When it comes to festival fashion, there’s one trend that only seems to be getting bigger and more unique: glitter & bedazzlements. What used to just be loose glitter placed under the eye or on the hair has turned into face gems, boob jewels, and even rhinestones to go around your belly button. We sat down with Claudia, the founder of Lunautics, one of the biggest brands in the game, to find out how she went from having a corporate 9-5 job to starting her own glitter company.
Can you remember the first time you applied glitter on yourself?
I’ve been adding sparkle to my life since my parents first allowed me to wear makeup! But, the first time I ever got gLIT for a rave was EDC 2013. That was only my second rave ever and I made my own rave bras to wear to the fest.
I used glitter in all of my outfits, and it was this experience of dressing up for the first time that made me love the individuality celebrated within rave fashion.
What inspired you to make your own glitter?
I wanted to wear glitter roots to Beyond Wonderland and was hoping to find glitter with stars in it, but couldn’t find anything on the market. I ended up settling for fine glitter and glued rhinestones into my hair instead.
Nearly six months later, I was preparing my outfits for Nocturnal and still had the itch to wear chunky glitter with stars in it. Alas, it was nowhere to be found so I decided to try making it myself! I was already hand-making face gems for myself and needed something extra to top off the look. Being extra is always the goal, so I did some research, ordered samples from some cosmetic pigment suppliers, and started mixing away!
I told some of my friends about my new idea, and luckily, they were vending at Nocturnal Wonderland and invited me to join them! Lunautics launched at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 three weeks later where we did free glitter makeovers and sold the first 50 units of glitter. It turns out that I wasn’t the only one looking for quality glitters and we haven’t slowed down since.
How did Lunautics get involved with iHeartRaves?
We were at Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas a few weeks after Lunautics launched and I gave them each a small container of glitter that weekend. I was so excited about my new idea that I just had to share! I am so lucky to call Amanda aka Mama Unicorn and Kelcey aka Tiny Dancer personal friends of mine. They have truly supported me and encouraged me on this sparkly journey!
They must have liked it, because Amanda asked me to consider letting iHeartRaves carry it a few weeks later. I was shocked and honestly scared to work with such a well-known company, so I declined. Actually, I declined a few times, mostly because I did not think I could do it!
But with Amanda and Kelcey’s encouragement and persistence, I gained enough confidence to give it a try. And I am so thankful to them for believing in me and my brand, even when I wasn’t ready to yet. My partnership with iHeartRaves has been a dream come true, and I love getting to be involved with a brand that encourages unapologetic self-expression!
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
I am originally from the Philippines and if I could live anywhere in the world besides Los Angeles it would be at home in Makati with my cousins and family. I am so fortunate to have cousins who are more like siblings, and it has always been a dream of mine to be close to them again.
What was your first festival or rave?
My first festival was Beyond Wonderland Bay Area 2012. I was in love with the culture from my very first experience and honestly regretted that I had not found the community sooner in my life! I thought at 26, I was already too old to rave, but here I am 6 years later still going strong, with many years left to go.
What does the rave community mean to you?
Our community of ravers means so much to me. I was a very different person before I found raves, I grew up very sheltered and with strict expectations of me. It’s cheesy but I believe I have truly found a place where I can be me, free of judgment, and it has allowed me to create a life for myself that I could never have imagined.
How do you come up with the designs for your face gems and boob jewels?
I like to look at the trends of what’s happening in festival and rave fashion and identify what areas of the body are left exposed so they can get gLIT. For example, last year underboob tops and cutouts were huge so I created Lunautics underboob jewels to accentuate the under the bust area.
Sometimes when I am designing new glitter color or face gem it is easier to work backward. I recently had the opportunity to collab with iHeartRaves to create a iHeartLunautics Line to compliment the Electric Love Collection! I got to go into their headquarters and meet with the buyers to view the collection months before its release, then I went home and drew up face gems, body gems and so much more to match. It was easy to design this new collab because I had all their amazing products to use as inspo! For example, we created a third eye face gem to match one of their seamless face masks, and daisy pasties to match their daisy print mesh tops! We even created a unicorn shaped glitter so that everybody can wear it and feel like they are part of the Unicorn Crew.
Madison Holographic Scrunch Back Booty Shorts,J. Valentine Tie Dye Haze Booty Shorts, Lunautics Iridescent Daisy Body Gems (Stephanie Le Photography)
What were you doing before Lunautics? What is your career background?
I have been in the fashion industry since I was in high school. My first job was dressing mannequins at a local department store and then I went on to be a buyer and later a store manager for two different boutiques. It was those experiences that helped me decide to pursue a degree in fashion, which I later completed at FIDM.
After college, I wanted to get into the luxury market so I interned with Louis Vuitton. I then later went on to work for two luxury department stores in a variety of roles. Most recently, I was an executive sales manager which was a job I loved. It made it very difficult for me to leave my previous career behind to pursue the growth and expansion of Lunautics.
So, I know you are doing Lunautics full time now. How does that feel?
It is exciting and scary! For the last year and a half, I worked my full-time job, and did Lunautics in any other spare time I had left in the day! I often worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so I am still adjusting to a more regular schedule. I feel guilty whenever I am not working!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I used to make every single glitter myself, but had to consider moving to a manufacturing process when Lunautics started to take off. When it came time for Lunautics to scale up and grow beyond just me, it was important to me that our products are made ethically and benefit my local community in some way.
We now partner with Goodwill of Southern California to provide work opportunities to individuals with learning disabilities. This program gives participants on-site training and career counseling. The individuals who are employed through this job training program manufacture all of our Moon Dust glitters and prep the rest of our products for shipment. The program was designed by Goodwill to help people learn necessary skills and behaviors to retain employment so they can live financially independent lives.
I spend at least a few days a week with the team at Goodwill in the factory located here in Los Angeles; and getting to know the people and working alongside them is definitely the most rewarding way I spend my time.
What does the future hold for Lunautics?
Every day is a new adventure full of possibilities! Right now, I am taking one day at a time, and focusing on being the best at what we do by providing high quality products. We are introducing new items that complement our current assortment, like glitter glues and offering our eco conscious customer new plant based biodegradable glitter options as well.
The most exciting thing for the future of Lunautics is growing our team! We just recently hired a part time graphic designer and a communications manager and with their help and ideas, Lunautics is continuing to grow. We are also beginning to hire and train a team of makeup artists who we will use for our makeover events! We have five amazing new glitter artists joining us in Vegas at the Luxor; and that event is going to be killer!
I truly believe in hiring people who are better than you, and I can’t wait to expand further and bring talented people with fresh ideas on board.
Where can we catch Lunautics next?
Our next big event will be the beauty bar at the Lux Rave store in Las Vegas! We are partnering with iHeartRaves to bring our makeup artists to the Luxor to help everybody get gLIT for EDC weekend! Catch the Lunautics team from 12:00pm-3 at Lux Rave to get your glitter and face gems done by the Glitter Gang!
We will also be partnering with Insomniac to offer a luxe glitter bar inside of the artist lounge at EDC Las Vegas! So, if you are one of the lucky ones with backstage passes, roll through and get gLIT
I can’t wait to see everybody in Vegas!
If you’re going to be at EDC, come check out the iHeartRaves Lux Rave store at the Luxor. Lunautics will have a whole glitter team available for glitter makeovers Friday - Sunday 12PM to 3PM.