One swipe of an Otis Batterbee brush, and you’ll be smitten, too. We chat with top London designer Otis Batterbee on his dedication to exquisitely-crafted makeup brushes, the hero face brush everyone should own, and his thoughts on launching at SHEN.
Founders: Otis Batterbee
Date founded: February 2011
Tell us about your background in beauty and the origin story behind Otis Batterbee brushes?
I trained in Fashion at Central St. Martins School of Art & Design. I went on to train at Louis Vuitton in Paris working on small goods and accessories. With my experience of designing small goods I noticed there was a gap in the market for beautifully made cosmetic bags. At the time they went from one extreme to the other. There were either luxury Vuitton prices, or very cheap and poorly made options. So I designed a range, showed them to the department store Liberty of London, and suddenly I had a new business. About 3 years ago, I was looking at makeup brushes and I bought every brush on the market. To be honest, I didn’t think any of them were that good. I put together a focus group and I set about designing for the group to test. Everyone in the group said ‘you’ve done it’. I actually knew that before the group tested them for the final time because as a designer you know when something is spot on.
How are your luxurious, cruelty-free brushes made?
They are made by hand from FSC sustainable birchwood with nylon bristles that feel so good against your skin, you’ll stroke your face with them all day. I know I do.
Why do your brushes ensure such an even and easy application?
They have been strenuously tried and tested. The Precision Oval Makeup Brush, for example, was developed to apply just the right amount for a ‘barely there’ look. But you can truly ‘go for it’ with more makeup, too.
Your brush sets offer something for everyone. Tell us about your signature brush edits?
With my career in design, I worked on lots of photo shoots and noticed what makeup artists used for fabulous looks. A lot of artists use hard to find brushes that are not available in most beauty stores. So my brush edits contain a combination of brushes for thoughtful, perfect sets.
What brushes from your collection do you recommend for a quick flawless face?
Everyone needs a fabulous Face Brush Set. It contains the 3 basics you need: a foundation brush that has dense and precise bristles, a blusher brush that picks up just the right amount of powder for cheeks and contouring, and an opulent domed powder brush that makes sweeping powder across the face and body a breeze.
Your packaging is so gorgeous and the centerpiece of any vanity. Who is the Otis Batterbee clientele?
These are for people who love makeup, good design, and products that actually work.
What’s your favorite brush? Any tips for how to use it?
It has to be the large oval brush from the Precision Makeup Brush Set. A lot of people haven’t used oval brushes before, but once they do, they are sold forever. The large oval is used by makeup artists to apply body shimmer across legs and arms. It can also be used for creating a completely flawless finish across the face.
What is one surprising thing people might not know about the brand?
That I’m obsessive about recycling! We ask that you place our packaging in your standard recycling with your trash. When your brushes are over you can send them back to us and we’ll recycle those, too.
How did you feel about launching at SHEN?
I just love Jessica’s edit at SHEN, it’s such an amazing mix of brands and I love the one-stop-shop element at SHEN. It was a completely proud moment launching my brand at the store, and Brooklyn is my go-to area of New York.