In 1991, when she was just 18 years old, Poppy King started her own cosmetics company.
She had no experience in makeup or manufacturing, but the teenager saw a gap in the market and she knew exactly what she wanted to create – a truly matte finish lipstick that was unlike anything the big cosmetic companies were selling at the time.
“The texture was really unique – they were like crayons – and I haven’t recreated that again at any point throughout my career,” she told Mamamia.
Within a few years, Poppy Industries’ Seven Deadly Sins lipsticks had burst onto the Australian makeup market and they had become synonymous with 90s culture. If you were a young woman who wore makeup in the 90s, you owned a Poppy lipstick.
They were the first brand that was cool and niche and Australian and fashionable. Pulling out one of Poppy’s lipsticks in a nightclub bathroom was a rite of passage.
Women LOVED them and they couldn’t get enough of them.
If you’re old enough to remember the almost crayon-like lipsticks, you’ve probably wondered in the years that followed: Whatever happened to Poppy King?
After expanding into the US market in 1998, the company collapsed and eventually went into liquidation.
Speaking to 60 Minutes on Sunday, King admits she lost all of the equity in her company and faced harsh criticism from the Australian media at the time.
“I’d be walking around then pass the front of a newspaper saying, ‘Poppy King to go to jail,’ she revealed.
Since then, King has been living in New York. After working for giant multi-national beauty company Estee Lauder, for the past few years she’s been running her new company, Lipstick Queen.