Ipsy is looking to parlay its beauty expertise into launching homegrown brands. The company will reveal its first brand, Complex Culture today, consisting of eight vegan, cruelty-free makeup brushes and two makeup bags.
The subscription-box business, cofounded by YouTuber star Michelle Phan, joins a growing list of companies eyeing a stake into what—until recently— was a booming beauty market. Although overall sales appear to be cooling off after two years of growth, businesses such as Ipsy see market gaps they feel qualified to fill.
For example, Glamsquad is harnessing the expertise of its on-demand stylists to create a new collection of tools, hair care and accessories to be sold at CVS. Anisa Beauty, which has been a go-to for makeup brushes for MAC and Sephora, last month launched its own direct-to-consumer array of makeup, skin care and cleansing brushes. On top of launches from companies not known for creating their own beauty products, the market is getting even more competitive as influencers and celebrities toss their hats into the ring as shoppers look for choices beyond heritage brands.
What Ipsy believes is in its favor is a treasure trove of data it can harness to build a robust product pipeline. Ipsy relies on a combination of algorithms, machine learning, and its 160 million-plus member reviews to identify white space opportunities that guide not only its monthly assortment, but also the development of community-inspired products. All told, the company can tap into the wish lists of 3 million-plus active members for product creation. Ipsy has shipped more than 1 billion products to date.
“We are uniquely positioned to create innovative products that address hidden pain points and enable Ipsters to express their unique beauty in unexpected ways,” said Marcelo Camberos, Co-Founder and CEO of Ipsy.
Complex Culture is just the beginning of what is planned for a new business unit, Ipsy Labs. More brands are in the works for 2020, the company said, especially those tackling common customer frustrations.
Complex Culture came out of feedback that brushes are confusing to consumers. Ipsy data, in fact, reveals that 85% of members consider brushes a necessary tool in their daily beauty routine, yet nearly 2 million of them find it confusing to know which brushes to use for any specific makeup application. The @complexculturebeauty Instagram bowed October 6 with a first post: “You’ve got a life story to write; don’t let your makeup routine take up too many pages.”
To make it simple, Complex Culture has explanatory names like “Contour Brush” or “Angled Foundation.” The names are emblazoned on the handles of the collection, which ranges in price from $18 to $35. Two makeup totes are priced at $15 for a Vegan Leather Bag and $75 for a Luxe Vegan Leather Makeup Case. The brushes feature exclusive Syn-Tech bristles and an ergonomic, 100% biodegradable handle with a velvet matte grip aimed to provide comfort, control, and ease of application.
There is the potential to include Ipsy’s bespoke brands into its monthly subscription mailings, known as Glam Bags, which feature at least five items.
Product creation isn’t totally new to the TPG-backed Ipsy. The company collaborated with the Betty Boop license, Tetris the video game and influencer Gigi Gorgeous makeup collections.