A masterclass with Kirsten Kjaer Weis: Part 1
A masterclass with Kirsten Kjaer Weis
Founder and Director of Kjaer Weis, Kirsten Kjaer Weis, recently came to the UK to give a master class at Content Being.
Part 1: The Brand’s story
Made with only top quality natural and organic ingredients, Kjaer Weis is the premium 360 green brand. Kirsten started the masterclass by telling us how she created the brand. Kirstin was working as a makeup artist in New York where models often asked her not to use certain products as it would break them out. So, Kirstin tried ‘green’ products but found that they did not meet the standard required. Struggling to see how this could be accepted as the ‘norm’ Kirsten took matters into her own hands and started to create Kjaer Weis.
Kjaer Weis took 7 years to create- and launched with just three products. Kirstin was creating something that had never been done before merging together the two worlds of luxury and organic.
First, the formulas. After hearing the models’ complaints Kirstin wanted to create a make-up brand which acted as skin care. So she created a base using high quality shea butter, Coconut oil which came from the first round of pressing, jojoba oil and more nourishing ingredients. She compared making the formula of her make up to that of making a cake mixture.
“When making a cake you have your three basic ingredients; flour, butter and sugar. We use the same concept with our formulas, we use our butters, our oils and then add the colour.”
It was also incredibly important that the brand used Certified Organic and Certified Natural ingredients – rather than just organic or natural. The difference? For an ingredient to be Certified Organic or Certified Natural not only must no pesticides have touched the plant but the soil in which it is grown has had to be free of pesticides for five years.
Working with an Italian factory, Kirsten created the basic formula. The next step was to add pigment. The colour was added and the first batch arrived with a huge amount of variation in shades. The Italian factory simply said to Kirsten ‘ Welcome to the world of natural makeup’. Unsatisfied with this norm, Kirsten started again. She and her team now hand inspect every batch of makeup to ensure that there is little to no variation within the same shade.
Next, the packaging. Kirstin worked with Marc Atlan to create a bespoke, refillable system. Initially, she wanted something which was biodegradable but found that these didn’t look luxury enough. So they created the metal case but this wasn’t recyclable and so the refill system was created. Kirsten compared the cases to jewellery, you only need to buy them once and they last a lifetime. These were then housed in the now iconic red, grained boxes which most customers keep and repurpose.