Wednesday 5 February 2014

Interview with RED Burlesque CEO Adam Coutts

As you all know I am a huge fan of a red lipstick. I have tried many shades, many brands and have my few favourite I always go back to. I am a huge make up fan myself. I have a huge box/room of makeup at home. Once upon a time I was a counter manager for Elizabeth Arden, my close friend also worked on the make-up counters and we both shared a pretty obsessive passion for make-up. I have always loved bold colours and the classic red lip. Having a cool skin tone myself I have been a good judge of what shade suits me, even with my ever changing hair colour!

For me personally I love a brand that is cruelty free, 100% allergy tested, fragrance free and enriched with vitamin E to moisturise your lips. Although a matte lip is a great look, a dry scaling lip is not! Would you believe that RED Burlesque lip shades tick every box! RED Burlesque offer the ultimate red lipstick in 20 different shades (yes, only red!) You’ve just found the most diverse, most luscious range of sumptuous red lipsticks on the planet!

RED Burlesque lipsticks are inspired by the sexy, teasy, steamy world of Burlesque – 20 shades handpicked and named after 20 of the world’s most renowned Burlesque performers.

I have interviewed the CEO Adam Coutts of
RED Burlesque to learn more about the brand and give you all the inside info! 
Adam Coutts CEO RED Burlesque
Tell us a bit about yourself and how RED Burlesque started?

My background is a Copywriter, Creative Director and founder of a few ad agencies and for a few years, Marketing Director (Chief Marketing Officer) of a global advertising services company. I've spent decades successfully growing other people’s companies and brands and although I’ve worked for myself for most of my life, I always had a desire to one day launch my own product.

LouLou-D'vil Red Burlesque Lipstick
It was a series of bizarre circumstances that led to the creation of RED Burlesque.

The first was, not having had any exposure to the Burlesque world, I found myself partnered with an Australian Burlesque producer for about 18 months, which ended up in me financing and co-producing a number of high profile Burlesque shows in Australia.
Then, via various women, I realised how hard it was for women to find the perfect red and even more strange, that in all the time lipstick has been gracing the lips of women all over the world, not one cosmetics company had created a comprehensive range of reds!

The brand was created in 2012 but had a false start because I’d named the original range after the ex Burlesque Producer girlfriend who I discovered had a narcissistic forte for producing events that lost money and leaving unpaid debts to performers trailing back to the dark ages.

Long story short, in 2013 I re-launched the brand as RED Burlesque with the largest range of red lipsticks ever created and every shade hand-picked and named after the most amazing, talented, clever and gorgeous Burlesque performers in the world. 

Kitten-de-Ville RED Burlesque
Why 20 shades?
I wanted to ensure RED Burlesque was the largest range of reds on the planet from start, so we launched with 18 shades and had added two more in the past 4 months. 
Would you expand and produce more than the 20 shades you already have? (Perhaps one day 50 shades of RED instead of 50 shades of grey?)

We definitely won't be limiting the range to just 20 shades. In fact, a 21st shade will be announced in the next month or so. Who? Not telling - you'll have to wait for the slow reveal.

Why did you decide to name your shades after burlesque performers? 
That goes back to the ex again. It was pretty much a fait accompli when you think about it!

How do you go about selecting the burlesque performers to represent each shade?

My exposure to Burlesque as a financier and co-producer meant I came to know a huge number of performers from all over the world. Why did I choose the performers who are now RED Burlesque girls? A multitude of reasons: quality of performance; their look; level of respect amongst the Burlesque community and the wider community; their following; not having a similar look or style to the other RED girls; and of course, that they rock red lipstick!

What are the key things that are important in a lipstick to you? 
Colour. Lots of it. An ability to last at least an entire day or night without the need for continual top ups. Moisturising properties (why women put up with lipsticks - especially mattes - that dry their lips out, I have no idea!

What makes RED Burlesque shades different to other brands? 

It's the only red-only range on earth, the biggest range of reds on earth and it has not one, but twenty global personalities fronting it.

What do your ‘What’s my shade’ team look for when choosing a colour for someone?

Skin tone (warm or cool) and skin colour (fair, medium, olive, dark) are the two most important factors when choosing a perfect killer red. But it also depends on the woman's level of comfort with red lipstick. Any woman can rock a red lipstick, but if they have run away from reds for years there's no convincing them an out there a high gloss coral red or deep, bold matte look amazing on them.

Briana Bluebell RED Burlesque
What is your top tip for someone trying to find the right shade for them?

Skin tone - look at the veins in your arms, if they're green, you're warm; if they're blue you're cool. Warm skin tones look amazing in orange reds, tomato reds and brown based reds; Cool skin tones look amazing in blue-reds, brick reds and plum or berry reds.

What is your most popular shade? 
It changes month by month and season by season, last month it was LouLou D'vil and Roxi D'Lite, this month it's already looking like it will be a Strawberry Siren and Perle Noire February.

What is the biggest faux pas when it comes to red lipstick?

You'd think the single biggest faux pas would be choosing the wrong shade of red, but it's not. It's overdoing the makeup when wearing a bold red. All you need with a bold red lippie is some mascara and foundation or bronzer. Remember, the idea is to draw attention to your lips, not pull the focus in a dozen different directions at once!
Do you have much of a customer base in the UK?
Yes, about 30% of our sales are from the UK, to the point that we're about to start looking at stockists there.
Who would you love to have as a customer?
Lola Frost RED Burlesque Lipstick
Hmm ... Marilyn Monroe, but that's obviously not possible, so where do I start? Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Lorde, the entire Crazy Horse cast ... 

As a successful businessman what advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
One, failure is your friend - you learn more from your mistakes than you'll ever learn from your successes. And two, amateurs invent, professionals reinvent. What I mean by that is nothing hasn't been invented, so don't look to try to create something new. Look for something existing (like lipstick in my case) that you can find a gap in and recreate as something even better or more useful.

What are the best and worst things about running your own business?
Best: being your own boss. Worst: having to answer to your boss.

So what can we expect to come from you next?
There's another global business in the wings that will reinvent the way the advertising and marketing connects and does business together. We're on the venture capital trail for that one as we speak.
There's a new high level leadership training company called Horse Sense that utilises horses as a training tool (see to find out more).

RED Burlesque? Finding stockists who get us and fit the brand are a priority for this year. You'll probably see a line extension or two later in the year. But more on that next interview...

Calamity Chang RED Burlesque
I would like to thank Adam for his time with this interview. I hope you have enjoyed learning all about RED Burlesque. If you would like to find your shade click here.



  1. Love this! I actually interviewed Adam as well, but it's always interesting to read what someone else gets out of the same person. Thanks so much for following me on Instagram (@itsdlovely). Your blog is pretty cool!

  2. Thanks! Just posted my review too! :) Yes love to meet fellow bloggers! I love learning of new great blogs out there! I am glad you like mine :)