Millennials, the prime buying market, love personalized or custom products. Take, for example, Custom Tobacco, a company which allows you to fully customize your cigar from the filler to the band. There is even iDessert, a cafe which allows customers to design their own dessert. Clearly customizable products are trending. IMX Cosmetics, an up and coming custom makeup company, pioneers beauty technology in the cosmetics industry. Its customizable products are changing the game of makeup by allowing consumers to customize their makeup to the exact color they want and more.
Founder and CEO, Dr. Julie Bartholomew is an international best-selling author. She earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and went on to med school at Wayne State University, both located in prominent Michigan cities. Her experience as a CEO makes her an intellectual property expert with award-winning inventions as a successful social entrepreneur. She has also spoken for TedX and at international conferences, using her background to inspire others. With years of experience in her fields and a passion for creating new technology, Julie is changing the cosmetics world as we know it.
Not only is she innovating the cosmetics industry, she also uses her success to inspire others. She encourages and supports women in STEM fields by giving them a platform on social media and through her public speaking. As a CEO and founder, she has delved out business advice at many conferences, including the “Girls are IT Conference,” the FounderMade Beauty Summit, and the Global Health and Beauty Association on three separate occasions.
She also started an education program for underserved youth in metro Detroit. As a Michigan native, the regrowth of Detroit is an important and exciting project to Dr. Bartholomew. To help with this, she founded the Detroit-based program, INFYOOZ Detroit (previously called Elevate Detroit). INFYOOZ Detroit educates disadvantaged students through hands-on innovation opportunities and mentorship with other successful entrepreneurs. Her giving back to the community illustrates Dr. Bartholomew’s dedication to young minds and the STEM field.
Power of 100 Women
Dr. Bartholomew also supported female entrepreneurs in the past through the organization, Power of 100 Women. This organization works through the Michigan Women’s Foundation and supports the idea that women can accomplish anything through each other. Power of 100 Women essentially acts as a support group to help the economic empowerment of Michigan’s female population. Collectively, the group has launched a Michigan Woman’s Microloan Fund, which supports up-and-coming female entrepreneurs, and leads the Women’s Agenda for the state of Michigan.
Members contribute through mentorship and volunteering their time along with their money. To create the Microloan Fund, members are required to give $3,000 over the course of 3 years as part of membership dues. The members of Power of 100 Women not only consist of successful women but also men who dedicate themselves to promoting women.
Dr. Bartholomew first thought of customized makeup from the paint counter at a hardware store. If you’ve never been, customers can go in and color match or mix their ideal shade of a color for the paint. The software for this is fairly simple and it allows customers to get exactly what they want. Since its introduction to the market, the software has become the most popular paint selection tool.
Seeing its popularity, Dr. Bartholomew started working with engineers and filing patents to create a similar system which will customize makeup. 17 years have passed since the company started and Dr. Bartholomew has won many awards for her innovative technology. For her next project, Dr. Bartholomew wishes to go into biotech innovations. Biotechnology uses the biology of organisms and consumers to improve the quality of human life. For example, in the medical field biotech has modified organisms to produce antibiotics.
After being inspired by the paint counter, Dr. Bartholomew founded IMX Cosmetics (pronounced “I mix” because YOU, the consumer mixes the product) in 2000. The company started out testing machines at select Nordstrom, Barneys, and Fred Segal locations. These machines mix and dispense any cosmetic product on site in the store, giving customers instantaneous access to their personalized makeup. The cosmetics available include liquid and powder foundation, nail polish, lipstick, lip gloss, cheek and eye color, and skincare products. In order to create this machine, Dr. Bartholomew has worked with engineers to develop exclusive technology. This technology is flexible and easily integrates into existing systems, making it universally adaptable.
Staying inside the beauty world, IMX is exploring consumer-driven devices. For example, Dyson’s new hairdryer changed the engineering and design of a bathroom staple for the first time in decades. Similarly, IMX is developing beauty products that are ready for a revolution. This business model is based on disrupting an existing industry and changing the game, which just happens to be Dr. Bartholomew’s specialty.
Accessing the Mass Market
In order to remain competitive, the company has filed over 70 patents for the customizable makeup technology. This makes the product exclusive and unique to IMX Cosmetics. Dr. Bartholomew is currently selling the patent portfolio through ipCapital Group to bring the Mixer to the mainstream market. As Dr. Bartholomew says, “The beauty market is poised perfectly for IMX technology, given the high interest of millennials in personalized products, instantaneous delivery, and use of mobile devices.” She saw the market trends of personalized and custom products and quickly acted on it.
How do you customize the makeup?
Now that you know about IMX Cosmetics, you must be wondering how the process works. The cosmetics are distributed through a dispenser known as the Mixing Station™. Customers can go up to the station and choose their colors from an onscreen palette. They can further customize their makeup with different finishes, scents, flavors, and glitters.
Once the customer picks their choices, the machine gets to mixing the product and dispenses it right there. When the product is sold, the machine then saves the recipe on an RFID keyfob (or MX Stick) for the customer to attach to their keychain. This way, the customer can easily get a refill without having to login or remember the recipe themselves.
For consumers who need to try on a product before buying, IMX has pre made samples available. These are perfect for testing the quality of the makeup itself, but many customers also need to check the colors. To solve this problem, the machine also includes an augmented reality mirror which will overlay the custom makeup over your face. This allows you to see exactly how the makeup product you designed looks on your face and make color adjustments accordingly.
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