Doubling Down

by Rona Berg

Like many stylish young women, Kristen Speller, founder of Doubledown Cosmetics, loved makeup. “I have glorious memories of going to Sephora in Boston with my mom, for ‘girl days’ when I was in college,” says the native of Taunton, Massachusetts.

Sadly, her mom has since passed, but the love of makeup stuck with her. After Speller graduated, she worked her way up to a corporate position in environmental services. Speller is also a songwriter and musician, whose cousin, Perry Lee “Tiny” Tavares, is with the Grammy Award-winning R&B band, Tavares. Tiny encouraged Kristen to move to LA to further her music career.

She married, moved to LA and that’s when her story takes a dark turn. Speller became a victim of domestic violence. Meanwhile, opportunities in music started coming her way, but she still held on to her corporate job. But by this time, the abuse was so bad, she resorted to wearing turtlenecks year-round, and “I had to use makeup to cover my wounds, or I wouldn’t have been able to keep my job,” she says. Speller escaped from her 10-year marriage to her now ex-husband, and met Marvin Speller, her current husband, who she calls “an angel.” The two decided to go into business together and launched Doubledown Cosmetics. After embracing a natural lifestyle, they decided to start the clean lifestyle brand, free of toxic ingredients.

Doubledown is mission-driven, and, according to Speller,
“provides clean cosmetics to our domestic violence survivors of
Los Angeles as well as our unhoused sisters on the streets of LA,”
through the Glam Up program. She and Marvin started the Love Is
foundation to help victims of domestic violence. They donate
resources, “glam up” the women, and “make them feel like they are worthy and have dignity.”

Products include lip balm, lip gloss, blush, highlighter, skincare and more. Speller strives to address a gap in the clean beauty space. “My daughter and I couldn’t find highlighters to represent our melanated skin tones across the spectrum,” she says. “We still have very little representation in the clean beauty space.” Doubledown Cosmetics is a non-GMO, organic, gluten-free and cruelty-free cosmetic and skincare brand. “We are black-owned, -created and -operated,” says Speller, whose family has roots in Cape Verde.

“Within our Glam Up program, I now cover up other survivors’ wounds so they can keep their jobs and go to court without the embarrassment of being seen with wounds,” she continues. “My husband and I assist survivors with going to court in addition to the makeovers, as we provide victim impact statements, help with mediation liaison, and prepare survivors for court.”

Doubledown was accepted into the Credo for Change Program, and just last month, it launched in Walmart’s clean beauty department, called The Mindful Experience. There’s nowhere to go but up from here. doubledowncosmetics.com

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