169 – From make-up artist to product innovator – Phyllis Cohen, Face Lace

On today’s episode, we’re being joined by make-up artist Phyllis Cohen, who is also the founder of a business called Face Lace.

Phyllis started her career as a make-up artist in the ‘80s during the New Romantic era when her illustrative make-up appeared in magazines such as i-D.

She’s also worked her make-up magic on everyone from David Bowie and Lady Gaga to Zandra Rhodes.

Phyllis is a great example of someone who had an idea for a product that no one had ever made before, and through sheer determination and meeting the right UK manufacturer at the right time she was able to get her idea to market.

Her Face Lace is something to behold. If you have not come across Face Lace before, they are elaborate makeup designs that can be applied in a few seconds, look precise, symmetrical and stay perfect until they came off. The original designs looked like lace had been drawn onto the face, hence the name, but other pieces within the collection are encrusted with crystals, pearls and holographic materials.

Of course, with every novel new product, there always follows the copycats. And Phyllis tells of the trouble she has had with counterfeits of her designs appearing which she has had to overcome.

You can see some of Phyllis iconic work as a make-up artist here:

Phyllis Cohen Make-up Archives


  • How Phyllis went from being an illustrator to a celebrity make-up artist 02:50
  • How Phyllis came up with the idea for her innovative Face Lace product 12:41
  • How she first developed the product that later became Face Lace 22:04
  • The challenges of finding the right materials and how she overcame them 22:47
  • How she found her first manufacturer 23:44
  • Why she goes to visit her UK manufacturers regularly 29:26
  • How Face Lace was worn by Lady Gaga at the SuperBowl 32:18
  • How Face Lace has been copied and how Phyllis has copyrighted her designs 37:40
  • The advice she would give to someone else developing a new, innovative product 42:50


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