Meet Remi and Des Wilson, the Duo Behind Cool-Girl Brand Freck BeautyAugust 12, 2020
Remi and Des Wilson, boss ladies turned best friends, have always been obsessed with freckles — way before freckle-inspired makeup hit the mainstream makeup scene. The pair teamed up to start Freck Beauty and their faux freckle-creating product Freck OG quickly put the brand on the map.. Since then, the brand has continued to grow. From skin-care products with innovative formulas and affordable prices to eyeshadow palettes and blush with iconic packaging and branding, Remi and Wilson have created an approachable and empowering brand.. We chatted with Remi, the CEO, and Wilson, the COO, to learn how they joined forces, remain authentic and continue to challenge industry standards. Read on for our conversation.
What were you both doing career-wise before Freck?
Wilson: Before meeting Remi and coming aboard Freck Beauty, I worked in fashion for 12 years. I’ve experienced so many different roles in the industry, from production and design to operations and distribution. I’ve even been the fit model for most brands I’ve worked in-house with. I loved fashion and had a ton of fun, but beauty has always been a huge passion of mine.
Remi: I was an interior designer actually. I never thought Freck would become more than a passion project. I also went to school for branding and marketing. It’s crazy how all the seemingly unrelated skills in your career come together toward starting your own business.
Remi, What factors led you to leave your career in interior design and start your own brand?
Remi: The path to launching Freck Beauty was really formed from a lifelong obsession with freckles. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t pine over them. The idea from Freck OG came at a time when people wanted to cover and remove their freckles. Naturally, everyone thought I was crazy. If ever there was a lightbulb moment, it was when I met my first mentor who had decades of experience in cosmetic manufacturing. She was the first person to say that this was an interesting idea.. Her support gave me the confidence to start trying to put the puzzle pieces together on how I would begin to formulate Freck OG.
Des, How did you end up coming on as COO?
Wilson: In 2015, I stumbled across Remi’s kickstarter for Freck on Facebook. I immediately thought it was brilliant. I have loads of freckles — literally everywhere — and I really loved the idea. I was ruthlessly teased for having freckles in the past, so this product really resonated with me. I reached out to Remi directly and told her that I would love to help her with distribution. She replied saying she wasn’t ready yet and she would reach out when that time came. Spoiler alert: She never did.A few years later, before Remi launched Freck OG, I posted an ad on Craigslist to rent out my room in Echo Park in California. Remi applied randomly. When she showed up, I was like, Aren’t you the freckle girl!? We immediately became best friends and business partners shortly there after. We turned the heat up, formulated our next product range and the rest is history!
How do you decide what products to create next?Remi: I wish we were more organized, but Des and I really fire from the hip when it comes to product development. We start with what we wish existed in the market for us as consumers. From there, we support the idea with innovative packaging and ingredients. The visual identity of the brand is very much in line with whatever is cool in East LA at the time, which is where we are headquartered. Our UFOMFG collection is heavily inspired by shows at Non Plus Ultra (a live music venue in LA) and dancing at Zebulon. It may be cheesy, but before quarantine that’s where you’d find us on the weekends.
Instagram has played a huge role in building your brand. How do you use the platform to connect with your audience?
Remi: Like everything Freck does, our Instagram just comes naturally. I don’t make many rules because I’d just be breaking them. Freck’s voice is just my voice. It’s how I write emails and text my friends. I think that really resonates with our audience because it doesn’t feel pre-planned. I also don’t write my captions in advance. I just take five minutes over coffee to think about what I wanna talk with our followers about on that particular day.
If you could tell your 20-year old selves anything, what would it be?
Wilson: I mean if we’re really going back in time, I would tell myself about Amazon and do a little Hot Tub Time Machine magic! But if it’s more of a sentiment thing, I would tell 20-year old Des that life gets hard and there will be days you want to give up, but don’t. Challenge yourself, go with your gut, chase your happiness and it’s okay to be wrong.
Remi: Ask, ‘why?’ to everything — always.
What's been the biggest lesson you've both learned throughout this process?
Wilson: A big lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t do everything. I’ve learned how to let go and accept that others are great at things that I'm not.
Remi: I’ve learned that when you do get to the point when you start hiring, especially in the beginning, put everything you have into training that person. Someone can’t react like you if they don’t know how to think like you first.
What's been the biggest pinch-me moment of your careers so far?
Wilson: For me it was when I was able to quit my job and work for our brand full time.
Remi:Oh man, there are so many. Throwing our first launch party in January was surreal. To see all the friends, creatives, influencers and business partners who have grown the brand, all in one room, getting down together. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so grateful.
Fill In the Blanks
My three desert island beauty products are. . .
Remi: Mascara, mascara and mascara
The best part about being my own boss is. . .
Wilson: The motivation and passion.
Remi: It’s a really maternal experience as someone who doesn’t have kids. Moms reading this, please forgive me. It’s the most gratifying feeling to motivate and grow your team and to see them mature in their careers.
A beauty trend I regret trying is. . .
Wilson: I used to draw braces on my teeth with a sharpie when I was in middle school. Ugh, I know.
Remi: Crackle nail polish, LOL.
My first memory of beauty is. . .
Wilson: I had horrible acne growing up, starting at the age of nine. It took a huge toll on my self-esteem. My first beauty memory was a couple years after the acne started. My dad took me to the mall to get my makeup done. I love this memory because not only did I learn how to do my makeup and experiment, but it was a really sweet thing my dad did for me.
Remi: Spying on my aunt using an eyelash curler through her cracked door. It scared the absolute sh*t out of me.
To me, beauty means. . .
Wilson: Self-expression and personal care.
Remi: Originality, every day.