Kirsten Kjær Weis may have launched her cult-favorite cosmetic brand Kjær Weis in 2010, but the research and development leading up to the release was an eight year process. Determined to find a way to produce make-up without harsh additives that caused rashes and other skin reactions, Kirsten used her encyclopaedic knowledge of cosmetics gleaned over years working as a world class make-up artist.
Aside from colors that are universally flattering, we love the Kjær Weis take on less wasteful packaging; each compact can be reused with less-expensive cosmetic “refills.”
Here’s what Kirsten has to say about the collection today and where the brand is headed:
When and where was Kjaer Weis launched
I launched Kjaer Weis in 2010, both in Denmark and the US.
What are the guiding principles of the brand?
From the very beginning, the idea was always to have a unique design in terms of packaging but it was also about making it sustainable. This is still at the forefront of the brand today in terms of importance.
This pertains not only to the outer packaging but also to what is on the inside. The makeup itself has to be free of synthetic ingredients and in our case, we were able to make it certified organic. Our main goal has always been luxurious sustainability with a high performing, organic ingredients.
Where are your cosmetics most popular?
It’s 50/50 between the US and Europe. We definitely see a lot of interest on both the east and west coasts in the United States. Customers from both sides of the country with completely different aesthetics are attracted to the brand because there is truly something for everyone. We still have a lot of the world to cover, so we can’t speak to that yet, as in Asia and the Middle East. So maybe the map will change one day; for now it’s mostly Europe and the US.
Do you think your packaging and cosmetic color choices fit within the Scandinavian aesthetic?
Yes, definitely! I feel the brand has an aesthetic that people in Scandinavia really appreciate. It’s the attention to detail, functionality, and overall it is something that is pleasing to the eye. As far as color choices, we mainly have very flattering, minimal shades that are beautifying for everyone. We have some edgier shades as well. I think, overall, they really fit with the Scandinavian style: less is more, with an edge.
Explain the production process behind your cosmetics.
Since the line is certified organic, we source ingredients from all over the world, wherever we are able to find the highest-quality. Our main ingredients come from supervised organic farming; quality is really at the top of our list. The cosmetics are produced in Italy and are sold in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. We mainly sell in stores in those countries. A lot of stores now have a large online presence, so we have representation both online and in-store. We don’t have our own storefront yet!
How do your collections and releases work?
Up until now, we have always just released products when they are ready as well as some seasonally-oriented releases. It hasn’t been a tight seasonal schedule but in terms of adding additional shades to the range, we try to follow along with the Spring/Fall calendar. We have been marching to the beat of our own drum, so we release products when we feel like we have truly perfected them.
Can you talk a bit about the challenges facing cosmetic brands right now? How have you overcome or stepped around these challenges?
I can only speak for the challenges we face as an all natural, organic line. Whenever we run a new batch of an existing color, it has to match the last batch.
We spend an enormous amount of time making sure they are consistent in texture and color. It’s very different from conventional brands; it’s more like the wine industry where every harvest is different.
We are able to overcome these challenges by working with a great manufacturer in Italy. They have always been helpful in making sure that we have enough raw materials in stock. From the very beginning they have given us advice on how much product to order so we have enough. It’s a lot of work but it’s a true passion.
Who is the Kjaer Weis customer?
We have customers coming to the line from so many different places in life. Some come from the green side – those that are interested in the clean ingredients. Some come at it from a luxury perspective. I think it appeals to so many people because of the high performance. I do have a muse in mind when creating products: Sofia Coppola. I think to myself “would she wear this?” or “would she have this on her vanity?” quite often when testing new shades and products. She just comes off as somebody who dares to question things and has an aesthetic interest but also makes conscious decisions. That is, to me, the Kjaer Weis customer.
What are your goals for the brand for the next year, five years, and overall?
For the next year, it is our goal to get our first skincare product off the ground. We want to make the big step into skincare in a very impactful way. We are starting with a facial oil and we are so excited to finally release it! Our overall goal is to be a global brand where women all over the world have access to a line that offers something different. We want to offers women luxurious products with a clean ingredients list and high-quality. I think all women deserve it.
This interview has been edited & condensed for clarity.
Shop Kjær Weis’s collection.
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