Founded in mid-2020, NYC-based beauty brand Pink Moon is led by founder Lin Chen and operated by just six contractors. Its total revenue in 2022 was over $400,000, and it’s projecting 2023 sales of over $1 million. In late 2022, Chen launched a sub-brand, Once in a Pink Moon, designed to cater to the skin-care needs of each element group, based on the typical characteristics of each astrological sign.
Inspired by her Chinese heritage, ancient holistic rituals and her own self-love journey, Lin Chen created the Pink Moon brand after a decade working in the beauty industry. Following the end of an unhealthy relationship, she found refuge in diving deep into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and astrology, which, she said, gave her the strength to find herself again.
Pink Moon aims to facilitate healing by turning the ancient practices of TCM, Reiki and astrology into tangible products that are approachable and accessible. Available products include Gua Sha stones, perfume and botanical bath salts, which can be purchased on the brand’s website, as well as at indie boutiques in the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong. In addition, they’re sold at natural health and wellness grocery stores, wellness studios and spas, and select high-end boutique hotels. Prices range from $6 for bamboo toothbrushes to $120 for a perfume oil set.
Astrology-focused Once in a Pink Moon, meanwhile, “merges self-care products with these ancient holistic practices to celebrate my heritage and generations-passed-down traditions,” Chen said.
Once in a Pink Moon is one of multiple beauty brands tapping into the world of astrology on social media for growth. Others include Spectrum Collections (515,000 followers), Milk Makeup (2.2 million followers) and Sephora (21.3 million followers). Astrology is having a resurgence, largely thanks to millennial women turning to astrology when assessing life situations, from relationships to wealth predictions. In 2021, it was estimated that the astrological service industry was worth over $12 billion worldwide. It’s expected to jump to $22.8 billion by 2031.
Astrology manifests on social media in many forms, including live descriptor readings on TikTok by the likes of Maren Altman (1.4 million followers) and Nick Grigolia (2.9 million followers). A natural fit for the social media age, there is a huge amount of readily available information on astrology, which is relevant to a wide population and has a low barrier to entry. A 2022 YouGov poll showed that 27% of U.S. adults, including 37% of people under 30, say they believe in astrology.
Wet N Wild, Milk Makeup, Bite Beauty and Spectrum Collections are among beauty brands that have launched astrology-themed collections since 2017. In 2021, Sephora launched a zodiac lip collection featuring four custom scents inspired by the astrology elements.
Once in a Pink Moon’s products, such as the Facial Oil and 4-In-1 Oil, come with ritual instructions, rather than application instructions. The intention is that users will enjoy an experience that fully embodies a blending of astrology and self-care.
“Once in a Pink Moon took four years to ideate, develop and formulate,” said Chen. The brand’s formulas were co-developed with an expert astrologer, its ingredients are intentionally selected, and its colors are based on color theory, to ensure every aspect is true to astrology and spirituality, she said.
In the lead up to the launch, Chen partnered with the app and the well-known astrology Instagram account @sanctuarywrld (1.6 million followers), described as a “daily guide to the universe.” The company declined to share its total number of downloads, but Apple’s App Store shows over 1,600 reviews averaging 4.8 stars.
“Partnering with Sanctuary was a no-brainer, given [its reach],” said Chen. “Plus, their branding is fun, vibrant and whimsical like ours, and their audience aligns with our target market [of Gen Z and millennials].” Sanctuary’s user base is 90% female.
The partnership consisted of two in-feed posts, three Instagram Stories and one custom email feature. The two in-feed posts detailed a joint giveaway where Sanctuary’s team put together a three-step ritual per each of the 12 zodiac signs. Customers were also offered a free gift with purchase when ordering at least $75 of Once in a Pink Moon products and entering a custom code. The overall goal behind the partnership was to create an authentic blend of the two companies, with expert knowledge backing everything up. “It was a clever, fun way to blend skin care with astrology,” said Chen.
Sanctuary’s app connects users to over 100 professional astrologers and tarot readers for one-on-one, text-based readings. It also features dynamic astrology content via daily, weekly and yearly horoscopes for each sign, plus an interactive birth chart. Every user’s birth chart is tailored to their unique astrology, with explanations for how each planet, sign and house interact in their chart. The brand charges $5 for 5-minute introductory astrology, tarot and psychic readings, $2.99 per minute for subsequent tarot and astrology readings, and $4.99 per minute for psychic readings. Subscriptions to the app are charged at $19.99 a month, or $199.99 a year.
According to Ross Clark, founder and CEO of Sanctuary, the partnership paid off, in terms of social followers. In the week following the Sanctuary collaboration, Once in a Pink Moon gained over 2,000 followers on Instagram and 1,670 clicks to the customer quiz found on the brand’s website. The brand’s weekly Instagram sessions grew by 6,500%, and TikTok sessions increased 260%, with total website visits from social traffic increasing 1,300%, compared to an average week.
Although the partnership did immediately translate into sales, Lin said it remains “hard to track the exact source of orders.” Customers have, however, reported discovering the brand via Sanctuary. Lin declined to share the investment in the partnership.
Once in a Pink Moon also partnered with AstroTwins (122k followers), in December 2022. Run by twins Tali and Ophira Edut, the account provides daily astrology content on Instagram. The partnership centered on a product bundle, based on Once in a Pink Moon’s quiz that helps customers pick the best collection based on their skin goals and the four astrological elements. The quiz was created with Pink Moon’s in-house astrologer, Evelyn Zuel. Customers can shop the Self-Love Bundle featuring Once in a Pink Moon’s Over the Moon Gua Sha and Facial Oil and The AstroTwins’ 2023 Horoscope Guide for a total savings of 17%.
The partnership, which was promoted by AstroTwins through a custom email feature and an IG Reel, drove 457 completions of Once in a Pink Moon’s online quiz the following week, an increase of 87% from the previous week. In total, the brand saw 5,200 unique site visitors that week, up 24% from the previous week, and took in a total of $4,500 in revenue.
Post pandemic, the demand for astrology-related products has risen, due to the desirability of the self-care effect and an appetite for overall wellness. Astrology apps have experienced higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions, compared to pre-pandemic levels. The astrology app market is projected to be worth $7.9 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 25% during the forecast period.
People have become more open-minded and more demanding of answers, wanting to understand the “why.” Chen said her brand’s products make customers feel cared for and able to focus on what makes them shine, unlike the negative messaging around anti-aging, acne and “flaws’” that infiltrate the beauty industry.
Once in a Pink Moon has also benefited from being featured on non-astrology-focused Instagram accounts via paid partnerships.They’ve included @torileesbeautymix, with over 37,000 followers, and @dirtyboysgetclean, with 80,000 followers. On December 8 last year, Joshua Pingley, who has over 565,000 TikTok followers, posted a video where he walked his followers through the online quiz and praised the brand’s unique positioning. “Two of my favorite things: astrology and skin care,” he said.
Once in a Pink Moon is currently spending its marketing budget on influencers, brand ambassadors and PR, to gain recognition and increase sales.Lin said the company is also working to grow its retail distribution in the U.S., including through brand pop-ups. NYC-based customers will soon be able to shop the brand at Popup Grocer in the West Village. In addition, the brand recently launched in Hong Kong at three stores: organic beauty boutique Deli Beauty, skin care-focused Get Glamorous Lab and lifestyle boutique Japanzakka.