Chiffon Dior: Dr. Jen, I wish I was talking to you under better circumstances my dear, but all things considered, how are you doing honey?
Dr. Jen: I’m hanging in there. A little numb, but also really overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we’ve received in the last few days.
CD: For those people who aren’t familiar yet with Atomic Cosmetics, can you give us a little crash course in your labor of love?
DJ: I created Atomic Cosmetics about seven years ago, when I learned that due to the lack of FDA regulation on the personal care market in the US, loads of toxic chemicals were present in skincare and makeup. I was horrified, naturally, and went to purchase healthy makeup. However, that makeup was sad and pathetic. It was all low pigment, brown, and generally awful. I let out a ‘WTF does a girl have to do to get a gd jewel tone around here?’ and went to work. I developed a line of healthy cosmetics that are fun and even performance quality.
One of the things I specialize in is stage makeup. I saw what kinds of nasty burlesque and drag performers were forced to use, and decided that was totally unacceptable. So I asked a lot of questions of the local performers, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.
CD: And, in one of the biggest understatements ever, you were coming at this from a very different background than most people in the cosmetics industry.
DJ: HA! True! I am not a performer, rather I am a scientist. I have a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics and an undergrad degree in pathogenic microbiology.
CD: Now that we all feel like slack-jawed yokels in comparison to your glittery credentials, how was Atomic Cosmetics received in your home base of Seattle upon your launch?
DJ: Seattle welcomed us with open arms! The performer community here LOVES us, and as a result, my shop has morphed into a sort of Sparkle Person Community Center, where performers from theatre, drag, burlesque and everywhere in between can come and have a safe space to be themselves. I feel like I’m a mom to about half the Hill right now.
CD: Heck, even your own son wound up in Atomic Cosmetics at one point! Was that the first ever case of someone being a real mom AND a drag mom?
DJ: *Laughs* It might be. I grounded him for that shoot. Damn jawline. I mean, really. It’s not right.
CD: It would really be criminal if she….er….he didn’t pursue it. *laughs*
DJ: He wants to be a mathematician.
CD: So he could follow the family path, scholar first, glittery diva later.
DJ: Exactly! As soon as he wins the Fields medal, he can go kick some ass in drag.
CD: You must be so proud! So I can say from experience you make some incredible products (I love me some Drag Eraser!) which is why I joined the throngs of people lining up to help you in your time of need. Could you give us a brief synopsis of the problems Atomic Cosmetics is going through?
DJ: Well, it’s a complicated story, but basically, my husband and I were business partners, and we are in the process of divorcing. This has created a large amount of financial strain on the both of us, and as a result, on the business. We had planned an expansion, and had secured an SBA loan to do so, but now, due to the divorce, that is not happening. In addition, the business account was compromised, leaving us essentially at zero. I was ready to give up, but then after talking to the team, we decided it wasn’t going to go down without a fight. So we set up the gofundme campaign, and threw that Hail Mary.
CD: I was heartbroken when I saw your post that Atomic was done but I felt a glimmer of hope when I saw the campaign begin. I quickly opened up my purse to contribute and clearly so did a LOT of people! Did you expect such a level of support?
DJ: I didn’t! I was floored. In fact, for the entire first day, all I could do was cry. I just couldn’t believe all the love and support we were getting from the community. It was like they all said, “Oh HELL NO” and set about saving the place. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see this. This company is my baby, I’ve poured my heart and soul into it. I’ve worked hard to support my community and create a fun, safe space where performers of all types are welcome. It makes me so happy to see that other people love what I’m doing too.
CD: This has the makings of a feel good movie! Is the future of Atomic Cosmetics a little more bright than it seemed a few days ago?
DJ: It seems so! We’ve raised enough to open the doors again, and we’re gonna take it one day at a time. Thanks to everyone who donated, Atomic is still kicking! But we’re still fighting to keep it going, so please, donate if you can! (To help out, click here!)
CD: In the meantime, you’re still open for business and people can head over to colorsthatgoboom.com and order products until their banks accounts are empty right? What new and exciting products do you have out?
DJ: Yes we are, and yes they can! In fact, if you donate to the gofundme, you get a gift certificate for that amount, so you are really just pre-shopping! We’re working on some new skincare products, like body wash, and some hair products, like pomade, shampoo and conditioner. But right now we have some awesome deals, like our Lipstick of the Month club, where you get a new Atomic lipstick every month; and our Trade In Your Toxins program, where you send me your old, your tired, your toxic products, and I match them in healthy, non-toxic form.
CD: I also saw a very snazzy looking BurlyCon eyeshadow quad today that is calling my name. What your experience like there?
DJ: Burlycon is always amazing. We refer to it as our Catalina Wine Mixer. Super intense, but super awesome. We love our burly girls, and they love us! We rent a giant suite with a porn sized bathroom, fill the bathtub with ice and champagne bottles and put the testers out and voila! Instant bathroom insanity!
CD: You clearly don’t play around Dr. Jen!
DJ: Nope. Not even a little.
CD: Well, again I wish I was talking to you under better circumstances honey but I’m confident that, to quote Winston Churchill (You KNOW how drag queens LOVE Churchill!), “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” I think this is the start of bigger and better things for Atomic Cosmetics!
DJ: Thanks honey. I sure hope so. Fingers crossed!
CD: Any final words of wisdom before we crack open our second bottle of wine and call it a night?
DJ: Not other than please please keep donating! Atomic will rise again!