The Dream Hotel was filled with smiling young beauty bloggers rocking artfully-applied makeup during Ipsy’s Creator Day, held Friday September 16.
The invite-only event, which featured panel discussions on brand building, and even a lesson on video editing by Ipsy co-founder, Michelle Phan, kicked off the brand’s Generation Beauty event, held on September 17 and 18 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The weekend, which gave thousands of beauty lovers the chance to meet their favorite beauty bloggers, was designed to unite Ipsy’s community of creators – Ipsy lingo for beauty influencers.
“Creators have changed everything,” said Ipsy’s Chief Executive Officer, Marcelo Camberos, estimating that more than 5,000 attendees participated in the event and a whopping 332 million social media impressions were generated throughout the weekend. “The revolution in the beauty industry is here.”
With representation from 44 beauty brands including NYX, Benefit, It Cosmetics and Tarte, Generation Beauty drew a few hundred members of Ipsy’s Open Studios, a community of 10,000 up-and-coming and more established creators, who have free access to Ipsy-branded events, mentoring sessions and other benefits. According to Ipsy, the combined reach of these influencers is more than 179 million. “We help them become stars,” said Marcelo, adding that influential beauty creators such as Chrisspy, Cydnee Black and Desi Perkins, are Ipsy In-House Stylists, and full-time Ipsy employees.
Embracing the momentum of social influence was the theme during a panel on Creator Day, moderated by Ipsy President Jennifer Goldfarb.
“Everyone here is a representation of the change that is happening,” said Michelle during the talk, which featured Melanie Whelan, Chief Executive Officer of Soulcycle; Pauline Brown, Harvard Business School professor and former Chairman at LVMH, and Brit Morin, Founder of Brit + Co. “You are each your own brand.” According to Michelle, who has been making beauty videos for almost 10 years, creators must be authentic, platform agnostic and unafraid of failure.
“When I first started out it was a space that was unchartered,” Michelle said. “I always knew whatever you are projecting online is your public persona. You are your own PR. I feel like I made smart choices.”
With more than half a billion views a month across its social channels and the channels of its in-house creators—nine million thanks to Michelle’s YouTube channel alone—Ipsy is poised to revolutionize the way women discover beauty, said Marcelo. “These are bigger-than-TV numbers,” he said. “These creators have a huge reach and passionate, engaged audiences. They are changing the media landscape.”
According to Michelle it was a mix of instinct and good timing that allowed her to go from waiting tables during college to a career in beauty blogging.
“If I didn’t take that leap of faith, I wouldn’t be here,” said Michelle.
According to Marcelo, the numbers are undeniable, and brands can no longer ignore the power and massive sales-driving potential within the blogosphere.
“Brands are now coming to us wanting to build their direct-to-consumer business,” said Marcelo, who imagines a kind of iTunes type store for beauty sales in which consumers can purchase products directly from social channels in the near future. “If we started the beauty industry now, what would it look like? Would there even be any retailers?”
To that end, Marcelo said that through virtual product trial, swatching, and reviews, creators are replacing the traditional beauty advisor. “Creators cut out the middle man,” he said. “What’s next is building commerce opportunities where brands can see traffic and sales.”
Looking to the future, Marcelo said one goal is to continue to personalize the brand’s Glam Bag, which has 1.5 million consumers per month and generated $150 million last year, as well as making brands money.
“Brands need new revenue streams,” said Marcelo. “Brands who embrace this world are growing the fastest.”