Takeover Begins in New York
MANILA, Philippines – In its pursuit of making a defining entrance in the beauty industry this September, Strokes Beauty Lab has made its first wave of global domination in the Big Apple with a team of world-class creatives bringing its products’ artistic potential to life.
Strokes started its journey as a brand with the opening of Strokes Eye Beauty Studio by Momoi Supe in 2015: the pioneer and the only eye beauty studio in the Philippines, providing semi-permanent makeup and innovative eyelash and skin care services, with brow sculpting as its signature service. It quickly achieved indubitable success.
Because of the realized potential of his studio’s services, Founder and CEO Momoi Supe dreamed bigger. He thought, why confine the potentials of his artistic creations in a room when he can bring them to the world?
He wanted to make the art of microblading and eyebrow permanent makeup available to the world by creating its product counterpart of the highest quality marketed at the best price.
“We envisioned having a global impact because our products can compete on a global scale,” said Momoi. “Our products are calibrated to exceed international market standards, so we made sure that people from all over the world will get to experience that level of makeup artistry in their everyday lives to unleash their everyday confidence.”
Now, after two years of dedicated research and meticulous product development, Strokes Beauty Lab is gearing up to impact the international beauty industry with its groundbreaking vision of everyday confidence made possible by hand-held makeup artistry.
In preparation for its September 2020 launch, Strokes became one of the select few Filipino brands to work with globally prominent creative talents from New York to shoot its campaign.
The process of selecting the campaign talents to work with was a tedious one, but at the same time, an almost-no-brainer for Momoi.
To achieve the creative quality that is expected of global brand promotion, Momoi sought to work with an artist who has an extensive background and experience in creative direction; someone who has already worked with international brands; and someone who has a clear understanding of the vision of Strokes as a makeup brand.
The first and only choice was an international creative directing genius.
New York-based Filipino Creative Director Audie Umali has been tapped by several other Filipino brands in the past. Strokes, however, is the first Philippine-based company he has ever worked with.
“The team at Strokes approached me with an intriguing proposition: to help shape their new beauty brand by bringing the craft and aesthetic sensibilities of a global brand to a homegrown Manila brand,” said Audie in an email interview.
Audie has only ever worked with big global beauty and luxury brands in New York, London, and Paris, and thought “it would be an interesting endeavor to work on a Filipino brand, (since I’ve never done so), and bring my experience and expertise to the project.”
Dubbing New York as “the capital of the beauty business”, Audie found it fit for a brand to start its global journey in the city that never sleeps.
“Many iconic beauty brands are headquartered here and many top-notch beauty campaigns are produced here, so you have a lot of creative talent here with rich experience in the category. “
Audie remarked that the creative team working on this Strokes project has worked with many high caliber beauty brands such as Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, Mac, Revlon, and Laura Mercier. Given this, he notes, “our collective experience working in beauty helps to bring that global approach that the Strokes team is looking for.”
The conceptualization for the whole creative work and campaign were done through seemingly endless hours of Zoom meetings, an unavoidable measure that they had to undertake in the midst of a global pandemic.
Despite the limitations, however, the results were a visual masterpiece.
Audie drew inspiration for the creative process and decisions from the products’ benefits and attributes. He recalled, “Each product has its own distinctive product story and style, and we wanted to bring that to life through the women we portrayed in the campaign.”
He refers to the images as “a celebration of multi-dimensionality of women, reflecting all the different facets of their beauty and style,” with some conveying “youthful sensibility”, some “a sense of street cool and hipness”, and some “portraying a look that is more chic, understated and effortless”.
“We have shots that make more of a bold glam statement, where we transformed our models into bold glamazons reminiscent of old-school supermodels. Then there are images that convey a softer, more feminine, romantic feeling,” he added.
For Audie, what sets Strokes apart from other beauty brands is its roots that blossomed into a level of mastery and expertise that they translated into a line of readily available cosmetic products.
“Brow artistry is at the heart of the Strokes brand, so naturally they have an impressive portfolio of brow products unlike any other local brand. Whatever brow look you can dream up, Strokes has the products to make that happen. In general, a lot of care and consideration was put into the formulation and design of their products, and you can see how that quality translates in the makeup payoff on the models.”
Featured in the New York shoot are models from varying ethnic backgrounds and gender, all of which having impressive portfolios under their belts that catapulted them to top-model status. Frank Reps’ Hikaru Hirano, whose past works were featured in the likes of Vogue Arabia and Harper’s Bazaar U.S., was the shoot’s hairstylist.
Of the models’ selection process, Audie rounded up a roster of models whose beauty would resonate not only with the Filipinos, but with the rest of the world.
“It was our objective to cast a diverse group of faces that felt ‘global’, and we’ve landed on a group of faces that we feel reflect that – from a true morena Filipina beauty to a biracial Latina/African-American to a Taiwanese freckled male and many in-between,” Audie said.
Among the campaign ravishers are Merille Raagas, the Filipina model from STATE Management; Haejin Lee, the Korean stunner from Wilhelmina Models; and other models to keep an eye out for.
The makeup artist, internationally recognized maven Misha Shahzada, was introduced to Filipino cosmetic products during the shoot, and the brand did not disappoint.
“I appreciated the range of products and quality/longevity,” said Misha in an email interview.
Additionally, she said, “Considering the brand stemmed from primarily eyebrow products, it’s quite amazing how nicely it’s expanded while not compromising its quality and integrity.”
Leading the brand’s threshold cross from service to products is the introduction of the Microblade Pen Perfector, a bleed-proof and long-wearing brow beautifying tool that makes perfection a norm rather than a standard.
Inspired by the Japanese art of precision, Founder and CEO Momoi Supe developed the detailing pen that fills in and defines natural-looking brows, with an ultra-fine brush tip that creates the thinnest hair-like strokes for microblade-worthy effects without the blade.
It is the anchor product of The Brow Artist Collection, the brand’s eyebrow cosmetics line that was made to challenge deeply rooted beliefs of high quality having to come at a high price. It consists of the Brow Painter, Brow Sculptor Duo, Brow Colorist, and the Brow Fixer, all of which being essential tools to achieving the perfect brow look for any occasion.
From the eyes of an in-demand makeup artist, Misha described Strokes as “a unique and very user-friendly [brand] even for individuals who have very little to no makeup experience.”
Designed in California and made in PRC of responsibly sourced global ingredients, the cruelty free products boast of its top-level and premium quality.
All products are infused with vitamin C, hydrolyzed rice proteins, and hyaluronic compounds to volumize brows, and the collection’s proprietary modern formula provides perfect strokes all day against water, sweat, and humidity using modern and advanced water-resistant technology.
Other products created and developed by the company will be launched within the next few months.
To say that Momoi believes in his brand’s potential to be internationally recognized would be an understatement. It’s more than the high-end campaign and the branding having global appeal; it’s the drive to do justice to the products’ potential that the brand was built upon.
Strokes’ venture from local excellence to intercontinental prestige is set to become an impactful moment in Philippine — and eventually, global — cosmetics history. Bringing everyday confidence to beauty enthusiasts from all over the world through its makeup artistry, its unique, ambitious, and fearless vision will not only put the brand on the map; it will signify the dawn of a new era of beauty.
From the Philippines with love, Strokes Beauty Lab is ready to make its arrival in the international beauty scene in true New York style: loudly magnificent, irresistibly vibrant, and stunningly unforgettable.