Photographed by Osvaldo Ponton
When word got out about SPKTRM Beauty, a startup brand vowing inclusivity, the response was overwhelmingly positive. “People are happy to see more transparency and authenticity in marketing materials,” says Jasmine Glass, co-founder of SPKTRM. “[It helps] dismantle unrealistic ideals that place a lot of pressure on people, especially women.”
The New York-based brand, which launched in August, is eco-friendly, PETA-certified, and has already turned heads in the beauty world for its choice to ban model retouching entirely. SPKTRM’s Instagram feed, while small, shows the first shots of its premiere campaign, boasting a diverse range of people—all without an ounce of Photoshop. The brand plans to shoot more images for the campaign and will continue to include models of all ages, genders and ethnicities.
While SPKTRM has yet to release any products, Glass says the brand’s priority is foundation. Staying true to the idea of inclusivity, the foundation collection is set to include a whopping 50 shades—if not more. “Foundation is the product that most women have difficulty finding in the right shade, so that’s what we’re most excited to provide,” she explains.
In order to make the dream of SPKTRM a reality, Glass, along with her co-founders Ehlie Luna and AnnaLiisa Benston, began raising funds for SPKTRM through an Indiegogo campaign. Glass was recently accepted into an accelerator program, which could help the brand secure investors and gain valuable industry knowledge.
It hasn’t always been an easy road for these beauty entrepreneurs, however—the glass ceiling is ever-present for women hoping to start a business. Glass says this has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome in their journey to launch SPKTRM. “For women entrepreneurs in general, getting funding to launch and grow effectively is the most challenging,” Glass reveals. “Women-led ventures secured only 2% of all venture capital last year.”
But Glass knows how powerful representation is and believes SPKTRM could help change society’s perception of what a woman should be. She hopes that by positively representing real people, especially women, she can help alter the idea of what real beauty is.
In addition to banning Photoshop, the brand has also sworn never to use the term “anti-ageing,” breaking down the idea that beauty exists within the confines of youth. “I think the mindful use of language is important in general, as well as within the beauty industry,” says Glass. “Women are bombarded with various terms everywhere they look that are meant to make them feel like they need to be younger, thinner, etc. The use of the term anti-ageing contributes to an ageist society that can make some women feel undervalued once they’ve reached a certain age.”
Although the brand is still in its early stages, the positive response from media and consumers alike has shown Glass the power of what SPKTRM Beauty is capable of. Someday Photoshopped ads of poreless models with unreal features could be a thing of the past. Glass cites this as the most enlightening part of starting her own business: “Recognizing that I can contribute to the positive change that I want to see in various industries, and in society in general, is an empowering feeling.”