Meet the Minds Behind “Right-Sized” Makeup at Their Rent the Runway Pop-up

Hit up the Georgetown store for the purse-friendly makeup line.

When Chelsa Crowley and Julie Fredrickson met up for breakfast, they both came to the table with the same gripe: a lack of makeup on the market that was sold in sizes that didn’t take up much room in their bags and they could actually finish before the product expired.

“That was when the insight hit us,” says Fredrickson. “Lipstick and mascaras have stayed the same size since the 50s, but women’s lifestyles have changed dramatically.”

Crowley and Fredrickson decided to create a solution that would solve both the bulky purse problem and the issue of leftover, expired makeup through Stowaway Cosmetics, their line of “right-sized” makeup. Rather than producing giant jars and tubes of cosmetics that are near impossible to use up by the two-month (or even two-year) expiration date, their products are roughly half the size and price of high-end department store makeup.

Based in New York, Stowaway Cosmetics launched in February, making news as a force that could move the $60 billion beauty industry away from its oversized, overpriced makeup. With lower prices to match the smaller sizes, Stowaway wants to offer women a way out of the guilt of having spent money on makeup they couldn’t finish. Additionally, it reminds women that makeup does expired—faster than one might think.

“Using out-of-date mascara and eye pencils can really pose a real risk of infection,” says Fredrickson. “But when you’ve treated yourself to a fancy $40 prestige mascara from a department store you are often loathe to throw it away after three months when you should—loss aversion is a powerful force!”

The name—Stowaway—refers to the fact that the smaller sizes are easy to slip into a purse for getting ready on the go. Realizing that the modern woman is a mobile woman, Crowley and Fredrickson wanted the makeup to be compatible with a busy life.

Their tips for busy Washington women who are headed to after-work events?

“The easiest way to take a look from day to night is with your eye makeup—eyeliner and an extra coat of mascara can work wonders,” says Fredrickson. “And of course, when in doubt a bright red lip is the call! It will draw the eye in and take away focus from blemishes and dark circles.”

Crowley and Fredrickson will host their pop-up shopping event at Rent the Runway in Georgetown on Monday, June 29, from 6 to 8 PM. RSVP to attend.

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.