Fashion influencer Katie Sturino’s brand Megababe is moving past its direct-to-consumer roots, with a focus on strategic retailers. Megababe, which sells personal-care products like an anti-chafe stick, a spray to fight breast sweat, aluminum-free deodorant and feminine cleansing cloths, launches on QVC tonight as a part of its BeautyIQ program, and recently debuted at Ulta and J.Crew.
So far, the decision to move into wholesale is paying off. Megababe’s products are currently performing in the top 1 percent of all 20,000 products available on Ulta.com since launching in May this year, according to the brand. After launching on J. Crew’s e-commerce site, the brand’s Rosy Pits natural deodorant sold out in eight minutes. On the brand’s own site, which launched in 2017, the deodorant sold out in less than a month and now has an 8,000-plus person waiting list. It will be restocked in late August.
The decision demonstrates the limitations of a direct-to-consumer strategy, even for influencers with powerful followings. Sturino’s blog, @The12ishStyle, has over 200,000 followers on Instagram.
“We really wanted a megaphone to talk about our message, which is making women feel comfortable about these really taboo issues,” she said. “It’s hard to do that alone as a small company.”
Megababe is an extension of Sturino’s personal brand. In one year, Megababe has exceeded its three-year growth projection, and Instagram is the prime driver of all traffic and sales. The brand’s dedicated account currently has 26,600 followers, but certainly Sturino’s own platform helps, and while the brand does not do any official influencer marketing, it is always organically working with other influencers, editors and women to bring awareness to the brand. And the launches with Ulta, J. Crew and QVC will take Megababe from an Instagram brand to a major real-world player — QVC has 14 million customers, and it’s average demographic is 35- to 64-year-old women.
“We are always on the lookout for new beauty products that are unique and help solve everyday problems, which is why we’re excited to welcome Megababe,” said Rob Robillard, vp of integrated beauty for Qurate Retail Group. “Katie is extremely relatable and authentic, and her line is designed to address some of the common issues women experience in warmer weather. These items are unlike anything we currently offer, and I think our customers are going to love them.”
Sturino is still first and foremost a fashion and style influencer: She documents recreated celebrity outfits using the hashtag #supersizethelook, which regularly see more than 10,000 likes per post, and has collaborated on clothing capsule collections with plus-size brands like Eloquii. With Megababe, she’s proving there’s money to be made in the beauty space for fashion bloggers, by targeting specific issues not typically addressed by bigger brands. Sturino, who gained popularity as a blogger for sharing high-fashion looks for size 12 to 18 women, said she was interested in creating “solution-based products.”
“We create so many problems for women to solve, like cellulite creams, which are mostly for aesthetic reasons. Megababe is about function and not making someone feel uncomfortable,” she said. “Women are meant to feel alone with these issues, like not measuring up to society’s ideals and feeling not good enough.”