“I’m so pretty… oh so pretty…”
I’ll admit it. I hesitated to write this article for several weeks even though the idea of it has been running around the confines of my brain for ages. As a gamer and generally accepted nerdbiscuit, the one thing I hate more than Pepsi-induced sticky keys, “Cannot connect to server” messages, and gold farmer advertisements in [gen]-chat is the exploitation of the things I love best.
I count sensationalist stories with only the most tenuous relationship with gaming in this category. You know the kind I mean. An Australian serial killer being denied a computer (sorry, “PS3”), for one.
I also count ridiculous Etsy sellers who churn out garbage sewed around/tied to other garbage in order to make ‘one of a kind’ art. I think Lord of the Rings, and Steampunk get the shortest end of this particularly stupid stick, but we gamer fans get more than our fair share of dubious fanart and ugly pendants, all in a bid to make easy money off of rabid fans.
But then there are those sellers who are legitimately inspired by the source material to create the beautiful things that they do, and want to share that with fellow fans. It’s a fine, distinctly fuzzy line, but it honestly makes all the difference to me, and I want to help put these names out there.
Enter Geek Chic Cosmetics
I first found out about Geek Chic through Anastasia’s (long on hiatus) blog, Lipsticks & Lightsabers. She, like me, believes “that ‘geek chic’ isn’t a pink iPod, and that it’s not necessary to make technology safe for women to use. I, and my nerdy brethren, want to look pretty while we’re pwning your ass.” Not superiority, just equality with a twist.
So when she posted more than once about all the shiny coming out of this up-and-coming company, I was already intrigued. Add in my undeniable love for bright colors, Geek Chic’s awesome sales, and one of my favorite photographer/models doing a set of promo photos for them, and I simply had to have some for myself.
About the Company
Launched June 2010, Geek Chic is one of a few indie makeup companies with nerdy-themed makeup. These days in 2013, the site has taken a turn for the better with a cleaner, prettier layout; clearer images for colors and swatches; and a gallery of gorgeously and professionally shot promotional photos.
The company makes a variety of different cosmetics, from lipsticks to glosses, foundations and blushes to solid scents and nail polishes, but their eyeshadows are where the magic’s at. Boasting just under 20 different collections, and just over 130 different shadows, a good quarter of them are game-related while the rest run high to current TV nerdloves.
Each and every one of them costs $5.99 (although there is always one set on sale each month; this month is Star Trek) and comes complete with a product description that outlines the link between the shadow color with its nerdy inspiration, plus a description of the color and the contents—more information than many a company is willing to offer you.
Furthermore, yes, I’m aware selling these things on a commercial level occasionally toes the line of copyright legalities, but in the interests of supporting a burgeoning fan community sometimes you gotta aim to misbehave. And in this case, you don’t even have to. As stated on their site with regards to the “boring legal stuff”:
“Our products borrow conceptually from the intellectual properties they are inspired by. It’s our way of paying homage to the forms of entertainment we enjoy. Not only do we avoid using the names of characters or concepts that are trademarked or copyrighted themselves, we think it’s more fun that way. None of our product names use trademarked or copyrighted terms to the best of our research, and all of our images and packaging utilize unique artistic interpretations/adaptations of the concepts they are inspired by, with the consent of the artists involved.
We believe all of our names and images are used fairly, and serve as a salute to the IPs we respect and admire. We do not believe our adaptations interfere in any way with the originality or profitability of their sources of inspiration. Finally, we do not believe the use of the names and images on our site ‘will cause a likelihood of confusion between products among the relevant consuming public’ (the litmus for brand dilution). In other words, we trust our community to know the difference between an eyeshadow and a 40-hour harrowing RPG video game or a multi-million dollar tabletop gaming franchise.”
I’ve bought from Geek Chic twice. Both times were during a sale, so while it took a while for my orders to arrive, I completely understand the delay in turnaround and shipping times (not to mention the fact that I live in Canada). And if I hadn’t already found myself jumping through creative hoops to find space for my burgeoning collection of eyeshadows, I would long have bought the rest of the collective, sale or no sale.
The Geek Glosses didn’t sell me, I found the formula a little too sticky for my personal taste, but quite pigmented and exactly what they advertised. The solid scents too were a little hit-and-miss for me; the panda-themed one was cute and lovable whereas the Sephiroth one smelled a little like a Christmas tree air freshener.
But the eyeshadows! Their colors are gorgeous, highly pigmented, and manage to be distinctly unique. In the world of eyeshadow, if you’ve gone shopping around a few times, it starts to become very difficult to find new shadows in shades you don’t already have a pretty close dupe of.
In the case of any communication I had with them (whether through their Facebook or directly through customer service), I found them prompt, polite, and utterly dedicated to making sure that they fix the problem.
I ran into an issue with one of the shadows I received where this arrived like this:
One of the key ingredients hadn’t been mixed in properly. They replied to me almost immediately and shipped me a replacement the next day. You can get good products anywhere, but after more than one headdesk incident trading emails with cheap Chinese re-sellers that consistently try and argue with you, I have long since learned to appreciate the value of good, honest, prompt and pleasant customer service.
All in All
If good intentions alone could sell me, they’ve already sold me. Solid, unique, and gorgeous products with proven efforts to improve wherever possible; exemplary customer service; and a readily-demonstrated love of all things geekery that I can immediately recognize and connect with, Geek Chic have got all their bases covered.
Now, I’ve been gunning on finding time to finally make more headway into the Mass Effect trilogy… I’m already counting down the days before I start eyeing Geek Chic’s N7 collection all over again. I’ve already snagged N7 and Matriarch but that Element Zero…
It calls to me. IT CALLS TO ME.