Gary Cole is a familiar name to face and body painters across the world, but particularly in North America. Having been part of Snazaroo for twenty years and known as a producer of some of the safest face paints available, he's ready to launch his new company, Ruby Red Face and Body Paints, a line of lanolin- and paraben-free vegan face paint which debuts in February of this year. Don't miss this three part interview as Gary gives face painters the story surrounding his new company and product.
Q: You have a long history in the cosmetics and face painting industries with companies such as Mary Kay Cosmetics and Snazaroo. What do you feel is the most important thing you're bringing out of that background to your new company, Ruby Red Face and Body Paint?
Gary: Because I came up through the ranks at Mary Kay, I had many opportunities to be well-rounded. I literally started out as a factory worker mixing cosmetics, and in my fifteen years there, got my education and was promoted to purchasing. I learned about the chemicals as well as the manufacturing process. I also knew how and where to buy everything from chemicals to packaging. In my twenty years at Snazaroo, I learned the industry and the strengths and weaknesses of all of the brands. Not only do I know how to face paint myself, but I'm a good listener and have listened to those buying the products. I know that what they want focuses on safety, easy-on, easy-off, value, and variety. I always knew I could make my own brand of face paints here in America. Now is that time.
Q: Why did you decide to develop Ruby Red?
Gary: I recognized there was a void which could be filled by a good, safe, American-made brand. In the brand I was representing, there were flaws which needed to be corrected which were not being addressed by the manufacturer. I knew I could make a better brand. Previously, I was also limited in the markets and territory I was allowed to sell to. Developing my own brand removed those barriers. There was also a need for someone who was willing to private label. In other words, I allow my paint to be put into packaging for other companies under their name. This move opened up many opportunities. Americans talk “made in America,” and now is their opportunity to put their money where their mouth is in this great new brand.
Q: What were the challenges you faced with this new product?
Gary: Ruby Red Paints is my fifth startup company. The first one to three years are always a challenge in building brand identification. My great advantage is that I'm well known and respected in my industry. Because I have always been honest and been known as an ambassador of safe products, my job will be easier this time around. We needed to design new packaging, and that was completed early. We know the tradeshows to go to in order to get the word out, and people are eager to support an American-made brand that is vegan, paraben free, and that has the color range we offer. We are the only major brand that offers pantone color matching and private label.
Q: Ruby Red is made in Texas. What were the advantages of manufacturing in the United States? How will this be good for North American face painters?
Gary: One does not have to look far to hear horror stories about quality issues from factories in China. We purchase from American suppliers to allow greater reliability in the quality stream of ingredients and packaging components. This also allows for a better flow of the manufacturing cycle. NAFTA provides us the opportunity to sell in the North American market duty free, and that's the world’s largest consumer market for these products. It's great that Texas is centrally located and operating in one of the USA’s best economies. This allows us to easily hire and distribute the products quickly to the US market. Our primary target is the mom who wants to paint her own children. The mom wants a safe product that dries quickly and comes off easily when the fun playtime is over. Hearing “made in the USA” and “vegan” gives the mom an extra level of confidence for her children.
Ruby Red Face and Body Paints are scheduled to launch on February 14, 2014. Visit the Ruby Red website to find out more about this innovative face paint, and don't miss the second part of Gary's interview tomorrow.