My name is Marion Groot and I love the beauty industry.
I used to play with dolls when I was a little girl, and it never occurred to me - not once - that I didn’t measure up.
I didn’t compare myself to my dolls. Instead, I built them houses, and I cut their hair, bending their bodies into impressively impossible positions. I didn’t hesitate to leave them outside in the rain, or sit them down to soak for a while, in my macaroni and cheese. I assembled their heads onto different bodies, and made them clothes. They had incredible, mind-blowing personal stories.
They could fly and climb mountains and breathe underwater.
Nobody told me to look at my dolls, and see perfection. They were not status symbols, or standards of being. They were conduits for one brave little girl’s developing imagination. Small vehicles with which to explore a vast universe of possibility.
I lost that sense of freedom in my early teens.
Mine was not an abnormal teenage experience. My story isn’t special, but it is real - full of discomfort and confusion, piled with hurt. I look back and see a young woman with intense conviction - just trying to find her way. When I discovered that I could liberty spike my hair and wear black eyeliner as lipstick, that sense of freedom returned. Geared up in my daily armour of combat boots, facial piercings and black makeup, I once again felt unstoppable. Of course, I experienced disapproval, but that didn’t matter.
I felt right with myself. Corrected - like what was on the inside finally matched the outside, and on with life I went.
Beauty gave me access to myself when nothing else could. Later on, when I attended cosmetology school, it would give me access to a community of like-minded freedom seekers - or free agents, if you will - but in the early days, it gave me hope.
This might be a slightly different launch than what you’re used to. We can’t call ourselves Free Agent Beautyand continue to behave like the rest of the industry - even if all intentions are genuine. Why even bother to launch this company - if it’s just going to be another makeup brand?
Instead, this is a launch to challenge launches. One letter of intention is all we really need to begin.
Free Agent Beauty is a conversation.
A place where ideas are more important than sales. It is a place of depth, where art and the truth can coexist.
We’re not any one product, or any one brand.
Rather, we’re a group of experimentalists. We exist to ask hard questions. The kind of questions that most brands feel motivated to avoid - out of fear and stress and industry pressure. We’re a hybrid beauty platform, and our goal is to connect the voices of brands, consumers, influencers, content creators and beauty professionals, so we can have a productive conversation about how to improve this industry.
We’ll use beauty products as catalysts - making them new conduits for possibility.
Action is equally important, so we intend to become the example. We’ll implement solutions, so the industry can’t ignore us (or you). This obviously means we’ll make mistakes, but we don’t intend to make them in the dark.
Instead, we’ll work to lift the veil on what it means to build a beauty company.
I decided to start Free Agent Beauty because I myself, have felt frustrated by this industry.
I’ve been working as a beauty professional for sixteen years, and I’ve watched the landscape shift dramatically to incite and indulge fear, exclude incredible people, and build hardcore standards around what it means to be well. All the while, sales continue to significantly increase.
For me, the freedom and hope I experienced early on started to feel flat. The more I watch this industry change, the more it feels oddly one-dimensional. We’re lost in a sea of marketing echoes. We’re looking for answers, as if beauty is supposed to produce them.
And yet, it seems we appreciate the complexity of beauty as a process less and less.
The original shortsighted standards of the conventional world have fused with the impossible standards of the natural world - and what we’re left with is a wreckage of narratives. It’s overwhelming for everyone - but especially for consumers, when we feel forced to take sides.
In order to hang on to my hope, I decided to build a solid foundation of action beneath it. I want to build a beauty company where everyone is welcome. Where relationships can withstand differences of opinion. Where agreement isn’t necessary. I want to build a beauty company that isn’t about me, and I’m deeply aware of just how difficult that task will be to accomplish. I want to put people first, before money - yes - but especially before ego.
I want to build a beauty company that can fly and climb mountains and breathe underwater.
We’re going to do this imperfectly because perfection doesn’t exist, and that’s okay.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out our launch collection and content from people who’ve taken big leaps of faith - deciding to trust a company and a concept that isn’t fully realized or even remotely legitimate.
I want to thank everyone involved, for extending such curiosity and confidence.
As the weeks and months unfold, we’ll continue to update our collections regularly - deliberately using the products we carry to address and challenge various topics and standards of belief in the beauty industry. We hope you’ll join us, because we believe your voice matters.
This conversation won’t be the same without you.
I’ve often thought about what success would look like, in relation to this project.
In my most solitary honest moments, I have absolutely no idea where Free Agent Beauty will take us.
It might crash to new depths, or rise beyond a skyline of creative fulfillment I’ve yet to experience. It might uncover graves of emotion and induce wild, unsettling feelings of conflict. It could leave us feeling somewhat dull and pacified with boredom.
Whatever the outcome for us, I can already attest to the magic I’ve personally felt building this company…
And that is a resurgence of my innate sense of freedom.
This project has reignited in me, the developing imagination of one brave little girl.