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Flyte.70 founders Carolyn Barber (left) and Elena Frankel taped a vision board for inspiration on a wall in their store.
Flyte.70 founders Carolyn Barber (left) and Elena Frankel taped a vision board for inspiration on a wall in their store.
Original photo by Maddie Browning
Style > Beauty

Menopause beauty brand Flyte.70 in Wellesley, MA fights against anti-aging narrative

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

Women are conditioned to be concerned about the natural progression of aging from a young age. From anti-aging messaging on skin care products to the recent trend in 10-year-old girls collecting Drunk Elephant serums from Sephora, women are shown that they should be fighting against fine lines and wrinkles. 

Elena Frankel and Carolyn Barber wanted to destigmatize aging and what beauty means for women over 50, so they created Flyte.70, an age positive beauty brand and brick and mortar business that opened last September in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Their makeup line is made to bring color and glow back to women’s faces. The products are named after their favorite ’80s and ’90s songs from bands and artists like Nirvana and David Bowie to remind women over 50 of a time when they felt beautiful. 

Flyte.70 is named after the year Frankel and Barber were born: 1970. Their packaging features aerial views of land to represent the importance of looking at a place from a different perspective like they do with beauty. 

The pair first met working at beauty counters in Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston in the ‘90s. They developed their first store E6 Apothecary, selling independent beauty brands from 1998 to 2006. 

The first US Sephora store opened in New York City in 1998 as well, and Frankel and Barber said they were seeing smaller beauty businesses taking a hit from Sephora and other large beauty companie’s rising popularity. Coupled with rising rent prices and raising their children, they decided to close their doors.

“We spoke over the years about regrouping and finding a way that we [could] contribute to the beauty industry in a more meaningful way,” said Frankel in an interview at her store. “And that’s when we started discussing creating our own brand because makeup is our first love.”

Their store in Wellesley is bright and airy with carefully curated counters and shelves. It’s not crammed with products like a department store – they said they didn’t want customers to feel overwhelmed with too many options.

Two walls feature collages of makeup, older beauty models, music artists, and other inspiration held up with bright orange tape that encompass Frankel and Barber’s vision for the brand. 

Their Flyte.70 line includes products for lips, eyes, cheeks, and face. Frankel said they don’t aim to fight fine lines and wrinkles because they are a natural part of aging. They focus instead of bringing color and glow back to women’s skin. 

Flyte.70’s B+B.LipBlot, a semi-transparent soft-matte lipstick.
Original photo by Maddie Browning

“As you mature, those are the two things that you can instantly bring back to your skin with very little money, and that’s with blush or sheer lipstick or a highlighter,” said Frankel. “It’s very easy to bring those two things back and still look very fresh and modern.”

Flyte.70 also carries brands like Rōz, a haircare company founded in Australia, and Jeureora, a New Zealand skincare company. Frankel and Barber carefully research and vet the products – sometimes having customers try them before ordering larger quantities – to thoughtfully decide what to carry. They said they don’t introduce any brands that overshadow other brands in the store. 

“They’re all emerging brands,” said Frankel. “They have to be vegan, they have to be cruelty free. They all have to be making sustainable efforts.”

Frankel and Barber said as you age, sometimes you get into a routine and life starts to feel monotonous – this extends to beauty. So they provide makeup application tips and encouragement for women to try out new looks through reels on their Instagram

“If you want to wear a bold hot fuchsia lip when you’re 45, 50 years old, you should do it. It shouldn’t be something that women are always told to tamper things down,” said Frankel. “Age positive means really embracing where you’re at no matter what stage of life you’re in.” 

Barber said she and Frankel work to make the store a safe space for women to find makeup in a low pressure environment and feel confident. 

“I think we give a lot of these women some motivation,” said Barber.  “I think it’s just affirmation that it’s okay to get old, it’s okay to have some wrinkles.”

Flyte.70 is located at 555 Washington St. in Wellesley.
Original photo by Maddie Browning

Marian Abraham, 67, stumbled upon Flyte.70 when she was going to a hair appointment nearby. She said Barber greeted her and helped with a personalized, low-stress, and informative shopping experience.

“Carolyn mentioned that they were age inclusive. I hadn’t really heard that much because [as women, we are] conditioned to make sure we look as young as possible,” she said. “I appreciated their studio’s foresight and generosity to be age inclusive and to embrace wrinkles. It’s not something I was used to in the makeup world today.”

She later brought her 21-year-old daughter Lauren Abraham to the store. Lauren said she doesn’t often wear makeup but was looking for a simple going out look. 

“We just walked in, and my mom introduced me. She was like, ‘Hey, this is my daughter. She doesn’t have very much makeup experience’ – which is the truth – ‘and she’s interested in trying some stuff out,’” said Lauren Abraham. “I was a little nervous, but they were so friendly, and it didn’t really seem like a salesman thing. It just seemed more like they wanted to help me out. The energy was just personal and warm.”

Frankel and Barber said they strive to make beauty shopping comfortable and empowering for all ages. 

“Positive beauty to Carolyn and I really means embracing your life,” said Frankel, “wherever you are, whatever stage of life you’re in.”

Maddie Browning is a senior journalism major with environmental studies and publishing minors at Emerson College. She is a freelance writer for the Living and Arts sections at The Boston Globe. Browning covers music, comedy, books, travel, romance, and fashion.