Austin-based Olive + M heads to Target
by Ivy Moore
When Mariska Nicholson ran out of the face oil a friend had gifted her, she went to the store to buy a new bottle and was shocked. It was $200. Without hesitation, she jumped into her kitchen and began mixing and blending formulas. The fact that she has a culinary background came in handy.
Nicholson was on a mission to create an effective and affordable face oil. At the time, face oils weren’t as popular as they are now and neither were clean, ethical beauty products made by small companies. She says all of the items in her line emerged as she sought to solve a problem for herself while also bridging the gap between luxury and affordable products in the beauty industry.
As she started reading ingredient lists and questioning what seemed foreign to her, Nicholson realized that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put inside them. She found the fact that we shop for healthy food at farmers markets but still use chemical-filled face washes and moisturizers to be contradictory
One issue with most beauty products are the toxic chemicals and preservatives they contain to increase their shelf life and preserve their formulas. There is also an extreme lack of FDA regulation in the industry. Nicholson discovered a healthier way to preserve her products; by using high levels of antioxidants like raspberry, rosemary and cranberry, her olive oil-based formulas can last longer.
Olive + M hit the bullseye with Target when they met representatives of the retail giant last August at a convention. One thousand brands applied to take part in an accelerator program and 10 were accepted, Olive + M among them. Soon after, Nicholson found out that her line of products had been chosen to be sold in stores. Olive + M had to undergo hundreds of tests of the individual ingredients in each item before getting Target’s clean beauty stamp of approval.
For Target, including small, clean beauty companies on their shelves amongst the big brand names appeals to younger shoppers and those who care about the ingredients in the products they buy.
“We’re an inclusive, not an exclusive brand and Target allows me to reach all people,” Nicholson says. When Olive + M was born, she was a single mom raising two boys, so she wants the beauty products she creates to be accessible to everyone and include nothing but clean ingredients that are safe for the whole family. She advocates for using oils to cleanse and hydrate both the face and body, and says the line isn’t limited to females. “Usually, Olive + M is brought into the household by the wife or the girlfriend or the mom, but then it’s adopted by the whole family.”
You can find the following Olive + M staples at select Target stores: Face Oil, Cleansing Oil, Body Oil, Shimmer + Glow Body Oil, Antioxidant Balm (available online only) and Face Polish (available online only). Happy shopping!