South Coast duo Matt Ford and Jack Steele, famous as The Inspired Unemployed, recently launched their debut fragrance –  Inspiré by No. Emploi.  What began as a joke has turned into a successful fragrance line that incorporates humour, charity, and creativity. In an exclusive  interview with Retail Beauty, the comedy duo, known for their humorous sketches and parody videos, share insights into their venture into the beauty industry.

The Origin of a Parody

Matt and Jack  revealed that their foray into the beauty industry was initially a parody. The idea was to create a fragrance commercial in a playful and exaggerated manner. What started as a jest quickly evolved into a full-fledged project.

“It all started as a light-hearted parody of those ultra-serious Italian fragrance commercials,” Jack explained.  “We found humour in the overly dramatic and often absurd nature of those ads, so we thought, ‘Why not give it a shot? Little did we know, it would turn into something much bigger.”

The Director’s Touch

The comedy duo acknowledged their transition into a professional production, working with director Justin McMillan. Initially, they were unsure of the scale and complexity of the project. However, the experience turned out to be amazing, and the creative collaboration was a perfect fit.

“With our background in creating content on iPhones, we met Justin, who brought valuable directorial expertise to the project,” Matt said. “It quickly grew beyond our initial expectations, and we began to feel a strong connection to it. Our first encounter with Justin, about three years ago, on a beach, turned out to be the catalyst for this project. We saw the potential and decided to go all in. After checking out Justin’s work on Instagram, we were fully committed, and the rest is history.”

The Fragrance and Its Design

Matt and Jack wanted a design that would tie into their brand’s stereotypical humour. The design of the bottle aims to represent this humour with bold colours and a distinctive visual style.

“Our collaboration with a creative team led by an art director involved experimenting with different ideas, including references to iconic fragrances, “ Jack said.  “We aimed to capture the stereotypical essence of traditional fragrance advertisements. Our goal was to mimic the over-the-top and extravagant visuals commonly found in such ads, transitioning from red to orange or yellow. While we initially questioned the extremeness of our approach, we ultimately fully embraced the parody, resulting in a campaign that pays homage to traditional fragrance advertising.”

Balancing Humour and Sensitivity

In an era marked by heightened sensitivity and “cancel culture,” the duo emphasised their commitment to avoiding offense. They strive to create comedy that doesn’t harm or offend anyone. While they may poke fun at stereotypes, their primary goal is to amuse, entertain, and never hurt sentiments.

“We aim to entertain without causing offense,” Matt said.  While humour is essential in our content, we are committed to staying sensitive to societal changes. In a landscape where people actively seek reasons for criticism, we’re open to constructive feedback, ready to adapt our approach to ensure our content remains respectful and engaging. We take care from script to the final product, always mindful of the message we convey.”

Charity and Giving Back

One unique aspect of the fragrance venture is its commitment to charity. The duo is donating all the profits generated to various charities, ensuring that their project serves a greater purpose. They’ve set up a submission form on their website to allow struggling individuals and charities to reach out for support.

“We started this project with a focus on more than just profits,” Jack said. “We understand that many people and charities are currently facing challenges. Through our submission form, we aim to help those in need by directing our profits to various charitable causes. It’s not just about taking; it’s about giving back and supporting those who require assistance. Our commitment goes beyond financial gain, reflecting our passion for making a positive impact.”

Balancing Work and Social Media

In a world where social media can be overwhelming, the duo admitted that it’s challenging to strike a balance between their online presence and personal lives. They also described the hard work and long hours required for their projects’ success.

“We recently took a trip to the Maldives, which was a fantastic way to disconnect from the constant stream of notifications and emails,” Matt said. “However, it can be challenging to distance yourself from work when it’s such a big part of your life. The influx of emails and calls can be overwhelming, and it often feels like a never-ending cycle.”

Inspiré by The Inspired Unemployed is available online and in-store at Chemist Warehouse  stores Australia-wide

This article was first published in the Summer issue of Retail Beauty:

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