Daniel Kiyoi, Tarte
Share your career path!
After college, I moved home to LA in hopes of finding design work for a "cool-Cali" brand with a sunny startup mentality and a built-in surf break at lunch. Turns out that didn't exist for a 22-year-old design enthusiast with next to zero experience in the "real world." So, I applied to a design placement agency as an office coordinator. I figured if I couldn't be a designer at the time, I could at least place other designers at cool-Cali companies until I was deemed worthy enough to be placed myself.
Fortunately for me, when I showed up to my interview for the office job, they confused me with another candidate, and I was interviewed to be a designer. (Life tip here, people: always carry your portfolio with you if you are looking for a job!) Luck was on my side. A week later I was placed at a temp design (!) job in the web department at Smashbox Cosmetics. I worked there on-and-off for a few months until a permanent position in their packaging department opened up, and I swooped in and took it. Thus began my love affair with the beauty industry.
I eventually moved up to be an art director there and was very happy (for a few years), until I was infected by a little disease known as the New York Dream. It attacked me quietly and quickly. Smashbox was acquired by Estée Lauder, and a few months after the merger, I used it to secure a merchandising job at Bumble & bumble in NYC. I loved that they had a distinct personality and a very clear visual voice. They were a New York newbie's dream situation: trendy/good-looking people, great product, amazing culture. I was in heaven.
I would have been there longer, but a little brand called Tarte stole me away after 11 months. They were small back then and needed a design upgrade. It was the best move I could have ever made. The brand has since become my family. I've been there nearly five years and am so proud of the things we've accomplished and the growth we have experienced.
What product have you developed that you are most proud of and why?
I'm very proud of our new Rainforest of the Sea product line. It's incremental to our core line, and it's been wildly successful since it launched in April. For many years the Amazonian clay and maracuja products were our two main ingredients (sourced straight from the Amazon rainforest). A few years ago, we started talking about adding in an additional ingredient to round out the line. All of the products have been really fun to develop, because they are infused with a complex derived from the ocean and are packaged in ocean-inspired prints. I did a lot of hand-drawn patterns and textures for the packaging. The logo was even originally created with a paintbrush and ink to give it a really organic look and feel.