Welcome to Byrdie's new series, Next Gen, where we profile Gen Z celebrities, influencers, and entrepreneurs. As a collective, members of Gen Z are dynamic trendsetters and culture shifters. And when it comes to beauty and wellness, they have ushered more creativity, inclusivity, and transparency into the industry. In this column, we're stepping into the minds of some of the most notable Gen Z'ers to learn more about how they are redefining beauty, the products they swear by, and their plans for the future.
Fiona Frills has grown up in front of the camera. The California native started making YouTube videos when she was 10 and was hosting Disney series by the time she was 12. While Frills has always loved being on-screen, she discovered an even greater passion for beauty when she reached middle school. Like many pre-teens, she found joy in testing new skincare products and expressing herself through makeup. However, Frills' experimentation with beauty led to increasing breakouts.
Her frustration with the irritating ingredients in cosmetics inspired her to address the lack of gentle beauty products for teens. At 13-years-old, she launched her makeup and skincare brand Frilliance. The company exists to empower Gen Z and provide effective (and affordable!) solutions for their beauty needs. Ahead, the now 18-year-old Frills discusses what it's like running a beauty brand in her teens, her advice for aspiring founders, and her current skincare favorites. Keep scrolling to get to know Fiona Frills.
When did you first realize you had a passion for creating and entertaining?
I fell in love with being on camera at a very young age. I didn't have very many friends growing up. I got pulled out of school for learning issues, and I was homeschooled, so I had a lot of free time. One day, I decided I would record videos on my Macbook. I had a lot of fun, and being on camera made me feel like myself.
When did you develop a passion for beauty?
I started to understand beauty and skincare when I was about 12-years-old. At the time, I started developing acne. And I thought, What is going on? I turned to my family to ask questions, and they said, "Oh, it's just puberty." I felt there was another reason for my breakouts, so I started researching the products I was using. I realized these brands were putting terrible ingredients in their products and marketing them to teens with sensitive skin like me. I decided I would stop wearing makeup and using my skincare products. My skin cleared up. That's when I decided to put the money I've made from YouTube and acting into my company, Frilliance.
What has it been like running a beauty brand during your teen years?
It is very difficult. It's hard to manage your time as a teen. Many teens don't look at me as a typical teen. And many adults think I'm just some teen trying to start a business that doesn't know anything. I have a few close friends who launched companies when they were young. But overall, it's hard to find a group that understands.
I can understand that. One of the beautiful things about Gen Z is that we're making an impact and creating a legacy at an early age.
I agree 100%. Gen Z is so powerful. Our potential is insane. We're already doing so much. It's so cool to be a part of Gen Z. I feel it's a flex to say that.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are always different because there's so much going on. Recently, a big focus has been our partnership with Walmart. We're officially in 500 stores now. It's been a time-consuming process, but it is so worth it. I'm very grateful to work with Walmart because my main goal is to make affordable and accessible products. I also spend time creating social media content. Social media drives a lot of traffic to our site. Working on new ideas for products is also one of my responsibilities. There are some fun things in the works. I'm trying to expand as much as possible, but it is expensive.
What was your reaction when you saw your products in Walmart?
A few weeks ago, I went into the store and saw my products. My first reaction was, There's no way this is real. I've always dreamed of that moment. It was surreal because we hand-packed all of the pimple patches. Our lab packed many other products, but we filled the pimple patches. It took a week to complete, but it was worth it when I saw them on the shelf.
What's one piece of advice you'd love to pass down to other young beauty founders?
Many people ask me, "How'd you get started?" And honestly, I just started. Even if it's a small start, do it. Start researching, thinking about the next steps, and keep going. There's enormous potential in every idea. With my YouTube channel, I never gave up. For a while, I did not get any views. I didn't even know how to monetize my channel. But I knew I wanted to keep doing it.
What do you hope people feel when watching your content or engaging with your brand?
Many teens struggle with their skin, and brands are constantly trying to sell them something. Of course, I want people to buy my products. But at the same time, I want people to feel more confident. So many teens, including myself, struggle with self-confidence throughout middle school and high school. The last thing you want is your skin to play a part in that.
I also want them to know they can do anything. I'm not a book-smart person. I didn't fit in and never really had friends, but I was able to create this brand. I want them to feel motivated to do the same thing.
I'd love to talk about your skincare routine. What products are you using right now?
In the morning, I don't do much to my skin. I'll apply the Frilliance Perfecting Primer + Serum ($17) and let it soak in before starting my makeup. At night, I do a lot more. I love the feeling of skincare on my face at night. Doing my routine helps me feel at peace.
I start with a makeup remover and Frilliance's Bye-Bye Bacteria Face Cloth ($10). It has silver ions in it, which help fight bacteria. I use Youth to the People's Kale + Green Tea Spinach Age Prevention Cleanser ($36) for cleanser. It's super light, and I love the smell of it. Then, I'll use a toner. I like using watered-down vinegar because it's PH balancing. Then, I use the Frilliance Perfecting Primer + Serum. And if my skin is feeling dry, I'll use some cream or oil. I just bought the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream ($64), so I'm testing it out to see how it works for my skin.
You mentioned skincare is a form of self-care for you. Are there any other self-care practices that help you relax?
Showers are a part of my self-care routine. I like to turn my music up as loud as I possibly can. I'll use body scrubs, wash my hair, cleanse my face, and dance around in the shower. I also like to drive to cool destinations, like a lookout point an hour away. I'll also blast music during my drive. Music is somewhat like therapy. It helps me navigate my emotions.