The founder of beloved makeup brand Tarte has revealed the true meaning behind the cosmetics company’s name — while detailing how her choice of the moniker almost ruined her dreams of expanding her business around the world.
Maureen Kelly51, has created a makeup empire with her brand that has become one of the fastest growing beauty companies in the industry.
And as Tarte’s CEO now finds success, she’s detailed the uphill battle that started the company, starting with its naming.
Taking to her TikTok account, Maureen revealed how she was forced to switch company names and had almost no success in the industry because of the meaning of the word ‘tarte’.
Maureen Kelly, 51, founder of beloved makeup brand Tarte, has revealed the real reason behind the cosmetics company’s name
And while Tarte’s CEO is now finding success, she detailed the uphill battle that was getting the company started, starting with naming it
Taking to her TikTok account, Maureen revealed how she was forced to switch company name and had almost no success in the field.
In a quick clip, which has more than 382,000 views, Maureen said, “This is something I wish I knew earlier, naming a company is really hard.”
The Tarte CEO began by explaining that she first named the company “Plume.”
She said she decided to go with the name because she thought it had a sweet ring to it and emphasized the fact that her makeup brand was cruelty-free.
It looked interesting and the site was accessible. Think about it What is a pillar? Feather from a bird or animal.
What is Tarte and what has it been since 1999? Cruelty-free brand.
When she received her first makeup — which she said was silver and not Tarte’s iconic purple because she couldn’t customize it at the time — she discovered Stila had been shooting before her and “they had feathers on her.”
The Tarte Foundation revealed that she didn’t realize how ‘stupid’ it was to call the brand ‘plume’ until her best friend pointed it out.
“My best friend was like, ‘You name the brand Plum?'” said Maureen. And I said, “Yeah, don’t you love him, he’s so good.” And she said, “Isn’t it cruelty-free?” I’m like, “Yeah, my mum grew up on a farm in Ireland, of course it’s cruelty-free, and animals are very important to me.”
It’s like, ‘Right but isn’t it part of an animal?’ It is, well, stupid, so I had to rename it.
The Makeup Empire founder said afterwards that she went right back to the “drawing board” and thought about what she wanted the brand to stand for.
The Tarte CEO started by explaining that she first named the company “Bloom” because she thought it had a ring to it and emphasized the fact that her makeup brand was cruelty-free.
The Tarte founder revealed that she didn’t realize how “stupid” it was to call the brand plume until her best friend pointed it out.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, where everything you put into your bloodstream gets absorbed. You want it to be something that’s really good for you, good for your skin, good for your body, so it’s like a treat for your skin.
“So I called it a tart,” she explained, “a tart is a dessert, something savory and delicious.”
Maureen liked the name and was “really proud” of herself. However, she soon discovered that she would once again have trouble with her brand name because the word tart also had another meaning.
While pie means savory pie, it is also defined as “dissolute woman,” which prompted the choice of the brand name Maureen to raise some eyebrows.
She said she didn’t realize the name might be a problem until her mom went to tart.com.
My mom goes to the website tart.com, so that’s what she thinks it is. In 1999, prostitution was illegal…so you can imagine when my mom went to tart.com and not on tarte.com what she saw on that site,” said the Tarte founder.
She then went on to name the brand Tarte, inspired by the word “tarte”—which means delicious treat and “dissolute woman.”
As Tarte’s success increased, Sephora international wondered why they were bringing a brand that meant “degenerate woman” into their country, however, people came after that.
However, since she trademarked Tarte and never imagined the cosmetics company would be a global brand and expand into Europe—that’s where tarte is spelled—so she didn’t think the name would be an issue.
As Tarte’s success increased, Sephora internationals wondered why they were bringing a brand meaning “prostitute” into their country.
I felt so bad about myself, and so here I am with this great brand that people loved, and it was growing in the States and no one really thought about it.
We were not sure at one point that we could even release it in other countries for a long time. Over time, we were able to launch in Sephora France and Sephora Italy.
The brand was very big. People knew what tarte meant and didn’t think of anything bad about the name. She said: It was so amazing.
Looking back on the fiasco now, the Tarte Foundation said it learned a valuable message.
‘Whatever is going on in your life or going on in your business, and you (think) you can’t get through this, you’re going to get through this, it’s going to be alright, I got this. I trust you.’