brands people crave
All Aboard - Stowaway Cosmetics

All Aboard: Stowaway Cosmetics

The beauty industry generates approximately $60 billion in sales each year. Competition for customers is fierce, and getting noticed is vital to the success of a brand. Stowaway Cosmetics was founded by Chelsa Crowley and Julie Fredrickson, a beauty expert and a serial entrepreneur, who combined their strengths into a brand women love. Both women bring their strengths to the brand, which was the recipient of the 2015 Company of the Year: Excellence in Packaging award. Entrepreneurs can make insights of the brand’s packaging to inspire their own products.

Perfecting their niche was perfecting their size

The practical size of Stowaway’s products are perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle. Most women carry quite a bit in their handbags, from spare diapers to iPhones and tablets. Full-sized cosmetics can wear on the shoulder and create a bulging makeup bag that is not practical.

In her interview with Beauty Packaging Magazine Fredrickson explains: “Stowaway started because we both dealt with this problem of cumbersome heavy, impossible-to-finish makeup in different ways: either carrying an entire makeup bag filled with heavy glass jars or subscribing to any box-of-the-month club and buying gift-with-purchase packages just to receive the gift, in order to collect smaller products that fit into our lives. We knew the smaller sized products existed and were frustrated that we weren’t able to find them on a consistent basis for purchase.” Her partner Crowley goes on to say: “We were unable to find the makeup we loved in the sizes that made sense for our lifestyles. It’s no longer the 1950s—women are not sitting in the boudoir, they’re on the move and so is their makeup. We wanted to create a brand that fit into modern women’s lives.”

Stowaway cosmetics found a pain point, a hidden niche in the market. Touted as “right-sized make-up”, Stowaway’s smaller packaging makes it easier to finish a product before its expiration date, a concern for women who want the best quality and look possible from their products.

Packaging & Color

The founders didn’t cut any corners with their packaging. The packaging is designed to be slim, compact and minimalist. Stowaway Cosmetics has purposely curated a collection that is purse-friendly and sophisticated. Anna Wintour declared gray the new neutral in Vogue’s 2015 September Issue. Stowaway’s packaging has a chic gray and white pallet, which serves two purposes: to complement most bags and prevent the awkward two-minute search for lipstick in purses with darker linings.

Their Business model

Beauty brands often find it to stand out on a crowded shelf. Their prices, likewise, often must also cover rented retail space. Stowaway circumvents that cost by making direct-to-consumer sales on their website.

Crowley explains: “Seventy percent of the total market share for the beauty industry is consolidated into the top ten conglomerates. In the U.S. alone, the beauty industry is a $60 billion industry that hasn’t changed its production and distribution model in years. Our technology-first focus differentiates our business model and allows us to thrive where wholesale driven brands cannot.

E-commerce has done away with the middleman and allows consumers to benefit from more reasonable price points and opens up opportunities for new beauty brands to make an impact on the beauty market.


Stowaway Cosmetics does many things right in creating a brand that people crave. The products are purse-friendly, with a compact size and a chic color theme. Their packaging and growth strategy has put them on the list of beauty brands to watch. Proof that good things do indeed come in small packages.

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