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How Do Makeup Shades Get Their Names?

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What’s in a name? Quite a bit if it’s a lipstick, cheek stain, or nail polish. (After all, would OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark by any other name sound as cool?) Cosmetic marketing execs spend hours crafting the perfect monikers for their products. “Creating a name for a lipstick can honestly make it or break it,” Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ founder David Klasfeld explained to xovain.com last year. “Sometimes people will buy a shade simply because of the name, without any intent to use it.”

Specific methods vary from brand to brand. Nail guru Deborah Lippmann, for example, names all of her polishes after song titles “because I’m a jazz singer and so passionate about music,” while Nars founder Francois Nars—the man who created the label’s popular Orgasm blush—just aims to make a splash. “I gave the products names to make them more special, to bring them to life, to give them a personality,” he has said. “I wanted it to really click for women; I wanted them to remember the given product. It’s no longer just a tube of lipstick—it’s a movie or a character that you can identify with, a destination you travel to through products and colors. The names make the product ‘larger-than-life.’”

At most companies, naming products is a group effort. One exception: Essie. Founder Essie Weingarten dreams up the names for her lacquers—think Ballet Slippers and Marshmallow—solo. “I have creative people help suggest names, and some of them are really good!” she said in 2011. “But in the end, I decide.” At Urban Decay, employees can send suggestions that are filed away into a name library. For their “Vice” palettes options are categorized “into like ‘sex names,’ ‘drug names,’” co-founder and creative director Wende Zomnir has explained, “and when you think of a good name you put it into the name library.”

In Benefit’s San Francisco offices, regular naming meetings take place on Thursday mornings. “There are usually about ten of us gathered around our tin table, munching on Skittles and M&M's,” co-founder Jane Ford told Huffington Post in 2011. “The process is always done by democracy, everyone needs to buy into the name, whether it's a product name or shade name. Everyone votes, there are no egos and when we get it right everyone just lights up. We start by blurting out name ideas and then we vote thumbs up or thumbs down for our favorites. We don't try to be clever or witty, we try to come up with names that will make people laugh.”

Nail company OPI uses a similar process to craft its punny labels. They’ll fill a conference room with inspiration—if it’s a travel-themed collection, for example, there will be food from the country in question—and invite those with a knack for wordplay. CEO Suzi Weiss-Fischmann has joked it’s “six crazy people from marketing, Susan from purchasing and Elaine from customer service.” And they take the gig seriously—to name a 12-shade collection takes roughly eight hours!

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Pop Culture
How Jimmy Buffett Turned 'Margaritaville' Into a Way of Life
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Few songs have proven as lucrative as “Margaritaville,” a modest 1977 hit by singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett that became an anthem for an entire life philosophy. The track was the springboard for Buffett’s business empire—restaurants, apparel, kitchen appliances, and more—marketing the taking-it-easy message of its tropical print lyrics.

After just a few years of expanding that notion into other ventures, the “Parrot Heads” of Buffett’s fandom began to account for $40 million in annual revenue—and that was before the vacation resorts began popping up.

Jimmy Buffett performs for a crowd
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“Margaritaville,” which turned 40 this year, was never intended to inspire this kind of devotion. It was written after Buffett, as an aspiring musician toiling in Nashville, found himself in Key West, Florida, following a cancelled booking in Miami and marveling at the sea of tourists clogging the beaches.

Like the other songs on his album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, it didn’t receive a lot of radio play. Instead, Buffett began to develop his following by opening up for The Eagles. Even at 30, Buffett was something less than hip—a flip-flopped performer with a genial stage presence that seemed to invite an easygoing vibe among crowds. “Margaritaville,” an anthem to that kind of breezy attitude, peaked at number eight on the Billboard charts in 1977. While that’s impressive for any single, its legacy would quickly evolve beyond the music industry's method for gauging success.

What Buffett realized as he continued to perform and tour throughout the early 1980s is that “Margaritaville” had the ability to sedate audiences. Like a hypnotist, the singer could immediately conjure a specific time and place that listeners wanted to revisit. The lyrics painted a scene of serenity that became a kind of existential vacation for Buffett's fans:

Nibblin' on sponge cake,
Watchin' the sun bake;
All of those tourists covered with oil.
Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.
Smell those shrimp —
They're beginnin' to boil.

By 1985, Buffett was ready to capitalize on that goodwill. In Key West, he opened a Margaritaville store, which sold hats, shirts, and other ephemera to residents and tourists looking to broadcast their allegiance to his sand-in-toes fantasy. (A portion of the proceeds went to Save the Manatees, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal conservation.) The store also sold the Coconut Telegraph, a kind of propaganda newsletter about all things Buffett and his chill perspective.

When Buffett realized patrons were coming in expecting a bar or food—the song was named after a mixed drink, after all—he opened a cafe adjacent to the store in late 1987. The configuration was ideal, and through the 1990s, Buffett and business partner John Cohlan began erecting Margaritaville locations in Florida, New Orleans, and eventually Las Vegas and New York. All told, more than 21 million people visit a Buffett-inspired hospitality destination every year.

A parrot at Margaritaville welcomes guests
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Margaritaville-branded tequila followed. So, too, did a line of retail foods like hummus, a book of short stories, massive resorts, a Sirius radio channel, and drink blenders. Buffett even wrote a 242-page script for a Margaritaville movie that he had hoped to film in the 1980s. It’s one of the very few Margaritaville projects that has yet to have come to fruition, but it might be hard for Buffett to complain much. In 2015, his entire empire took in $1.5 billion in sales.

As of late, Buffett has signed off on an Orlando resort due to open in 2018, offering “casual luxury” near the boundaries of Walt Disney World. (One in Hollywood, Florida, is already a hit, boasting a 93 percent occupancy rate.) Even for guests that aren’t particularly familiar with his music, “Jimmy Buffett” has become synonymous with comfort and relaxation just as surely as Walt Disney has with family entertainment. The association bodes well for a business that will eventually have to move beyond Buffett’s concert-going loyalists.

Not that he's looking to leave them behind. The 70-year-old Buffett is planning on a series of Margaritaville-themed retirement communities, with the first due to open in Daytona Beach in 2018. More than 10,000 Parrot Heads have already registered, eager to watch the sun set while idling in a frame of mind that Buffett has slowly but surely turned into a reality.

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Design
The Secret to the World's Most Comfortable Bed Might Be Yak Hair
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Tengi

Savoir Beds laughs at your unspooling mail-order mattresses and their promises of ultimate comfort. The UK-based company has teamed with London's Savoy Hotel to offer what they’ve declared is one of the most luxurious nights of sleep you’ll ever experience. 

What do they have that everyone else lacks? About eight pounds of Mongolian yak hair.

The elegantly-named Savoir No. 1 Khangai Limited Edition is part of the hotel’s elite Royal Suite accommodations. For $1845 a night, guests can sink into the mattress with a topper stuffed full of yak hair from Khangai, Mongolia. Hand-combed and with heat-dispensing properties, it takes 40 yaks to make one topper. In a press release, collaborator and yarn specialist Tengri claims it “transcends all levels of comfort currently available.”

Visitors opting for such deluxe amenities also have access to a hair stylist, butler, chef, and a Rolls-Royce with a driver.

Savoir Beds has entered into a fair-share partnership with the farmers, who receive an equitable wage in exchange for the fibers, which are said to be softer than cashmere. If you’d prefer to luxuriate like that every night, the purchase price for the bed is $93,000. Purchased separately, the topper is $17,400. Act soon, as only 50 of the beds will be made available each year. 

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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