High profile content creators Hasime Kukah @thebeautyradar and Mikayla Nogueira @mikaylajmakeup have helped establish Milani Cosmetics’ Fetish Matte Lipsticks as a seasonal must-have.
Milani didn’t market the Color Fetish Matte six-shade lipstick collection, carrying a suggested retail of $8.99, as an alternative to prestige brands such as Huda Beauty, but savvy influencers connected the dots.
It all started when Hasime sought out the range and posted 10 times about the product, garnering 3.5 million views and sparking a barrage of other creator posts voicing their approval. Mikala Nogueira was one of those creators who had to see what the buzz was all about. After trying the products firsthand, she proclaimed to her 8.5 million followers that the Color Fetish Matte Lipstick collection was the most beautiful fall lipsticks she had ever seen.
In five weeks, said Milani’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Lowenstein, there were more than 80 videos focused on Color Fetish tallying in excess of 10 million views, over 6,000 comments and 25,000 shares.
According to Milani, Tiktok helped fuel a sellout of all shades at Ulta Beauty and an almost 4,000-person waitlist. Average daily sales at Walmart soared close to 500 percent while Walgreens produced more than a 300 percent increase over a two-week period in September. Milani’s own site chalked up gains during the same period approaching 800 percent resulting in a sell out with its own 4,000-person waitlist.
“We are an indie brand, so we love when people take our message out to market,” said Jeremy.
Although Milani is celebrating its 20th anniversary, the brand, now stewarded by industry veteran Mary Van Praag as Chief Executive Officer—is hitting its stride.
TikTokers have built interest, but it’s desirable formula and upscale packaging have sealed the deal with influencers. Products are being lauded for their creamy texture and hyaluronic acid to keep lips soft and moisturized. The range is also vegan and cruelty-free—a hallmark of Milani products.
The highly-pigmented, inclusive brand resonates with the TikTok community for several reasons, added Jeremy, a seasoned beauty executive, who joined the brand four months ago.
“TikTok benefitted from COVID,” he explained. “Everyone was locked up at home looking for some form of entertainment and TikTok did that quickly. The adoption rate has exceeded expectations.”
Statistics from TikTok, which bowed in 2016, reveal there are more than one billion monthly global users—or one in seven people around the world. TikTok hit that lofty goal in half the time it took Instagram.
Jeremy believes the authenticity of TikTok, where real-time videos are not edited, resonates with viewers. The TikTok algorithm also offers opportunities for creators with even a modest following to gain traction. GenZ might seem to be TikTok’s biggest fan base, but Jeremy observed it has a multigenerational following. “There are grandparents making TikToks.”
Dovetailing with TikTok’s allure is consumer interest in buying color cosmetics again—not only to look better to others, but themselves, too, Jeremy said.
To fuel the fire, Milani is adding six more shades to the Color Fetish Matte range early next year. The company also has a new mascara called Highly Rated Anti-Gravity, which is in Ulta Beauty and will roll out to other retailers in January. “We continue to offer prestige quality at affordable prices. We are democratizing premium beauty,” he said.
TikTok sparks new trends seemingly every second, but Jeremy doesn’t see demand for Color Fetish diminishing—and its success has had a halo impact on the entire brand.
Milani is sold at major retailers including Ulta Beauty, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS as well as Amazon and its own site. “We can see from our DTC sales what is happening in real time,” he said.
To herald Milani’s 20th anniversary, the company kicked off a campaign called Milani Makers celebrating the creators, makeup artists and others who help build the brand’s awareness. It will be an ongoing program celebrating and highlighting Milani Makers.
Jeremy thinks the ethos of the brand is perfectly position for today’s consumer. “This is our time. We are ripe for even more growth.”