in the market and sought out to fill it.
Naturally, I was curious as to how Kiley chose the name for her company. The term “big girl” can mean many things but for Kiley, it refers to a sense of empowerment, a “boost” so to speak. She used the Macy’s launch as an example of this feeling. It’s an exciting time and she reminds herself, “you can do this, you’re a big girl.”
So who is this “big girl”? According to Kiley, “she is the soccer mom, the executive, a women who puts her family first, who celebrates community, and is confident in who she is. She is ethnically diverse, and celebrates that.” It was important to Kiley that the image of Big Girl Cosmetics had no face so the brand spoke to everyone. At first glance, I believe she succeeded in doing just that.
To see the entire line head to Macy’s on State St. Saturday July 14th at 1:00 p.m. to celebrate the launch! There will be a DJ, candy bar, and a celebrity makeup artist available for a little primping.