The team behind Sweat Cosmetics has some insider information when it comes to what active women want; they’re former (and current) collegiate, Olympic and professional athletes themselves. Co-founders Taryn Hemmings and Emily Hines, former teammates, recognized a need for a product that would provide sun protection and a bit of coverage and most importantly, could last through the toughest training session.
The duo often talked about the idea when they were playing soccer together at the University of Denver. A few years after their 2009 graduation, with the idea was still on their radar, Hemmings and Hines decided to take the plunge.
“We were finding that we weren’t alone in this, and we thought, ‘we can make something of this,’” Hines told Happi.com in a phone interview in July.
Hines is currently CFO and Hemmings is COO, in addition to being a pro soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars. The rest of the Sweat Cosmetics team includes CEO Courtney Jones, a former pro soccer player for the Boston Breakers; CMO Leslie Osborne, who is currently a Fox Sports commentator and has 62 international caps for the United States Women’s National Team; PR Director Lindsay Tarpley, a two-time Olympic gold medalist; and Meghan King Edmonds (brand ambassador and director of sales), who stars in the Real Housewives of Orange County and is married to former all-star baseball player Jim Edmonds.
By networking and not being too shy about their Olympic and pro sports resumes, the team was able to find a great mineral makeup partner, packaging provider and box supplier.
The Sweat Cosmetics roster includes Translucent Mineral Powder SPF 30 and Mineral Foundation SPF 30 (available in five shades). Key ingredients are zinc oxide, vitamin E, milk thistle and rhodiola rosea.
“We did a lot of research on cosmetics that we liked, and we were very particular about what we wanted in and what we didn’t want in the product and how it should feel,” said Hemmings. A mineral formulation seemed the best fit, she said, for its all-natural and almost naturally waterproof capabilities. The hypoallergenic and dermatologist-approved formulas are free of oil, fragrance, silicone and parabens.
The founders tested the formulations themselves, and for additional feedback, turned to teammates and friends, many of whom didn’t use a lot of makeup. Since the formulations were also providing vital sun protection, they realized their product shouldn’t look too much like, well, makeup.
“If we wanted them to pull it out at half time and apply, we couldn’t have a compact,” said Hemmings.
To that end, the product comes in soft-touch grip “twist brush” that marries “chic and athleticism” and can easily be stowed in a clutch or duffle bag. A modular unit, Sweat Cosmetics sells refills and the brush is detachable brush for easy cleaning. Prices range for $48 for the initial brush and powder, and powder or foundation and refills are priced at $25.
The target customer for Sweat Cosmetics is a woman living an active lifestyle—and that casts a wide net, from the professional athlete to college students to the young professional taking a 5:30 am spin class before work to the 40-something mom of two who is a CrossFit fanatic.
Sweat Cosmetics officially launched in early June online—in time for the Women’s World Cup, and word spread via social media with tweets from the likes of Carli Lloyd and Brandi Chastain, another well-known soccer star who also serves on the company’s advisory board. More recently, Sweat was onsite at the Fitness on the Rocks Festival, connecting with women who attended the event at Red Rocks in Colorado.
It is still early in the race, but Sweat is in it for the long haul—and has its eyes on making a name for itself by the time the Olympics come around, according to Jones. The firm is also looking into products, quite possibly wipes, lip balm and mascara.
But for now, these athletes recognize that success on the field—and in competitive cosmetics market—is the result of proper preparation.
“We spent a year and half just testing products. We didn’t go private label. We hand picked everything that went into the product. That gives us credibility,” said Jones.