This year marks the 15th anniversary of Bésame Cosmetics. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been producing so many of your favorite products, collections and collaborations since 2004. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, then you know how much our line has evolved and grown, but perhaps you don’t know how it all began.
It Started with A Memory
Gabriela's grandmother Rina, the inspiration for Bésame Cosmetics
Gabriela didn’t plan on starting a cosmetics line, but she couldn’t shake the desire to bring back fond childhood memories of watching her grandmother and mother luxuriate in the practice of beauty. Growing up in Argentina, Gabriela had a truly romanticized model for beautiful women. Glamour was respected, and the makeup products treated as precious objects. With crystal clear memories and treasured mementos, Gabriela wished that there were modern products that captured the lush glamour of a forgotten time.
A Fun Project
The First Bésame Cosmetics promotional art (2005)
Because Gabriela didn’t see anything like her vision in the marketplace, she decided to play with the idea of creating it herself. At the time, she was mainly working as a designer, so creating the look of what a modern-day cosmetics line that channeled the past was an exercise in creative expression.
This was merely an art project. Gabriela most definitely didn’t intend on producing any of the products she designed, let alone sell them. She started small, designing a few pieces, the logo, and the look of the brand we know today. As her designs became more evolved, Gabriela thought, "why not make one piece and see if anyone even likes it?"
Of Course, A Lipstick
A direct comparison between an authentic vintage lipstick and the first Bésame lipstick. (2005)
The first product was, of course, a red lipstick. Gabriela had no plans to go beyond this one mini-sized lip color, let alone an entire line. But the reaction was undeniable. It was such a niche product that it attracted the right kind of customers immediately –– people passionate about the brand in the right way.
A Shared Love Grows
The original Bésame Cosmetics website from 2005.
This was before social media channels were really used for businesses. In fact, it was the beginning of internet sales, so she started with a small website that showcased the brand and product. But there was no promotion or ad budgets.
What ultimately brought Bésame Cosmetics success were the customers. It was this shared enthusiasm and word of mouth over such a unique product, a whole group of women didn’t know they needed, that propelled the brand into the right kind of exposure with the media, and eventually more and more customers
The first Bésame Cosmetics Catalog (2005)
Of course, there were challenges beyond advertising. When you’re doing something really different than has ever be done before, outside people are skeptical. They don’t want to get involved in things that are risky. Many manufacturers questioned the longevity of the product, and business consultants discouraged Gabriela and the team because they didn’t see it being a large enough market. Vintage wasn’t as popular as it is now. Many buyers didn’t see replica as an advantage, because of the connotation with an older demographic.
Long Term Success
In the end, as we all know, Bésame Cosmetics proved any naysayers wrong. Fifteen years later, and the brand is experiencing more growth than ever before, all thanks to our loyal customers who appreciate vintage glamour as much as we do.
Thank you for joining us on this journey as we continue to recreate treasures from the past.