A beauty business entrepreneur with a focus on color and irreverence, Nonie Creme ’90 will be the speaker at Williston Northampton School’s 175th Commencement on Sunday, May 29, 2016. Creme was Founding Creative Director of prestige cosmetics brand Butter London and took a chance on the mass market when she left it to create Nonie Creme Color Prevails in 2015. The line is sold at Walgreens and Duane Reed drug stores across the country.
“I have taken enormous risks, even though coming out of Butter London, I was a known entity and so many doors were open to me,” Creme said. “I am historically known for prestige, very expensive cosmetics and nail polish. With this company, I decided I wanted to take a leap of faith that I could get, over time, [upmarket makeup store chain] Sephora and department store consumers to come shop for their beauty products at the drug store.”
The risk seems to be paying off. “A lot of people said, ‘You’re crazy.’ If you screw up at prestige, you can always sell your stuff down at [the] mass [market],” she said. “If you screw up at mass, you’re done. I said, no, I’m doing this. I’m tasking myself with shifting a huge paradigm around the way people view their drug store. I have a strong gut and a strong vision and I’m highly intuitive as a businessperson. I trust myself.”
Creme hails from Houston, TX, and came to Williston Northampton School as a troubled teen with decent grades. “It’s no secret that I was a terrible teenager. Just a total hell-raiser.” At Williston she became enamored with the punk aesthetic and underwent a transformation from an unsophisticated girl who didn’t know how to do her own laundry to an independent young woman who dressed as a goth and frequented New York City’s punk venues during breaks from school. It was also at Williston that she developed her identity as an artist. “Really, I can credit Williston and [art teacher] Marcia Reed for giving me a safe, open environment in which to become an artist and to explore art in a way that I had never done before.”
As for advice for graduating seniors, Creme may emphasize the need to put oneself on the line. “Be prepared to take calculated risks,” she said, “but those risks have to be significant.” And to quote Colour Prevails’ website, “There are no mistakes, only experiments.”
The Commencement ceremony will take place under a tent in front of the Reed Campus Center, starting at 9:30 a.m., and will include the graduation of 133 members of the Class of 2016. The Reed Campus Center is located at 40 Park Street, Easthampton.