Royal flush

Poppy King's Lipstick Queen is a tribute to old Hollywood glamour, writes Tama Lung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2014, 4:36pm

Few things can take a woman's look from low-key to luxurious like bold red lips. And few people know that better than Poppy King.

"Nothing can transform your look like a slick of lipstick and now more than ever, there is a need for the dignity and elegance of past eras with all this horrible reality TV everywhere," says the founder of Lipstick Queen, which has launched at Joyce Beauty.

King's self-described obsession with lip products started during her childhood in Melbourne, Australia. "Ever since I was a little girl, I thought lipstick was the most glamorous thing in the entire world," she says. "In my teens, one of my favourite time-wasting habits was watching TV. I loved MTV and old Hollywood movies.

"One of the reasons I loved these movies was the women - now theirs was glamour I could relate to. The pale skin, the old-fashioned finger waves, the smoky eyes and the deep, deep matte lipstick. In my last year of high school, I finally became conscious of my desire to emulate this Hollywood look."

Six months after graduation, King launched her own cosmetics brand. She started with seven shades of matte lipstick named after the seven deadly sins, and went on to offer a variety of lipsticks and glosses.

After a stint with a major cosmetics company in New York, King branched out again and launched Lipstick Queen in 2007. The line now includes lipsticks, lip glosses, lip liners and even a matte gloss called Oxymoron.

"The brand is unique, whimsical and includes highly imaginative lip products that are unlike anything else on the market," King says. "My new lipsticks in the Lipstick Queen range are formulated with shea butter - a cream pigment rather than a powder pigment - so they deliver concentrated colour without drying out the lips."

Saints & Sinners, a collection of 10 colours in sheer and opaque strengths, represents the founder's continuing search for the perfect lipstick. "When I was 15, every Saturday night my best friend Sarah and I would get dressed up to go out but matte lipsticks were nowhere to be found," says King, whose signature look comes courtesy of Red Sinner. "The range of shades from Saints & Sinners means everyone can find a lipstick to suit them."

Having launched two cosmetics brands, the author of Lessons of a Lipstick Queen has become one of the industry's most notable entrepreneurs.

The biggest lesson of her career, she says, is "that success is about going the distance, it is not about any one event [but] how you deal with a series of events over a long period."

Now working on her second book and more unique lip products, King also has advice for budding entrepreneurs and lipstick customers alike. "Let your mind go completely. And, while you're at it, don't forget the candid rule of wishful thinking: there are no rules."