Espionage Cosmetics: We’re a Couple of Nerdy Misfits

I’ll be honest, I suck at nail art. Painting cute little designs on my nails is just not in my wheelhouse of creativity or patience. So when I heard about Espionage Cosmetics nail wraps I was over the moon! I got my first set, Time Lord, back in April and wore them for my Doctor Who themed birthday. Since then I’ve been a fan of Espionage Cosmetics, so much so that I got their beta box! And now I’ve finally asked the co-founder of EC for an interview, so without further ado…

Brewing a Business

Since 2011, our team of determined nerd misfits have been constantly busy with crazy “what if?!?” ideas, crazier product research and marketing strategy, and lots of mad-sciencing. We’re constantly dreaming up new product lines and finding new ways to reach and respond to our customers. Killer convention booths, special retail events, online promotions, and the most colorful, creative Instagram feed and followers—we do it all with the loving obsession of your garden variety nerd fanatic.

The Espionage Cosmetics All-Nerd Team

Our company is run by an all-pro, all-nerd team that is passionate about all of the geeky stuff in the ‘verse. We believe make-up is just one more way to feel amazing about your stylish, nerd-tastic self! Our goal is to create a space in the world where makeup is not intimidating and perfection is not required. Instead we hope to keep pushing the message towards a larger audience that makeup is supposed to be applied however makes YOU feel amazing. Not what beauty gurus, society, or even your best friend insist are the requirement.

A Love of Fandoms

The Espionage Cosmetics cosmetics, nail art, bath bombs, and other products are were all created to fuse our beloved fandoms and our adoration of bright colors, sparkles, and more. We are our own target market and so we construct only products that we wish existed for nerds like us! Every time someone shops on our website, purchases product at one of our convention booths, or talks about us on social media they are contributing to our experience points that inch us towards being able to create more jobs for fellow, professional, geeks who are looking for a place to call home. We have the best job in the world.

Espionage Cosmetics

1. What inspired the creation of espionage cosmetics?

As a working makeup artist I was already creating or using products that could be used in multiple ways. It is, simply put, more efficient. So when I formulated espionage, everything shadows to have multiple uses. The nerd-themes came in when I signed us up for the inaugural year of Geek Girl Con. We released our Gamer Girl & Browncoats collections which were themed for things that I loved so much about being a nerd. They went over SO fantastically that I realized no one thought it was weird to couple fandom and cosmetics. So we began to move entirely in that direction.

2. How do you come up with your designs?

Every product you see Espionage release is essentially a love letter from us to one of our many fandoms. The games, characters, storylines, worlds we care about and have invested our time into. We take what we love about those things and infuse it into our products. We just create what we want to buy. We are our own target market.

Espionage Cosmetics

3. How long does it take from idea to final product?

Because we are a smaller company our turn around is a lot quicker. For shadows it’s 1-2 months, nail wrap designs its 4-9 weeks, and lip serums its 2-3 months.

4. What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

Everything shadows: Borderlands Collection
Nail wraps: Mystical Mane and Nebulae
Lip Serums: Soulless and Cold Blooded Killer

Aside from specific products my favorite things are how we have come up with to convey to a larger market why our product is the way we talk to it w/ potential customers and have navigated our way, after 10s of thousands of interactions in person, to the bullet points that make their eyes light up. Seriously, the best thing in the world is seeing someone’s face when we say “Nerd Makeup” and explain that we hide easter eggs in all of our packaging, design, even on our website that people connected to that fandom will really get!

Espionage Cosmetics

5. What’s your most popular piece?

Nebulae nail wraps and the Browncoats collection are our bestselling!

6. You’ve got some fabulous nail wraps! I love the Doctor Who one! Can you share what’s your next design?

We do about 10 new designs per round. This round we have a collaboration with Wil Wheaton, two new licensed sets with our friends at Privateer Press for War Machine & Hordes, and of course our newly released work with Kelly Sue Deconnick for “Bitch Planet” and Matt Fraction for “Sex Criminals”. Those sets in particular are close to my heart because I love the comics, and the stories got picked up by Comics Alliance, The Mary Sue, Fashionably Geek, and other heavy hitters. It was awesome to see that people were as excited as were!

7. Tell us about your new subscription box!

Currently the sub box is in Beta, but it will go live to the public in December and ships January 2016! It’s $25 (+shipping & tax) and is worth more than $40 per month. There are two things that this box will do: It will allow us to continually introduce brand new products every month. From new everything shadows, to nail wraps, to serums on a more consistent basis. Additionally when we launch in January it will also include 1-2 items from another geeky company that we think you should know about!

Her Universe Fashion Show 2015

Now that the internet has returned at work I can proceed with my San Diego Comic Con recaps! After the Jet Set Nerds panel I was on finished, it was time to rush over to Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel for the Her Universe Fashion Show! As I didn’t attend last year, this was my first time at the show. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been to one nerdy fashion show before and it wasn’t the most well put together event so I was pleasantly surprised when Her Universe was spectacular!

Oh What a Night!

While waiting in line to get in I was asked to be interviewed. I wish the footage was posted so I could show you, but we talked about fashion, geek girl culture, and of course Her Universe. The lovely Jennifer Tisdale of Blondie Girl Productions was the one to interview me. Blondie Girl is one of three companies that put on the fashion show, the other two are Hot Topic and of course, Her Universe. I look forward to seeing how Blondie Girl gets more involved in the geek world!

her universe fashion show

We were handed wrist bands and escorted into the ballroom where the fashion show was to take place. I made sure to get a good spot, just to the right of the stage. Shortly after Ashley Eckstein took the stage! She looked lovely in a Princess Leia inspired dress! God I wish I had someone to make dresses like that for me! Her’s were made by last year’s winner Andrew Maclaine. The show proceeded with groups of designers. A compilation video of the designers speaking on their inspirations and aspirations were played, then came the dresses! And my god they were fantastic, amazing, extraordinary; there maybe not a proper word in the dictionary for what they were.

The Show Begins

We were handed wrist bands and escorted into the ballroom where the fashion show was to take place. I made sure to get a good spot, just to the right of the stage. Shortly after Ashley Eckstein took the stage! She looked lovely in a Princess Leia inspired dress! God I wish I had someone to make dresses like that for me! Her’s were made by last year’s winner Andrew Maclaine. The show proceeded with groups of designers. A compilation video of the designers speaking on their inspirations and aspirations were played, then came the dresses! And my god they were fantastic, amazing, extraordinary; there maybe not a proper word in the dictionary for what they were.

It was so inspiring to see how they took their favorite characters or fandoms and made them into designs. My favorites were the TARDIS from Doctor Who and the Game of Thrones Khaleesi dress.

her universe fashion show

The winners of the audience’s choice and judge’s choice were Leetal Platt’s transforming Sailor Moon dress and Kelley Cercone’s “Joker’s New Look” design respectively. And oh hey, does Baymax look familiar? Yep, that’s Khaleesi from my Wondercon Recap post! I look forward to next year’s show as this was the highlight of my San Diego Comic Con 2015!

Make sure to check out the Nerd Out calendar for the latest events!

Cosplay Tips & Tricks For Every Cosplay

Craigslist, flea markets, and second-hand stores will become your best friend. Network within the cosplay community for cosplay tips. You never know who will have an item or recommendation that you need. Look into cheaper synthetic fabrics. Sure they won’t always look EXACTLY like the character, but they can save you a lot of cash in the long run.

Coupons, coupons, coupons

Stores like Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics offer coupons on sale items and 20% on single items. Always look into free shipping offers and extra savings if you sign up for a store or site’s mailing list. They are easy to opt out of later. Post Halloween sales. Seriously, get on that.Utilize local crafting and sewing classes. I was able to take a sewing machine class at Joanne Fabrics where they showed me how to use my own machine. The cost was $10 per class. YouTube tutorials. Diagrams, images, written instructions and spoken advice won’t always have the answer you need.

Use reference images of every angle. And DON’T stress your self out over your body image. We won’t always have the same body as our character did on tv. And that is perfectly ok. Don’t use too much glue or adhesive. It becomes heavy and malleable over time. Utilize small repair kits. Hand out cards with your Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr handle to find pictures of yourself. Give yourself enough time to plan and create your costume. Give yourself enough time to get ready and for bathroom breaks. Supportive undergarments can be a lifesaver. No shame in using them or not using them.

Comfort is Everything

Dr. Scholls WILL save you a weekend of pain. And they now come in many different sizes and styles. Wear your cosplay around your house for a day. Many times we get so excited to wear our cosplay for cons that we forget to think about how those long con days will affect our comfort. This includes preventing blisters, rashes and sometimes heat exhaustion. If you are creating your cosplay from scratch, sew in or add pockets to store money, keys, tickets and your phone. Carrying around a purse or worrying about where to store your essentials can be quite annoying.

Have fun. That is what cosplay if for.

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A Lesson We Could All Learn from Cinderella

From the reviews I had read on other sites this film wasn’t getting outstanding ovations. However, I think they overlooked the whole point of Cinderella. She was built on the ideal of ‘have courage and be kind’, which is the main theme of the film. Recently I worked at a place that wasn’t all that kind to me. In my own way I felt like Cinderella living with the Evil Stepsisters. It was a trying time to say the very least. In spite of this I had to stay strong and make a grand effort to be kind.

Kindness is not a trait of the weak, it is a trait of the strong. If you’ve even had to try really hard to be kind you most certainly know what I mean. After being belittled by her Wicked Stepmother she still was kind to not only her but even to the field mice who were her only friends. Instead of making the constant abuse harden her or make her a bitter person, she perservered. That kind of abuse eats away at a person, I don’t care who you are, it does. Kindness in the face of all else is a superpower no matter which way you slice it.

All Seemingly Lost

Then comes the moment when all seems to be lost, Cinderella cannot go to the ball. In this moment Cinderella is broken. Her mother’s dress torn, she’s crying her eyes out, and more importantly her spirit seems to be cracking. Yet, Cinderella being the product of hope is still kind to an old woman in rags who asks for a drink. Cinderella never put herself before others, she always thinks of others first. And as you may have guessed, she gets the old woman a drink and shortly after reveals herself as her Fairy Godmother.


Upon arriving at the ball Cinderella gets nervous. Who wouldn’t?!? She says something along the lines of ‘I’m just a girl’ to her lizard footman. To which he responds ‘and I just a lizard’. It’s a yes, you are just a girl, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t more. The belief in one’s self.

After the ball, the situation at home becomes even worse for poor Cinderella. However, though I pity Cinderella, she does not pity herself. She remains true to herself and is always herself. At one point she’s asked why she puts up with it all and she responds that she is caring for the house her parents loved. In essence she’s trying to keep the memories alive for herself. She remains hopeful and chooses to remember the good memories like her parents and the ball. Many of you could say this is denial, but I think this is strong will. To keep strong and have courage in the face of all else.

Have Courage and Be Kind

At the end of the film she not only stands up for herself but she is a big enough person to forgive her Wicked Stepmother. Forgiveness is hard, and to be honest I’m not all that great at it. So to see someone else forgive was touching for me. The whole film was to be honest. I think I cried on and off every fifteen minutes or so. So if you do take something away from this film, I hope it is to ‘have courage and be kind’. The end.

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