Independent Beauty Brand EMILIE HEATHE Releases an Official “The Batman” Line

Founder Emily Rudman debuts a thrilling collaboration that she has been working toward her whole life

Emily Heath Rudman named the luxury beauty company she founded after her superhero alter ego, EMILIE HEATHE, a moniker she feels reflects minimalism and balance, with a nod to her love of comic books—which also infuses the independent brand’s surprising collaboration with the forthcoming feature film The Batman. It’s the realization of a longtime dream for the founder, who thinks of her brand as a series of “elevated essentials, little luxuries,” she tells us.

Rudman’s descriptions echo across each item in her 10-free roster—from geometric nail polish bottles to gleaming mirrored lip balm tubes—each of which has been developed to be clean, nourishing, sustainable and heavily influenced by design and architecture. The company motto reads, “Where beauty meets art.”

When Rudman was a young girl she began to collect comic books and taught herself to draw her own. It was in the process of drawing characters that Rudman first began to “do makeup” while illustrating the features of the faces. As she got older and saw her sister experimenting with makeup she wanted to join in and try as many products as possible. She remembers looking forward to going to the nail salon with her mom. These outings were the first time she saw women who looked like her. They often asked her if she spoke Korean, which she does not, but she loved the shared beauty experience and the chance to choose nail polish colors and designs. By middle and high school she was reading Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces and Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty books.

Rudman attended Tufts University, where she studied Spanish and economics. While there, she spent a lot of time with international students, and took time to hone her makeup skills by helping friends get ready for events. She returned to NYC where she was raised, earned an MBA at Columbia and felt ready to make her way in the beauty industry. She attended MUD makeup school, worked at a MAC store, developed products at Avon and booked wedding makeup artist jobs on the weekends.

When she felt it was time to put all of her studies and experience into action, she began to map out the plans for EMILIE HEATHE. During the two and half years spent creating her dream nail polish, Rudman teamed up with Established for branding and bottle design. “One of the ways I felt we could stand out was with our packaging,” says Rudman. “I wanted something high-touch, beautiful, very industrial and something geometric.”

During the collaborative process, Rudman and the Established designers looked at multiple variations. “We would get some of the samples 3D printed so we could physically see what we wanted,” explains Rudman. “It’s all about art,” she adds. Rudman finds inspiration in the combination of craft and fine art of Bauhaus as well as Danish and Swedish architecture. For the nail polish bottles they considered a sculptural stacking design, but concluded that it was too technical. They then began to focus on the circle idea. “That’s when I said, if we can’t do something inspired by LEGOs, another way to connect them would be magnets.” The first set featured five shades: Perfect red, Big Night Out purple, Half & Half white, Just The Nip nude and a burnt orange inspired by NYC called Public. Later they added a blue-toned black and a series of luxe metallics.

Courtesy of Emilie Heathe

Before starting EMILIE HEATHE, Rudman had worked in nail and lip product design and innovation. “It seems like it goes hand in hand. Nails and lips,” she says, acknowledging the word play. “For the products we are always thinking about an Asian American consumer to address problems I am trying to solve for myself or others who have similar features as mine,” she adds, noting that she uses her own products, many of which were developed when she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for.

Rudman has continued to expand her offerings. “We create skincare products as it relates to your color cosmetic routine. For example, having great prepped lips helps you put on your lipstick to look amazing. We are also working on a hand serum, so that when you are putting on your beautiful nails and nail art and manicures you have the best conditioned hand and cuticles,” she says. “We like to say every product is a hero product. Every product is a superhero for us.”

As for comic books, Rudman’s love has only grown. She says, “All my friends, after a year, lost interest and went on to other things, but I became obsessed.” Rudman continues to read comic books. Recent acquisitions include artists that she followed as a kid: Jim Lee, Joe Madureira, Michael Turner and J Scott Campbell (who she met one time at Comicon while dressed as Harley Quinn). Rudman is thrilled to debut her first film collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics for The Batman.

The one thing I learned as an entrepreneur is that you can always ask because the worst thing they can say is no

“You could call it manifest destiny,” says Rudman. “The one thing I learned as an entrepreneur is that you can always ask because the worst thing they can say is no. People are so afraid to ask for things. It’s worth taking the risk.” Over the years, she has reached out to both Marvel and DC. Her determination was rewarded when DC responded with a yes. The Batman Nail Artist Trilogy collaboration blossomed into custom nail polish colors for The Batman. Rudman brought Established back to help customize the bottle design and create new thematic secondary packaging. Warner Brothers’ official style guide for The Batman asked them to reflect on the themes of “Unmask the Truth” and “Vengeance.”

First up was to develop an EMILIE HEATHE shade that celebrates the title character. While considering a black tone similar to the Batmobile, Rudman began to envision a deep blue. “We call it The Dark Knight, a play on words,” explains Rudman. “It is a dark blue with a silver pearl and looks like the ‘night’ sky.” They created Madness in a luscious green with a purple flip to represent The Riddler’s vibrant clothes and dual personality. And Rudman was inspired by Selina Kyle’s transformation into Catwoman for the color called Vengeance. “I think of her as elegant, with long nails and very seductive,” she says. The plum-wine red polish with blue pearl undertones evokes blood and revenge.

When asked what her younger comic-book-obsessed self would think about creating custom products for The Batman film, she replies, “Part of her would be in disbelief and part of her would think, “I knew this was going to happen!” This has been my goal. I remember looking at MAC products and the collaborations they would do with artists and brands and I remember thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that will be me some day. I am going to do a comic book collaboration.’ And it happened!”

For the film’s release, Rudman intends to open a bottle of her The Batman Nail Artist Trilogy polish, paint on some Vengeance, sit back and enjoy.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, THE BATMAN and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC and WBEI. (s22)