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Making Faces With Urban Decay

THE EXPERT: Wende Zomnir JOB TITLE: Chief Creative Officer

Written By: Genesis Gonzalez

When it comes to beauty, there is no right color, or even perfect shade. Beauty is what you make it! Beauty is about being bold, different, and one of a kind. Why settle for one color of lipstick or one shade of eye shadow when your beauty deserves so much more? There are so many other colors—from vibrant reds, to sweet pinks, and luscious purples. Urban Decay has shown women the true beauty of what it means to be on the edge of something great. For Wende Zomnir, Chief Creative Officer of one of the largest and most successful cosmetics brands, the concept has always been simple—create high-quality products that provide women with something fun and unique. Over the years, the colors that resonate with Urban Decay are stronger and bolder than ever, with the quality, design, and innovation that continue to shatter the competition. Urban Decay has proven itself to be a leader in the cosmetics world as Zomnir and her team continues to challenge themselves, and produce creative products that can be enjoyed, loved, and worn confidently by so many women.


Q:When it came to creating Urban Decay back in 1996, what did you feel was needed or missing from the cosmetics world at that time?

Wende Zomnir: The cosmetics department in the mid-90s was a sea of pink, beige and red. If you wanted color, you had to go to the drug store, and back then the quality of the lines with edgy colors was low. We wanted to create high-quality cosmetics in innovative colors. It was a pretty simple concept, but I like to think it made the industry look at color cosmetics differently.

Q: How has the brand grown over the years in creating unique and exciting products?

WZ: Through our hardcore passion for the brand and an unwavering devotion not to follow trends, we’ve managed to continue producing quality products that women want and need. Initially, we were known for producing high-pigment colors like blues, purples, greens, and our crazy shade names. Now we are known for our dedication to quality, design, and innovation. As far as what’s next for Urban Decay…all I can say is that we’re more focused than ever on creating high-quality makeup inside beautiful packaging.

Q: Urban Decay is all about products with an edge, from bright lip colors to bold shadows. Where does the inspiration come from?

WZ: Fashion, movies, handbags, jewelry, art exhibits, photography, other makeup, and the people I work with. I try to be open to all kinds of new ideas and images.

Q: Navigating through a variety of makeup can be challenging for some women. What would you recommend they begin with when it comes to selecting new products?

WZ: Start with a Naked Palette! It’s easy, and you can create so many looks with it.

Q: When a woman wears a bold color on her lips, such as red, there is certainly a level of confidence that comes with it. Why do you think that is?

WZ: Well, a strong color used in a bold way (like on the lip) makes a big statement, so you are asking for people to notice you. You’ve got to be up for that, and it takes confidence.


Q: Do you ever find yourself testing many of the products you develop?

WZ: I personally road test every product. With waterproof mascara, I go surfing. With waterproof liner, I go to hot yoga.

Q: Would you say creating a makeup brand can be just as challenging and competitive as with a clothing brand?

WZ: It might be more challenging. Like fashion, we create new looks and products each season. But we also have to continue to nurture and grow our lineup of permanent products, and that takes lots of discipline and analysis from our account management team.

Q: My mother would always tell me to carry lipstick and mascara wherever I go. What else should women always have in their bags?

WZ: Lip gloss! I can’t stand dry lips. I would say a black eye pencil and concealer are close seconds!

Q: What would you say to young women eager to be a CEO like yourself of a successful brand?

WZ: It’s so important to believe in what you’re doing, and be passionate. The passion bug is catching, and you will give it to the people who work for you. But most importantly, make sure you have your house in order. A strategic sales and distribution leader, coupled with the right person at the helm of your finance team is essential—maybe not sexy, but essential.

Q: How would you define beauty? Or more appropriately, beauty with an edge?

WZ: Beauty is about revealing who you are, not about covering your flaws. I think beauty with an edge is being willing to tell your story (whatever it might be today) through your makeup. Some days I am a Little League mom. Other times, I fancy myself a dangerous vixen!

Urban Decay Fashion Island
401 Newport Center Dr, Ste 1085
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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