Kismet’s just a cute way of saying destiny or fate, which seems appropriate for Caitlin Picou, the mastermind behind the south Louisiana cosmetics brand.
Kismet has a slew of makeup products in its collection, including mascara, illuminator, lip scrub and, arguably the item the brand is best-known for, lipstick. Kismet offers nearly a dozen classic shades spanning the color spectrum on its website, plus glosses and liquid lipsticks. The brand even launched an online system to help customers match colors to their skin tones.
While Kismet’s products are paraben-free, phthalate-free, USA made and cruelty-free, Picou said she doesn’t see the brand as strictly organic. Rather, she makes sure the way the products are made match her morals, but she knows some products work better when they aren’t 100 percent natural.
“I’m a little conscious about certain ingredients personally, but I want something to work,” Picou said. “So it’s not like we’re an organic brand or anything like that…but we can choose to not put parabens in it, we can choose to not put phthalates in it, we can choose not to test on animals.”
Picou’s word-of-mouth business in south Louisiana has gotten a little more notoriety lately because of its appearance on the CNBC show “Billion Dollar Buyer,” which features CEO Tilman Fertitta traveling around the United States sampling products. During the show, businesses compete to land a deal with the mogul.
“Billion Dollar Buyer” reached out to Kismet with the prospect of the brand being featured on the show. Picou said she’s not completely sure how the show found out about her business.
“It’s been a little crazy, like I didn’t really expect it to take off like it did, which is a good problem to have, but we keep selling out of everything,” Picou said. “Every time we restock, it goes out.”
She said the brand is trying to keep up with new demand for Kismet products while trying to create new inventions at the same time. But Picou didn’t start out in the cosmetics world. After trying a few career ideas, she fell into the business.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, just like probably the majority of everyone in college,” Picou said.
She started her journey at LSU in pre-med, then switched to public relations, and upon graduation got a job in the oil and gas industry, but that was the year before the economy went south. She soon lost that job and found herself in the Dallas/Fort Worth area looking for new employment.
A family friend knew someone at TIGI, the hair care company that makes the popular Bed Head products, and eventually landed a job in product development with the company. She didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the beginning of Kismet.
“I loved coming up with product ideas and working with labs and just developing stuff, and that was what I found that I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Picou said.
Kismet is still a small operation—It’s just Picou, one employee and an intern. She runs it out of her house, which works well because most of the tasks she does are digital.
Picou has always loved cosmetics, like most girls do, she said, and growing up she was always interested in fashion and the latest haircare products. She got her license as a makeup artist to further her knowledge in beauty application.
Picou isn’t a chemist, so she works with labs to create the products Kismet sells. She chooses which ones to work with by what they’re best at. Once she finds the right lab for the product she has in her head, she tells them what she wants to create in detail. She gets samples, which she and friends test out, and then she sends feedback to the lab.
“It’s basically just like tweaking it until I’m happy with it,” Picou said.
Kismet’s next foray will be into the skincare and bath and body area. Picou said her goal is to launch a new product every quarter. Right now, she’s working on creating a face mask. On the cosmetics side of things, she’s working on creating an eyeshadow pallette.
What makeup trend is she loving right now?
“What I’m really loving right now is more the strobing versus contouring, and just kind of like that ethereal, very moisturized, less rough look. I think like for the past couple of seasons it’s been heavy on the bronzer, heavy on the contouring…with strobing, it’s more of just focusing on illuminating and not really the bronzer part, which is nice because it doesn’t look as harsh.”
Photos by Amber Law and Taylor Hunter.