Since she was a little girl, Davina Potratz has been fascinated by makeup. Growing up, she watched with wonder as her mother blended bold bronzes and painted her eyes in heavy eyeliner; makeup was the paint, the face an artwork.
Mainly known her for role on Netflix reality show “Selling Sunset,” Potratz works full-time as a real estate agent, but she previously modeled on world-renowned runways, placing in pageants for 11 years and has always admired beauty. After months of formulating, she is reinventing and sharing Hollywood glamour with the Valley this month in a partnership with withSimplicity.
Harrisonburg-based business withSimplicity is a brand that prides itself on using natural, toxin-free, vegan, cruelty-free and organic ingredients in all products for everyday casual wear. Potratz has combined her background in fashion and beauty with the company’s ethical wear to release a luxury makeup line primed to be revealed alongside season two of “Selling Sunset,” premiering May 22.
Marketing director for withSimplicity Mary McMahan said she reached out to the cast of “Selling Sunset” after the team binged the reality TV show, mesmerized by the drama and luxury of the Los Angeles housing industry.
Potratz said when withSimplicity sent samples her way and asked if she was interested in collaborating on a project, she was determined to craft something that would provide more than just a fun lip color; instead, she wanted to collaborate on something that would change how people, including herself, approach makeup.
“I’ve really been thinking about this problem that I feel like I have with makeup and there is no solution really for it. So, I had this idea of combining certain ingredients to be a solution for an existing problem that I think a lot of people have. It’s not much talked about, but when I mention it to people, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I have that problem, too,’” Potratz said.
Fusing the color-impact of a powder with the hydration of a cream or gel in two complementing products became a dream for Potratz, but she said deciding to work with withSimplicity came from the company’s core values and business model.
“I thought it was really cool that they are a small business, a woman-owned, woman-run business, and they focus on these natural products, but they also want to have cutting edge makeup,” she said.
Through this partnership, withSimplicity becomes the first Harrisonburg business to co-produce a product with someone in L.A; a point of pride for the business that in 2015 first began offering customers products out of an airstream trailer parked next to Jess’ Lunch.
While beauty and skincare sustain the business, withSimplicity is also a brand focused on philanthropy. Since 2018, a portion of sales from the company’s nail polish line has gone to Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. To support the local community during the pandemic, withSimplicity began a program called Get a Mask, Give a Mask on April 9 that donates a portion of all mask sales to the Sentara RMH Foundation Crisis Emergency Fund each month. For its first month of contributions, withSimplicity donated funds to purchase over 330 masks for the hospital, according to McMahan.
McMahan said half of withSimplicity’s customer base is in Virginia, and 70% of its Virginia customers are local. By being the first Harrisonburg business to collaborate on a product with L.A., McMahan said she hopes the partnership helps bridge more clients to Harrisonburg.
“With this line, we’re bringing the high-end luxury feel to our local customers and customers all over the country. … I think it’s something our community hasn’t seen before,” McMahan said.
Richmond-based shopper Michele Saxman discovered withSimplicity four years ago through her daughter who studied at James Madison University. As a fan of the brand’s makeup selection, she said the quality of long-lasting application paired with clean ingredients makes items such as the foundation a staple in her routine and she is excited to see what the latest line will bring to the table of beauty.
“If you have ever tried toxin-free makeup, you may have felt as though they don’t last all day. Without the toxins, the makeup can ‘wear off’ earlier than you would like. Not true with withSimplicity. Excellent products. High quality. Ingredients that I trust,” she said. “I am looking forward to this for sure. … I think the new products will supplement and complement the products I love.”
The line consists of two beauty products that come in two shades, designed to be universal, complementing any skin tone and infusing skincare benefits into makeup quality finish.
“One of the key ingredients that we’re focusing on in this line is hyaluronic acid, which helps pull moisture from the air and pull it to the skin to keep the skin moisturized … to help look glowy and very natural to the skin,” McMahan said.
Details of the line are hush, hush until May 22, but Potratz said each item is unlike anything else on the market and those savvy to skincare and makeup will be excited by the clean, hydrating and “genius” combination of ingredients. Each product will be priced around $40, and the withSimplicity x Davina luxury line will launch on June 5 at 6 p.m.
“I’m so proud of this. It’s like a dream come true because it’s a genuine problem I felt like I had,” Potratz said. “This is a true passion project. I hope people love it, and we’re really excited to come out with it.”