Several people have asked me for this story, and it’s to the point where it’s longer than Facebook’s character limit, so on here it goes.
EDIT: Emily’s response and a summary update at bottom of post.
EDIT 2: There’s a Part II here.
EDIT THE THIRD: Part 2.5 here.
EDIT THE FOURTH: Round two started mid-February 2014, here’s a link.
Project Undefined is a website run by a woman named Emily Witcher. Emily started out selling little handmade charms on etsy. It wasn’t very lucrative, in my opinion due to the quality of the products, so she moved onto other accessories, and eventually cosmetics.
It appears she has been trying to jump on trends (for example, she sold laser die cut necklaces for a while, using Black Heart Creatives‘ product photos and marking the prices up like crazy, and later apologizing. This is a theme. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to put sentences in parentheses.). She stocks some accessories from other online stores. Not sure when she opened her own site, but it’s been up for a while. The site is here. Edit: Site has been down since mid-November, 2013
A little over 48 hours ago (as of October 19th, 2013), the site had five pages of products, including nine foundations, two blushes, and two finishing powders. She also had 5-6 neon ‘pigments’, without specific ingredients listed, so it’s unknown if they were the ‘safer’ version of neon pigments that you can at least put on your face, or outright soap dyes or who knows what. From here on out, I will refer to those as shadows instead of pigments, because she made it extremely clear she considers them shadows. Screenshot where she indicates they’re A-OK for eye use below.
Here are the two remaining pictures of them (though these might be gone from the Project Undefined Tumblr by now). Edit: Entire Tumblr deleted.
I do not know if the ingredients are vegan or not, but she’s shown confusion about what does and does not constitute a vegan product in the past, for the record. As far as being the cheapest, while she does have a few $2 5g jars, most of her shadows are $5.10 for non-vegan 5g jars, and $6.50 for vegan 5g jars. Not even close to cheapest.
The photos (and many of the names) of everything removed, save the neon shadows, were stolen straight from BLSoaps on Etsy. I took screenshots of everything, because I know how people think the internet works. I combined all the images for each product into one image, a total of 16 images, those can be seen here. Below is one example.
If you look closely, you can see that every one of Emily’s product photos is merely a crop of the upper left or upper middle part of the BLSoaps image. And yes, she named a darker toned skin product ‘Brownie.’
Also interesting to note is that just a few days ago, a fan made a request for finishing powder meant for oily skin.
If a fan made a request, that means it wasn’t for sale. So apparently Emily, who stated at one point it takes her months to perfect a single product (but later deleted the post), came up with a unique formula for both oily and dry skin-specific finishing powders in a few days.
Now those photos are gone, from FB and her site. A few days before this brouhaha, she had cropped ‘n chopped versions of Whip Hand Cosmetics’ loose shadow product photos up for her shadows, but when someone called her out publicly, she took them down and replaced them with actual (over-edited, in my opinion) shots of her shadows.
I unfortunately do not have screenshots of this, but several different people independently confirmed it. I now have screenshots, courtesy of The Honest Reviews’ Facebook page. All of the sqaure, macro shots of shadows are from Whip Hand.
When I frankly asked her why she used other’s images, she said it was hard to get good pictures, and that ‘her products look like that anyway.’ I pointed out that that WAS NOT the point, and she agreed, and said she took them down because it was wrong. In actuality, she took them down because she was caught. Just in conversation/corrospondence with me, she’s shown a history of admitting error and apologizing, once she knows she’s been caught. She also said she took the neon shadows down because ‘they were causing issues within the blogger community.’ As far as I can tell, she’s referring to a long thread in another group, which I have only heard about secondhand, in which she stated she could sell neon pigments if she wanted to, because Sugarpill does, and got quite upset when the majority of the group disagreed.
She also joined an indie-focused group I admin on FB about six days prior to the brouhaha (I love that word). The only thing I personally saw her do was borderline-mention her company too much, which she was warned about (I’m not strict but don’t promote your shit at every chance, that’s just annoying), and complain about other companies selling more product, going so far as to imply they ripped off her ideas and photos. She deleted that before I thought to screenshot it. If you take a peek at her shadows, you’ll see that while they look alright there’s not a unique one in the bunch. It’s your standard ‘new indie company’ shades. There’s nothing to rip off.
I contacted several of the models on her Facebook page. Of those who have answered, about five, not a single one has yet modelled Project Undefined cosmetics. They all have vague plans/agreements in place to do so, but the pictures she has up on FB imply that they’re wearing her cosmetics in the photo. Example below. I feel this is a dishonest practice.
Lying and Backpedalling
There seems to be some disconnect between what Emily does, and what she says/thinks she did. Below is an example, her original status post was put up around 8 AM October 17th, and it stayed for almost twelve whole hours before she deleted it.
Obviously someone deleted some comments at the top. Ashley volunteered the information that she did not purchase from Emily, nor did she do anything more than look through Emily’s products the night before this post, so either Emily or the person who made the other posts deleted whatever context is missing.
You can see in Emily’s second comment in the first image, she states “I was removed from every group associated with indie companies and banned.” Since I did not remove her, and this was in fact posted while I was still figuring out what the hell was going on, I posted to say so. The rest of my comment stated that the group that had gotten her all fired up actually really doesn’t buy much Sugarpill, and sure as hell generally does not approve of Sugarpill selling neon pigments. She responded with “Not you, another group.” Even though she stated, right there at the beginning of the comments, that she was removed from every indie group. She is still not banned from my group, although I doubt she’ll ask to rejoin. She seems to think people wanting to be informed of happenings in their community and wanting potential customers to be informed is some sort of personal vendetta against her.
Other gems from her Facebook.
This photo album begs to differ. If she had said “All the photos on my site NOW are not stolen,” that would be one thing. I commented, asking if people were claiming her current shadow product pictures were stolen. I imagine she’ll realize this means I can see and comment on things despite being unfriended, and I’ll be blocked. UPDATE The post was deleted, I was blocked.
Not at all professional. We all started somewhere, no one was born with a brush belt around their waist. At least, I hope not. That would be very painful for their mother. Also, nice misogyny.
This worries me. I know there are safe, pressure-sensitive colors out there, but considering this hot mess she posted on her Tumblr a few days ago…
..I personally don’t have a lot of faith in her ability to make a safe, decent product, to be honest.
Speaking of refunds…
Someone in my group had ordered from Project Undefined, and after I informed the group of the photo theft from BLSoaps, they decided they didn’t want to support the business any longer, and emailed asking for a refund. Emily responded with a paragraph about how whoever was saying her business is unsafe (something the customer requesting the refund didn’t mention) is lying, signed the response “Good Luck,” and gave her a partial refund. She then posted on her personal page about she had an order ‘all made up’ and now nowhere to send it. I’m not sure why this is an issue, as every other company would simply keep it in stock until the items are needed.
No screenshots because she either made it private, or friends-only, or deleted it. Update: Found a screenshot. As of October 22nd, Emily still had not refunded the full amount, and the customer is waiting on Paypal to take action.Update: The rest of the refund was issued early in the morning on October 25th, almost a week after the cancellation. According to Emily, she had to wait until she had money in her Paypal account. The total order was $9, and the initial refund was $5. That means she didn’t have $4 in her Paypal account for almost a week, or she was fibbing.
The God Damned Subscription Box
One of the things we discussed in the group during her short stay was indie subscriptions. It was the usual bemoaning of how combined indie boxes have always been rip-offs, and then discussion of companies’ own subs, like Glamour Doll Eyes’ OTM, Madd Style Cosmetics’ new Madd Cat Monthly, etc. This was, at the most, five days ago prior to the brouhaha.
Two days later, she launched a set of Project Undefined subscription boxes, three with a Dr. Who theme and three with a Hunger Games theme. The page is here . Note the numerous spelling and grammar errors. I am by no means a grammar nazi, but but damn, look up proper punctuation for your product pages. Proofread. If you look at the page, you can tell it looks ridiculously rushed.
I have no issue with someone having a subscription service, but I don’t feel one can be properly planned in two days. Plus this one has some obvious flaws/ faults.
There are three ‘levels,’ as follows (check out the page for specific shades):
- Dr. Who: Four 5g jars of shadow from her current line and a Tardis necklace.
- Hunger Games: Three 5g jars of shadow, one 2g jar of shadow, and one 10g jar of blush, all from her current line, and a pair of ‘Hunger Games Mocking Jar’ earrings.
- Dr. Who: Four 5g jars of shadow, two 10g jars of blush, all from her current line, a Tardis necklace (presumably the same as the one in Basic box) and Sonic Screwdriver earrings, plus unnamed ‘goodies.’
- Hunger Games: Three 10g shadows, two from her current line and one unreleased, one 5g shadow from her current line, two 10g blushes, one unreleased and one from her current line, a vague ‘Hunger Games’ necklace, ‘Hunger Games Mocking Jar’ earrings (again, presumably the same), and more unnamed ‘goodies.’
- Dr. Who: Five 10g shadows, two 5g shadows, three 10g blushes, all from her own line, the Tardis necklace, the Sonic Screwdriver earrings, a Dr. Who cuff bracelet, and ‘goodies.’
- Hunger Games: One 20g shadow, two 5g shadows, one unreleased, two 10g shadows, two 20g blushes, and an unreleased 10g blush, plus the vague necklace, ‘Mocking Jar’ earrings, and more unspecified goodies.
All three of the Hunger Games boxes contain some of her neon pigment-things, too.
I typed all that crap out so you wouldn’t have to strain your eyes looking at that site, and so I can point out all the problems with them.
If you include everything that’s been removed recently, Project Undefined carries five blushes and sixteen eyeshadows. The larger the jars she includes, the less shades per box she’ll use up, but at an average rate of four current shadows and two current blushes, she’s going to run out of blushes for the basic box in 2.5 months, and shadows for it in four. Including unreleased shades will help, but those are only in the Silver and Gold packages so far, and I don’t know how fast someone can crank out new shades when they don’t have the time to properly photograph the products they’ve already made. With the Silver box, it’s four shadows and two blushes per box again, so again, 2.5 months of blushes and 4 months of shadows. As for the Gold box, it’s 5-7 shadows per box, and three blushes. 66% of her blushes have already been in boxes, she doesn’t even have enough for two months. She might get three months of shadows if she pulls quite a few unreleased shades out of thin air.
The one and only non-cosmetics item she’s posted so far is pictured below.
It has since been removed from Facebook.(UPDATE) and put back up, for some reason. I misunderstood the description, and ‘jewelry will match the theme of the box’ simply referred to Dr. Who or The Hunger Games. Too lazy to fix the text. I take it this is the Dr Who Cuff bracelet included in the Gold Dr.Who box, which again is $19. Assuming she bought three cuffs, the cost per item, including shipping to her, is $17. How does that leave room in the budget for the basic cosmetics she’s including, nevermind the other jewelry, or shipping?
My point is that this box is hastily thrown-together, not at all well-thought out, and from what I hear, something anyone who subscribes might not even receive at all. It’s a blatant money-grab. I have not witnessed or heard firsthand accounts of absent orders, all that is is a rumor. There are rumors about every company, many of them started by other companies, and quite malicious. However, I’m more inclined to believe rumors when the company already has obvious issues.
Miscellaneous Other Stupid Shit that I’m leaving in because if I were a potential customer, I would like to know about this kind of thing.
Emily is more about revenge than justice. Also, if you disagree with her, you’re an idiot!
Finally, the fucking conclusion
I don’t have anything against Emily personally. If she were to grow up, put on her big girl pants, and start running a reputable, safe indie company (and a spell/grammar check program), I’d be happy for her. I would probably even try her products after a year or two. But currently, everything she does seems like a money-grab, and she posts immature, unprofessional things online, including on the official Project Undefined social media accounts. I just managed to grab the stuff she didn’t delete, about 10% of the total. If she keeps on the path she’s currently treading, she’s going to be the next Viv Ennui.
I really don’t care about her, or Project Undefined, but I believe people have the right to information involving a place they might spend money, and a person they might give it to. I’m not going to keep up with her after this, unless she does something personal, so if you’re reading this and it’s several months old, you might want to do some investigating of your own. I repeat, I do not care about Emily, do not pull the ‘what r u a stalker?’ shit. I’m simply dedicated to making information available that I feel people should have access to.