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  • KTK

KTK Makeup Brush Line Series 1 - Breakdown

I can't believe I have my own product line that I designed from scratch, with my name on it! I was always asked if I would ever have my own products and at the time I would always reply 'yeah right, imagine going up against the likes of Chanel, Tom Ford and MAC', ( I still do think that) but with a culmination of knowledge, years in the industry, client research, living in different Countries, reading hundreds of success stories, and timing, it all came together! And now, what was an idea and dream is now my reality. But let me stress, it was no walk in the park, what I thought was going to take 3 months took 1 year and 18 different factories and you'll read snippets of it below.

So today's blog is all about introducing my brushes aesthetics and as the weeks go by, I will be able to share the functions and how to actually use each brush.

The Design:


Out of the entire brush, the bristle is the most important aspect to get correct on so many levels! As a working artist quality in important so I wanted and needed to decide on brushes that not only looked the part, but were also high performing. For bristles you have two types of fiber, 1. animal hair and 2. synthetic hair.

By reputation and performance, animal hair is hands down the best quality especially for powder products and synthetic is great for wet products, ie: foundation, concealer, etc. BUT during my hours and hours of research I was beginning to see huge amounts of backlash from people totally boycotting certain brands for their use of animal hair, due to cruelty practices, so that sent alarm bells ringing, to be honest I'm not sure how they collect the animal hair, but I wasn't going to cut out an entire client base because I used animal hair. So I wanted to do my part, and vegan animal-cruelty free bristles was my first start. So with synthetic my only option, I knew from experience it isn't always high performing with some makeup products, so I kept on searching the net and found a fiber called Tafre, basically Tafre is a high grade synthetic fiber that's been made specifically to mimic the high performance of animal brush hair, without the use of animal hair, and so, I was sold! But do you think Tafre bristles were easy to come across! NO! So after no, after no, after no, and many other factors, my 16th and 17th factory put me onto the 18th factory and we had a Winner - a Japanese company! My relief and confidence was saved as Japanese companies are re-known for their mastery and high quality of brushes. So the company I work with is Japanese, the Tafre bristles are made in Japan and the rest of the brush materials are China made. The brushes that are Tafre are all the white bristled brushes: Powder, Shadow Blender, Eye Shadow, Brow fill and the Smudger. The remaining five black and brown bristle brushes aren't Tafre, but are still a very high-performing synthetic fiber. Lastly synthetic bristles don't malt, so you won't find random brush hairs on your face, (which is what animal brushes do, they shed like crazy!)

Rose-Gold Ferrule:

I've had an obsession with rose gold for quite some time, so when it was time to decide what the ferrule colour would be, (the shiny aluminium part of the brush), which traditionally has always been silver, I jumped at the chance to have the ferrule rose-gold. However, rose-gold isn't a popular colour for factories, so yip another factor why I had to go through 18 factories till I found one that did everything I required. Just imagine working with a factory for 6 weeks, going up to the factory in China, a 12hour day, almost confirming everything then last minute they spring on you, 'sorry we don't do rose-gold!!' (dying inside and 6 weeks wasted! So you can 1. imagine my relief that I got my rose-gold and 2. this was just 1 of the many set-back's and 3. can you tell this it was not a walk in the park.

Handels - Colour:

I was weighing up a lot as to what colour handle my brushes could be, from white, to silver, to a deep blue or maroon colour, the choices really were endless. With a lot of the brushes I've used in the past they are mostly black with a shiny surface, and after years of use,the paints chipped off, it's cracked and the shiny part looked super cheap, even though they are expensive brushes. So I had two sets made, one with silver handles the other with black. It was an instant NO to the silver set and the shiny black, I wasn't convinced, it looked cheap and plastic looking, so out of trial and error I happily settled with the matt black that gives a sense of class and sophistication.

Logo and Brush Name:

KTK was juggled with Krystina Te Kanawa, but after my 1st sample run it just didn't look right with too many words, along with the actual brush name, so KTK was simple but a powerful brand name to go with. With other makeup brands most commonly they will a-sign a number to the brush like 212, F88, etc etc. Now having taught hundreds of ladies how to do their makeup, the common hassle they have with brushes is, not knowing what brush is used for what and the numbers never helped. So for me the most obvious solution was to name each brush their actual functioning name, simple right! Thankfully Yes!! So the logo and brush name is rose-gold embossed. The design was created by the incredible Bridget White, a fellow Kiwi friend living in Melbourne.

True story!

So I'm with another factory number 7 or 8 and I've gone up to China another 12 hour day with travel, I've loved the managers hospitality, his communication is on point and he has the right answers for everything I ask, we are 100% on the same page. I decide to go ahead with two sample sets with different aspects to them, two things I; 1. I wanted the bristles to have a grey base that faded into a white tip (ombre / tie-dyed style) and 2. the logos to be printed on every single sample brush so I could do a photo shoot of the brushes in preparation for my launch. However as I've since learnt, always add 2-4 weeks on to any time limit quoted, as the photo shoot was re- booked twice, when I finally got the samples delivered the morning of the 3rd re-scheduled shoot and 2nd back-up photographer, to my horror the bristles were a browny-grey and my logo was on just ONE of the brushes! So the photo shoot was cancelled, my factory contact was no-longer answering his phone nor my emails and I was stuck with ugly brushes. Next Factory!!!

Wood Used:

The handle itself is made from Birchwood, which is is relative the Oak tree but is much harder and superior in it's use.

Angled End:

I'm quite a stickler for things been original as much as possible, I hate following the crowds or trends and would much rather do my own thing, even if it means learning the hard way (at times), hence why I'm quite stubborn and work for myself. So when it came to the handle I wanted something different and I liked the idea of the handle been cut off on an angle, so once I saw my 1st samples ( the one thing that went right) I was sold! I really love how it gives the brush it's elegance and unique style.

Part 1 done!

And so there you have it, I could actually go on and on and pull out some crazy 'o my god' stories about my journey to making these brushes, but that can be saved for another time as this blog has gotten way to long, so I shall leave it there.

Thanks for reading, I hope this gives you some understanding and insight on my brushes.

Krystina xx

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