Getting to Know the Global Travelers Behind Nomad Cosmetics

I first heard of Nomad Cosmetics long before I started Indie Mood, through an Ipsy sample I received of the stunning blush / highlighter in the shade “Positano Sunrise”. Their powder formula was absolutely stunning – so illuminating but not the slightest bit glittery, ultra pigmented but not thick or cakey. I was hooked ever since! I got the opportunity to chat with Nomad Founders and World Travelers Felicia and Antti Rintanen to ask them all about their journey starting a business and creating travel inspired products.

IM: What inspired you to start your own brand of cosmetics?

N: We have worked in the beauty industry for years (collectively over 25 years) and we loved makeup – the creativity, the colors, and as we call it:  the perfect balance between functional and emotional. We also loved branding and business development after gathering a multitude of big company and small company experiences. But in 2014 we were at a point where we were ready for a change. So we discussed the following 3 options: a) start our own brand b) have a baby or c) get a puppy. We decided on option a in 2014 and began the work on Nomad. In 2016 we got the puppy so we will see what 2019 has to offer in terms of c! And what inspired Nomad specifically was after meeting in Switzerland and living in multiple cities and countries, we took 2 around the world trips where we went to multiple destinations right in a row. This allowed us to see the unique beauty in every destination and how it was always there but expressed differently – in makeup, fashion, architecture, art, food, etc. So we wanted to combine our love of makeup and our love of exploration together and created Nomad. 

Nomad Cosmetics Marrakesh Palette

IM: What was the first product that you created?  What was that experience like?

N: Our first creation were 4 All-in-one palettes focused on recreating the beauty looks of 4 different destinations. They included New York – urban edgy look; Stockholm – focus on the face; Florence – classic beauty of red lip and winged liner; and the last was Marrakesh which was all about the eyes. From there we saw that the consumer was really loving our powders so we focused on that superior formula and developed the range you see today, which include single shadows, highlighters, and palettes. 

Nomad Cosmetics Berlin Underground Palette

IM: I’ve heard that you visit each destination so you can design the product inspired by it on location.  What is that process like for you?

N: We absolutely love this part of the process because it is the fusion of the destination and the product. Before we choose any destination, we do go through a strategy discussion making sure our portfolio has a good balance of different destinations around the world, different color schemes, as well as trying to tie to the trends we are seeing in both makeup and travel. Then we design on location where the process varies depending on the location and what we are feeling and experiencing at the time. For example, Antilles was a very concrete experience.  Our favorite part of being in the Caribbean was watching the sun set over the ocean while sitting in the sand with a cocktail before dinner. So that palette is literally the view from that experience. It starts with the gold/yellow/brown of the sand, to the blue of the water, to the pinks, corals and purples of the sky during sunset. Whereas for Berlin there was a good amount of research done as we wanted to capture the culture that developed around the Berlin Wall. It is much more conceptual with its rusted metal shades and concrete wall shades with glimmers of gold to represent the hope as the humanity took down the wall and made Berlin such a unique city. Capturing that is much more abstract than the sunset of the Caribbean, but both are a part of the authenticity of the brand.

Nomad Cosmetics Antilles Palette

IM: What goals and aspirations do you have for your brand?

N: We want to continue developing creative beauty products that reflect the gorgeous diversity of this world. We are story tellers as much as makeup developers and we want to keep fusing those together to touch a consumer in a unique way. Since we are self funded and plan to continue to work on Nomad for the next at least 15 if not 20 years- we plan to continue to grow, learn at our pace, and enjoy the journey and experience as we go.

IM: What is it like running your business as a couple?

N: We would be lying if we said it was perfect every day! However, we both know the other person is super smart, talented and dedicated that it makes working together very special. We also hold to our strengths and although share everything about the business, we know our expertise and what we own and what we don’t. This allows us both to feel as if we are contributing based on our strengths. Since it is just the two of us full time, we are loving the work life balance we are creating together. If it is a beautiful Tuesday and we want to stop working at 3pm to walk the pup and stop and get a drink, then we do it. But then we also work Saturday and Sundays so it is a good balance for us.

Nomad Cosmetics Eyeshadow Vault

IM: How do you decide which product you create for each place?  For example, an eye palette inspired by Berlin vs. a highlighter inspired by Thailand.  

N: For us it is about what inspires us from that destination and this is evolving. When we first launched it was matching the product to a certain look in that destination. Florence being the image of Sophia Loren – red lips, winged liner for instance. But since there is so much diversity in each place, we wanted to tell a broader story. Therefore, we decide on the product based on the story we can tell. The Thailand highlighter is our moonlighter – it is a purplish highlighter that looks like moonlight over the beaches of Thailand. And it was inspired by Ko Pha Ngan which is an Island in Thailand that has these amazing full moon festivals. So for us, the purple duo-chrome highlighter made the most sense to capture that moonlight concept. For next year we are looking to expand a bit our product portfolio to bring in more makeup products that are popular in those destination. For instance, skin care in Asia. But for us, we still need the story from the destination as that is what makes us unique.

IM: What place have you been dying to visit lately?

N: Oh my gosh, so many! Surprisingly, neither of us have been to China so that will happen this year. We are looking for next year to have a super cool experience palette, so we are playing with Galapagos, Safari or the Orient Express. We love the common tourist destinations like Paris, London, and Rome, but we are always trying to find something unique that is a bit off the beaten path.

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