Cheekbone Beauty gets a new look for Sephora launch

The Indigenous-owned company's refreshed packaging reflects the environmental stewardship at the core of its brand.

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Cheekbone Beauty’s flagship Sustain Collection is now available through Sephora, an online trial that could inform broader distribution.

Working with Sid Lee, the beauty brand has revamped its branding and packaging design. While Cheekbone’s lower-case, sans-serif wordmark remains largely unchanged, it now appears on brighter packaging inspired by the vibrant colours found in nature, with messaging in a bold type about humans’ relationship with the natural world.

Some of the inspiration also came from Cheekbone’s existing, social-focused marketing approach, where Cheekbone has leaned into environmental stewardship through its roots as an Indigenous-owned business – and Indigenous people being “the OGs of sustainability,” in the words of CEO and founder Jennifer Harper.

That’s the most clear on Instagram, where the brand regularly educates followers on things like different words in Indigenous languages. In the week leading up to the Sephora launch on Tuesday, Cheekbone also shared each of the Seven Grandfather Teachings, principles passed down by the Anishinaabe to live peaceful lives with each other – and can help us “face the future” if we treat the earth the same way.

Cheekbone backs up its environmental messaging with packaging that’s compostable and biodegradable, something that has been maintained through the redesign and resonates with the brand’s growing customer base.

“Our audience has always been people who care about things like the planet and human beings,” says Harper, who founded Cheekbone in 2016. Part of that may be because it provides an alternative in the beauty sector, which is a big waste contributor, especially when it comes to plastics. And Harper says that while Cheekbone is doing the best it can with the materials at its disposal, it is keeping an eye on new packaging innovations, such as those based around algae and even mushrooms.

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The digitally native, direct-to-consumer company built its following on Instagram, Harper says, which is where its community is, with Indigenous girls posting tips and sharing photos.

“That became our place, and user generated content was really built out our entire Instagram community and channel,” Harper says. Cheekbone is on Facebook too, and has its eyes on making its presence felt on TikTok.

Sephora is selling a curated selection from Cheekbone’s Sustain line of products, as well two new mascara and blush/bronzer products, through its ecommerce platform. The retailer, for its part, has also celebrated Indigenous beauty as part of broader efforts to improve representation in its marketing.

“As a small brand who wants to see if it’s feasible for us to go in-store, I do appreciate this online-only option at the moment,” according to Harper. “Joining their platform allows us to further amplify our mission to create spaces of representation within the beauty industry for Indigenous youth.” She adds, however, that she is envisioning a 25-store launch in the spring.

Cheekbone Beauty began working with Sid Lee this past spring; the “Right the Story” campaign, which aims to block out negative headlines about Indigenous communities to instead focus on news that champions positivity and defiance, received $1 million in donated ad inventory from Bell after winning the first IDEA Awards.