Meet the fresh faces behind Fluide
If you’re looking for makeup that’s vibrant, gender- and complexion-inclusive, big on sparkle and happens to be ethically sound, well, you’re in the right place. Working within the cultural and artistic texture of New York City, Laura Kraber and Isabella Giancarlo teamed up to create this brand in the form of Fluide in 2017. Fluide was born, as per its website, in “the belief that makeup is a tool of transformation and a powerful means of self-actualization.” Giancarlo and Kraber have extended that ethos to Fluide’s profits. Five percent goes to LGBT+ health center Callen-Lorde and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
Having launched in January of this year, the brand’s notoriety and presence has grown. Eleven months in, Kraber and Giancarlo have filled hundreds of orders. Fluide’s products are sold at New York City’s gender-free The Phluid Project and Citizen Vintage in Montreal. With more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, Fluide’s lipsticks, glitters and eyeliners have been seen on the Internet’s fave queer creatives and creatives color: vlogger Ari Fitz, Grey of @rugratsinparis fame, Jacob Tobia, and young fashion queen Aaron Philip.
For Kraber and Giancarlo, a typical day in the life involves “doing anything and everything.” This includes testing make-up, taking product photos, packaging and shipping goods, and expanding Fluide’s reach on the web. Get to know more about the creatives behind a brand that’s refreshing, conscious and feels good all-around.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
CC: How do you identify within the LGBT+ community?
LK: I am an ally to the LGBT+ community.
IG: I’m a genderqueer dyke.
CC: What got you interested in starting a gender-inclusive makeup brand? What experiences led you here?
LK: As a mom of NYC teens, I've been deeply impressed by this generation and how they are moving our culture toward a more fluid understanding of gender and sexual orientation. In the process of discovering and expressing their most authentic selves — and through their engagement and activism —they’re creating a worldwide movement with a more expansive understanding of gender identity. The genesis of Fluide really comes out of a personal admiration for the people putting their lives on the line to create this societal shift of a more inclusive world. Neither Isabella nor I had previous experience in the beauty space, and once we became interested in this concept and started researching, we were really shocked to discover that there were no existing queer beauty brands on the market.
A central tenet of Fluide is that makeup can be a powerful tool in self-actualization and self-expression. Makeup is affordable, accessible, and temporary, and it offers the opportunity to experiment, evolve, and reinvent ourselves. Through showcasing and celebrating people of all gender expressions and identities—in our campaigns, photos, videos and on our blog—we hope to promote authentic self-expression and positive self-image.
IG: As an artist and entrepreneur immersed in Brooklyn’s vibrant queer community, I’m continually inspired by friends and colleagues who creatively challenge cultural expectations and gender norms. On a personal level, this experience has reshaped my own definition of beauty and expanded the ways in which I feel comfortable expressing myself.
For so long, makeup has been perceived as an instrument of an outdated and patriarchal beauty ideal — women wore makeup to improve themselves and to make themselves acceptable to a standard of (often white, cis) female beauty, which few could achieve. To liberate makeup from patriarchal society’s standards of beauty creates a space for it to be an empowering means of self-expression for all.
CC: What has been your favorite thing about founding Fluide?
LK: There have been so many exciting moments and rewarding experiences in starting a mission-driven business that it is difficult to name any one favorite thing. But generally speaking, we've been fortunate to meet incredible people, and the support and help we've received from fans, friends and advocates has been truly remarkable, and I am so grateful for it.
IG: I love that testing makeup = work. A dream come true. It’s also been so inspiring to see the infinite ways that people use fashion and style as a means of self-expression — to be glamorous, irreverent, defiant, political, otherworldly. I am constantly in awe of the creative looks people come up with using our products.
CC: Your go-to Fluide product?
LK: “Halfway to Heaven” metallic burgundy liquid lipstick is the perfect shade, as far as I'm concerned. It looks good on everyone and I always have one in my bag.
IG: My personal faves are Q-Train and Ginger’s. I love an almost naked face, glossy eyelids and a coat of Q-Train. It’s my ideal 〰️queer alien 〰️aesthetic. I never thought a blue could be so universally flattering and feel almost “natural,” but somehow it is.
Ginger’s is this perfect orangey-red; it hits a bit more orange than red, which, IMO, makes it feel like a fresh take on a classic. It’s warm, bright, inviting — and because it’s so pigmented, it only takes one coat to do the trick. Both shades look great on a wide variety of skin colors, which makes them great gifts for just about anyone.
CC: What else do you have in your makeup / skincare bag?
LK: I love our Mood Ring lip gloss which is moisturizing and has just the right amount of subtle sparkle.
IG: Always using our lip gloss in Wet on my eyes and lips. In terms of other brands, Weleda Skin Food has changed how I feel about lotion. It’s totally brilliant, and free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances and colorants. Plus, I can buy it at the food co-op. I always keep eye drops in my bag to save my overly blue light exposed eyes. NOTO Botanics makes a great multi-use stain stick (Muti-Benne Stain Stick, $18.50) that I adore as blush.
CC: What kinds of challenges do you face as a co-founder running the company? And how do you tackle them?
LK: Probably the biggest challenge for us these days is prioritizing; making sure we are using our limited time and resources as efficiently and as wisely as we can. I'm not one for sports metaphors, but when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I turn to basketball coach John Wooten's inspirational quote: "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can." That helps bring me back to earth and back to tackling the endless to-do list.
IG: The “Overwhelm” is real. It can be challenging to switch from being a designer to doing social media to product development, to all the other roles we play as co-founders. So, I’m always trying to remind myself to tackle the task at hand and not get freaked out about my seemingly endless to-do list. It also helps to write those to-do lists on bright pink legal pads.
Fluide is now sold on Dolls Kill, purveyor of all indulgent goth thot needs, and has launched its holiday campaign this month entitled “Chosen Family.” Cop the frosted eyes shadows, lipsticks and pigment pots here. 🍒