As seniors begin to consider what career paths, graduate programs and other paths to pursue after graduation, senior Melissa Arpino has already begun to develop the business she plans to take on as a full time job after she leaves St. John’s.
The senior advertising major and entrepreneur created her vegan and cruelty-free skincare brand, Stripped Beauty, about a year ago. Arpino handmakes all Stripped Beauty products, keeping in mind eco-friendly initiatives and ingredients that are healthy for the skin.
“I just kind of went for it,” she said. Arpino began Stripped Beauty about a year ago with the help of her mother, who has been her mentor throughout the whole process.
“We use ingredients that are good for the planet and good for your skin,” Arpino said. “It [all] work[s] in harmony.”
“My mom … used to formulate for bigger brands like Estée Lauder,” she said. Currently, her mom runs her own beauty business and lab upstate. This lab is where Arpino is able to make her products and source her ingredients.
“It’s definitely a mother daughter duo,” she said.
Arpino runs every aspect of Stripped Beauty. This includes, but is not limited to; managing their Instagram page, package design/delivery presence, website copy and making the products.
“It’s hard,” Arpino admits. Balancing schoolwork is hard for any student, but running her own business on top of it is a delicate balance. Arpino drives from Queens to Upstate New York about one to two times a week to make her products.
“All [the] products are good for all skin types because of the [organic] ingredients.” Stripped Beauty skincare products range from face masks, toners, soaps, oil and lip scrubs.
There aren’t any specific items for dry, oily or combination skin. However, when it comes to the clay mask – they are more skin concern focused.
When handcrafting Stripped Beauty products, Arpino starts with a base formula and adds other ingredients from there. She substitutes palm oil, typically found in skincare products but is considered bad for the skin, with other raw ingredients like organic shea butter in her bar soaps. Her toners are alcohol-free to avoid drying out the skin. When it came to naming her brand she said “I just thought of “strip” and was like thats it…it fits with our ingredients.”
Stripped Beauty is an eco friendly brand. Products are packaged in biodegradable packing peanuts and her cards are made out of reusable t-shirts. Even the bubblewrap is eco friendly.
Stripped Beauty doesn’t test on animals and has teamed up with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). You can search for ‘Stripped Beauty’ in the PETA Database under Beauty without Bunnies.
As a senior, Arpino hopes to take on Stripped Beauty as a full time job upon graduation. Her goal is to take the company to the next level by having full lines and adding more products. Some products she wants to expand on are her toners, serums and face washes.
When asked if she’d want to expand to makeup she said, “makeup is hard because a lot of it is pressed and I don’t have a press because it is expensive – but anything loose like lip gloss for sure.”
She also mentioned expanding to hair products, but because hair textures are so versatile, it is going to take a lot of time and effort. Like Glossier, she hopes to have one flagship store that can sell her products, but stay primarily an online boutique. She has even considered extending the store to a possible spa.
Arpino shared her top five beauty tips for everyone of all skin types with the Torch:
One, wash your pillowcase frequently because it collects a lot of dirt that can cause breakouts. Two, have a skincare routine and stick to it: don’t over do it, less is more. Three, try to find which products work best for your skin and embrace the trial and errors. Four, it is important to cleanse because washing the dirt off your face is essential. Lastly, use a toner. This helps with hydration and reduce the appearance of pores.
Arpino’s brand message with Stripped Beauty is to make natural products inclusive while also promoting skin and acne positive for all people.
“I’d say [my goal] is to provide products that are effective, but still affordable for people who don’t have access to natural products.”