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.
Now the undisputed queen of lipsticks is planning to relaunch her original line of lipsticks back in Australia.
“I’m investigating how to relaunch the original deadly sins lipsticks – exactly how they were in 1992,” she told Mamamia exclusively.
King has been back in touch Neon Cosmetics, with the original factory she engaged way back in 1991, and they’ve been able to track down the original recipe for her deadly sins lipsticks.
“They’re going to be the exact same lipsticks we were all wearing in the 90’s,” King explained. “The same shapes, the same colours, the same texture.
“The first step is coming back and recreating the original recipe with Neon Cosmetics. There’s still a few people working in the lab who were there 20 years ago, so it’ll be a bit nostalgic.”
The relaunch will be exclusive to Australia and King is not planning to sell them anywhere else.
“I’m planning to spend a lot of time in Australia next year – dividing my time between Australia and New York – while I go through the process.”
Whatever happened to Poppy King? Mia Freedman's exclusive interview with Poppy for her No Filter podcast. Post continues...
“And it’ll be a process in terms of sorting out regulations so I can recreate the exact same lipsticks. The most important thing to me is bringing back those original lipsticks.”
While King says she still has a few of the original lipsticks stashed away - and she still wears them - up until now she felt like it was never the right time to relaunch them.
“I felt like they represented a moment in time and I didn’t want to exhume them out of that moment – until now.”
The 90s are officially coming back and we couldn't be happier to welcome Poppy King, the original LadyStartup and role model for generations of female entrepreneurs back to Australia.