When Kat Von D Beauty launched in 2008, the industry had never seen anything like it. The formulas were more high-octane than anything on the market, the handcrafted packaging resembled real-life works of tatooed art, and its edgy brand voice spoke to demographics long ignored. Fast forward 13 years and you’ll find some things have changed. Founder and tattoo extraordinaire Kat Von D stepped down in Jan. 2020 and the brand changed its name to KVD Beauty. But those two shifts are only the tip of the iceberg of a major rebrand that's occurring — and this "marketing facelift" is one you'll want to see (and experience) yourself.
"As a beauty rebel, the brand has connected in an epic way with artists, makers, and beauty outsiders and insiders," Sarah Koch SVP of Ole Henriksen, BITE Beauty, and KVD Beauty tells TZR. "But over the last three years, the brand has veered off course. Our founder has departed, paving the way for something new, fresh, and modern. We will return to our rebel spirit connecting to future generations and above all."
That begins with a new name. Once standing for the initials of the brand's founder, KVD Beauty now represents kara, veritas, decora — which mean value, truth, and beauty respectively in Latin. The brand's target audience, however, will remain the same, with the "edgy makeup maximalist" at the forefront of everyone’s mind. According to Koch, the rebrand will focus on five key points. First, KVD will strengthen the efficacy of its cult-favorite SKUs. Secondly, it'll be launching a new guard of core hero products. The brand will also revive its one-of-a-kind covetable packaging, and plans to reestablish itself as a leader in world-conscious yet artistry-level makeup. Lastly, it'll take strides to disrupt the industry with innovation and never-before-seen shades.
"We wanted to look at current references in fashion, style, music, and culture," Tara Loftis VP of global brand marketing says. "We're aware that our creative references are going to continue to evolve and be updated. That said, if you don't continue to update them, we're going to be having the same conversation in 13 years. This was a brand that previously had a founder-first marketing approach, and we want to have a client-first approach in this new chapter."
That first display of said "client-first approach" comes in the form of a striking campaign. "We had Christian Childs — who's not only a makeup artist, but also has a hobby as a photographer — take photographs for this campaign," Loftis says. "He shot these women one-on-one, did their makeup, did their hair, and did the photography." The task of picking diverse models was equally as important. "We want women to see themselves in our advertising and connect with it," she says. "So we hired these four beautiful women who represent different areas of the globe. It's definitely not overblown polished, it's the opposite. It's gritty. It looks like something you might've created with your girlfriend before you go out dancing."
Diversifying the team is also a major initiative presented by KVD Beauty. Miryam Lumpini, acclaimed tattoo artist whose clients include Kehlani and Slick Woods, was named global director of tattoo artistry. The relationship is organic. "I've been a fan of the brand since the very beginning," Lumpini says. "It was the first brand that truly embraced tattoo culture and they share similar values that I hold. Not to mention, KVD Beauty has the best quality and high-performing products that allow me to express myself. Their products are intentionally made."
But make no mistake, Lumpini was most drawn to the brand's emphasis on individuality. "KVD Beauty embraces creativity and alternative style at a new level, which is self-expression through art," she says. "The first thing that attracted me to this, the fact that they are vegan just made me love them even more."
Adding to the impressive roster is makeup extraordinaire Anthony Nguyen, global veritas artistry ambassador. "Makeup has served as my creative outlet for storytelling and with the versatility of KVD Beauty products, the possibilities are endless," he says. "I have always been a fan of their products because they truly offer high performance and high pigment products that are staples in my kit and allow me to create so many different looks for my clients."
Nguyen says that KVD Beauty products encourage him to step outside the box. "I love to challenge myself creatively as a makeup artist so their message of being fearless and rejecting conventional beauty standards resonates with me and inspires me," he says. "I love what they stand for. There are no limitations on the looks that can be created using KVD Beauty."
The complete rebrand rollout will continue into 2022, with brand-new products, unique and innovative packaging, and even more badass campaigns.