Addison Rae Easterling is having a big month. The TikTok darling’s first film, Netflix’s “He’s All That,” will premiere on August 27. That’s just about two weeks after Item Beauty, where she is chief innovation officer and co-founder, is launching in all Sephora stores and online. It will also launch in Sephora’s new shop-in-shops at Kohls. Sephora will carry all of Item’s skin-care range, which was just updated with baby-blue and lime-green packaging, and a selection of its makeup.
Item launched a year ago via a DTC website and in the midst of the pandemic. The partnership with Sephora will allow many of Easterling’s fans their first opportunity to see the brand in real life. It will also be one of Sephora’s few Gen Z-driven, influencer-helmed brands. “We are beyond proud to partner with Sephora to bring Item Beauty’s fun, clean and accessible products in-store and couldn’t have imagined a better setting — and clean beauty champion — to bring this to life,” said Janine Gettinger, vp of brand at Madeby Collective, the company behind Item Beauty.
Undoubtedly, Easterling, with her 82 million TikTok followers and 39 million Instagram followers, has been instrumental to the brand’s success. “Addison embodies the ethos of Item beauty, celebrating self-love, self-expression and individuality. She captures the zeal of a generation that is redefining beauty standards,” Gettinger said.
In advance of the brand’s first retail launch, Easterling exclusively caught up with Glossy on Zoom.
How did you first get into beauty? And how did you go from viral TikTok star to beauty brand entrepreneur?
“I’ve always been super passionate about beauty and makeup, and just feeling good about yourself. My mom was a makeup artist growing up. So I’ve always viewed makeup as a way to be creative, and as an outlet to enhance your beauty and make you feel confident and amazing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important it is for products to not only make you look good and feel good, but to actually be good for you and be good for your skin. Skin care has become increasingly important for me as I’ve grown up and had hormonal changes, and gone through life changes and stress.
I wanted to have a brand that was clean and affordable, and brought in this new wave of how important and amazing clean beauty can be. There can be a stigma that bigger brands aren’t clean. [People wonder,] ‘What’s the deal?’ And so [I’m happy to] be someone that can come up from Gen Z and show the importance of clean beauty, and that it really isn’t a hard switch. We came up with the name Item because you and your makeup are an item together, and work together to be the best for you. “
You mentioned that you’re part of Gen Z. How did that impact your role in creating this brand?
“Gen Z is very trendy — things are on and off all the time, and things go in and out of style. But something that kind of never goes away is the way that we want to feel and have our skin feel, and how we want our products to feel, and that was really important for me going into it. That’s why I was dedicated to making Item a clean brand where our ingredients are good for you.
Everyone loves to have a full glam [look], but then you hate the way that it affects your skin sometimes, and that’s just kind of the reality of it. Different skin reacts in different ways, and we’ve formulated these products to be able to work on all skin types.
Gen Z is into a natural, glowing, dewy look, but also loves a glam moment. We wanted to make the products buildable, so you can do both. There are so many different uses for our products. That’s my thing: I wanted to make it easy and accessible. You can carry it around, and it will fit wherever you need it to.”
Did you feel more prepared to work in the beauty industry, having a mom as a makeup artist?
“I’ve always been obsessed with makeup and beauty. I grew up as a competitive dancer, as well, so I was doing my makeup for the stage when I was really young. Now I talk to a lot of people, and I’ve learned about different ingredients that are actually not good for your skin. I’ve also always watched how my mom treats her skin and how she does her makeup.”
What was it like when you learned that Item was going to be in Sephora?
“I was so speechless. I’ve grown up loving Sephora. My mom was a big Sephora lover, so I got to go [there] with her when I was little. And I would test everything, which isn’t really a thing nowadays… It was really unbelievable. Even right now, when you ask about it, I’m just like, ‘I can’t believe it’s a thing.’ It’s so surreal.
Also, launching a brand during a pandemic is just so different. [It mean that] not many people got to experience [the brand]. So now, I can’t believe people are going to be able to go in there and really be able to see these products.
Digitally, [the experience] is a little different. And we had to figure out how to [sell the brand] during the pandemic. The launch of the brand was just online, and it was really an interesting thing to have to learn and grow, and now we get to kind of expand on that.”
Obviously, we’re not out of the pandemic — but are there any fun activations you have planned around the Sephora launch?
“I am going to try to visit as many Sephoras as I can. I really want to pop in and say hello. I think we’re going to be doing a few scheduled pop-ups here and there… But, if anyone wants to go to Sephora, I might be there.”
Which Item Beauty product can you not live without?
“Anyone who knows me would immediately know the answer: It’s Lash Snack. I love mascara. I don’t know what it is, but l always need mascara.
I love super dramatic, spidery lashes, which people tend to really dislike. But that’s kind of my thing. And so with Lash Snack, we wanted to make sure it was buildable to that point. I can start off with it being really full and lengthening, and that’s what Lash Snack is known for. And then I add lots of coats to make it really dramatic.
In our skin care, it’s probably my One Hit [prime, set and refresh face mist]. I actually have it with me right here. It’s just easy and something that can be used throughout the day consistently. And it smells really good.”
Are there any current beauty trends you’re excited about?
“I love keeping up with new things that people discover. Lately, it’s colored brows and colorful mascara or eyeliner. I love colorful things, and Item will hopefully be able to share some [new launches] around that trend soon, too. I think that’s the beauty of TikTok is it’s always changing. There are always new trends. It’s pretty fast-paced.”
What one makeup tip would you want to share with your followers?
“One little thing that I do is to use my Brow Chow pencil to create freckles. I use medium brown, and it’s very natural and looks very real. I have natural freckles, but I like to enhance them, especially when they get covered by my concealer. I love seeing how much of a makeup look I can do with one thing.”