The criticism may have died down for the owner of the Joy of Knitting in Franklin, Tennessee, who banned women from buying her yarn to make pink pussy hats for the women’s march. But another storm may be brewing for Alexandra Whitcombe, the CEO and founder of Vendome Beauté, whose personal Facebook profile was hastily taken down after posting a variety of memes denigrating women’s march participants, Hillary Clinton and even the phrase, “The future is female.”
A former model and floral designer, Whitcombe founded Vendome Beauté to “deliver small batch, artisanal skin care for today’s discerning, socially conscious global woman” and “spread beauty around the world” according to her website, which sells lip balm, eye shadow and blushes with names like “Happy” “Flirt” “Lucky” “Carefree” and “Sassy.”
But Whitcombe’s personal Facebook posts were decidedly less coquettish, beginning with a stripper meme of Pepe the Frog in a thong (and the words “f*ck you”) at the top of her page. Another post mocked socially conscious global women who protested the policies of the new Trump Administration. “Sums up the so-called women’s march,” Ms. Whitcombe wrote about a meme that defaced protest signs to read “marry me,” “my daddy issues are everybody’s problem” and “your penis frightens me!”
On January 21, 2017, I marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City to Trump Tower, just feet away from the photographer Annie Leibovitz, and in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of women, men and children worldwide. I’m pretty sure I was not the only woman who wore makeup that day (mine was cruelty-free).
All this came to mind when I stumbled across Whitcombe’s facebook rant on February 8 and questioned her about it, only to watch the page disappear without a response (nor did she respond to requests for an interview for this article).
Targeting artisanal beauty products to socially conscious women online is smart. Denigrating them while doing that is not, especially in an age of #grabyourwallet consumer boycotts.
Nasty women wear mascara and blush and even dresses and heels. The future is female; and if Whitcombe disagrees, then she’s in for an awakening — and it may not be a pretty one for her beauty brand.