We all have those moments — sometimes fleeting, sometimes serious daydreams — where we imagine just packing it all up and quitting our day job (especially on Mondays). Two Toronto-based architects, Narae Kim and Elie Nehme, did just that and founded their own beauty brand, Artifact. The husband-and-wife team’s company is focused on premium mud masks with natural, beautifying ingredients and premium packaging. We chatted with Kim, one-half of the team, to find out what it means to start your own beauty line and what makes the products at Artifact truly special.
theFashionSpot: Tell us about your switch from architecture to beauty.
Narae Kim: I have always been a maker. I enjoy the tactile and experimental process of making something. I just couldn’t see myself sitting behind a computer at an office for long hours for the rest of my life. Elie (my husband and Artifact’s co-founder) studied architecture and design and worked in the field, too — we both felt we needed a change. This was when we thought it would be a great opportunity to fuse two passions together, design and skincare.
tFS: How did your love for beauty begin?
NK: Skincare has always been part of my life since I could remember. This passion and curiosity in mixing raw ingredients to create treatments is something my mother passed down to me. When I was a child, I could remember her laying me down next to her as we both put on a potato face mask after my summer camping trip! She always had ideas for different recipes and mixtures to better any skin condition.
tFS: Tell us how the idea to create masks came about.
NK: During architecture school, I worked as a cosmetician and I remember people constantly asking me about skincare, but specifically face masks. They wanted my recommendations. I had a really hard time giving advice to my clients because a lot of companies had a mask or masks in their lines, but it was always treated like an afterthought. We really wanted to embrace the masks, make them the star.
tFS: Why not makeup or beauty tools or accessories, or is that in the works?
NK: My personal opinion is that skincare should always come first before makeup. If your skin is beautiful, it makes the perfect canvas for makeup and you use less of it. Hopefully in the future, makeup could be part of the brand, but we’d love to expand and explore the masking experience first.
tFS: What makes Artifact masks special?
NK: We have created a line of facial masks that are inspired by cultural traditions in skincare: We’ve explored the world gathering the aromas, memories and beauty traditions, and deliver them to our customers in a delightfully innovative way. All of our masks draw from a specific ingredient and its story. It’s fascinating learning about all the unique ways people have taken care of their skin for centuries. From there, we start visualizing what the mask will be once it is complete — how will it make someone feel, its texture, colour, scent and all the ingredients that will play a role in making it what it is. We imagine that these masks have been brought back from these faraway places as artifacts and they all have their own story to tell. All the ingredients we use, from the roots, extracts, flowers, clays and oils to the white glass containers are selected for beauty, health and enjoyment. Always keeping it of the highest quality and freshness of the ingredients.
tFS: What’s the most popular product for Artifact and the ones to get excited about for Spring 2015?
NK: Our best-selling product would be the Egyptian Honey Rose mask. Rose water and raw honey does wonders for your complexion. It is an all-around great face mask for all seasons. We’ve just introduced our new line of lip products, we have two healing and moisturizing lip balms and a magical overnight lip mask made with marshmallow root, honey and rich avocado oil. The best part is that our formulations are free of any harmful ingredients.