To celebrate International Women's Day and the #BalanceForBetter movement, we spoke to the co-founders of Morphe Linda and Chris Tawil to know more about how this cult brand started, as well as some of its biggest achievements in the industry. In an exclusive interview for the lookfantastic Beauty Box Magazine, discover more about the faces behind one of the world's biggest and most iconic makeup brands.
A Q&A with Chris & Linda Tawil, Co-Founders of Morphe
- Morphe has an incredible brand presence and awareness now, where did you start in the beauty industry?
- When we started with Morphe, Chris and I had very little beauty industry knowledge. We came from different backgrounds, so becoming familiar with the beauty industry was definitely a challenge. But Chris and I had the same goal and the same vision: we wanted to expand Morphe from its trade show roots into retail, and perhaps more importantly, we wanted to offer killer makeup that wouldn't kill your wallet. I think working together to stay true to that goal and that vision has really helped us get where we are today.
- Was creating a brand like Morphe something that you always wanted to do?
- Even early on, I was passionate about giving people a high-quality product at an affordable price. I wanted to create something that people needed and make it accessible. Though I don’t think I could have imagined Morphe as it is today even in my wildest dreams! It’s been such an amazing adventure watching it grow.
- Could you share with us a little of the backstory as to how Morphe began?
- Morphe began as a trade show business. When we first started, Chris and I did most of the work on our own. We travelled more than 20 times a year to different trade shows across the U.S. to sell our brushes and introduce people to our brand. Back then, we didn’t have a lot of money to hire people. We set up, worked, and shut down our booths ourselves. Sometimes we’d take turns going to the smaller shows to try to give each other a little break. Chris drove our tradeshow setup and merchandise from state to state, trade show to trade show, to help save on shipping costs. There were times when he was away from home for a month at a time. We made so many sacrifices and did everything we could to save money. Eventually, we got to know people, and we got to know the industry. We built a larger-than-life fam of makeup artists and beauty pros who believed in us and our products. By talking and listening, we quickly saw ways we could differentiate Morphe in a highly competitive landscape. For example, we saw a need to give makeup lovers a lot of eyeshadows for not a lot of money. This was how our iconic 35-color eyeshadow palette was born. It literally broke the Morphe website when we first sold it. But I think the one thing that sets Morphe apart are our Morphe Babes. They truly are our family, and we wouldn’t have made it this far without all their love and support. Social media has been crucial in spreading the word about our products and our brand. We started on Instagram in 2012 and now have more than 8 million Instagram followers. Morphe’s first Burbank store, which opened in 2013, became a beauty mecca. Both makeup pros and aspiring artists traveled for miles for a chance to experience Morphe products in real life. Now we have 23 stores (and counting!), including 20 in the U.S., 2 in the U.K. and 1 in Canada. I’m so grateful to all the people who’ve helped us along the way.
- Did you ever think that Morphe would develop into what it is now?
- Of course, I’ve always believed in Morphe, and I’ve put a lot of heart and hustle into creating it. But even now, it still feels surreal. Every store opening, every internet-breaking collab, walking into our offices and seeing all the people who are joining the Morphe fam every day… the reality has far surpassed anything I could have dreamt up.
- Do you have a motto or ethos you live by with regards to business or life?
- Chris and I have a welcome note that we give to anyone who joins Morphe. In it, we talk about how we’ve always believed that you can be kickass and kind. I think that applies to both business and life. At Morphe, we’ve tried to create a culture where everyone is part of the family. Everyone has a voice, a place at the table, and ideas to share.
- What is the best piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to make a mark in the beauty industry?
- When you love what you do, everything else falls into place. Chris and I didn’t come from the beauty world. We weren’t beauty experts. But we were always passionate about creating affordable products with impeccable quality.
- Did you ever have a moment where you thought "we've done it!"?
- When we opened our first Morphe store in 2013, everything just kind of blew up. People were lining up to get inside. We heard from people all over the country about how they made the drive to Burbank to be able to see all their fave products in one place, or how they planned a stop to the Morphe store during a family vacation to Disneyland. That was a real eye-opening moment for us.
- What are your top 3 beauty products that you wouldn't be able to live without?