Like guests at The Eagle’s “Hotel California,” members of Beauty Pie, a direct-to-consumer beauty membership company, “can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!” In other words, “Once you see how much you can get — one thing from a retailer or five things from Beauty Pie for the same price — and once you see the quality, you don’t go back. It’s addictive,” said Marcia Kilgore, founder of Beauty Pie. “It’s the Hotel California of cosmetics.”
Serial entrepreneur Kilgore, who previously founded Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory and FitFlop, launched her first solely digital proposition, Beauty Pie, in 2017. Facilitated by a bi-level membership model, Beauty Pie customers can shop products at prices that are closer to their manufacturing costs with a yearly or monthly subscription to the site. Beauty Pie effectively disrupted the beauty industry, in bringing positive changes to the customer experience in the areas of cost-effectiveness and convenience.
“[The beauty industry] is supposed to be empowering women, yet 92% of what they pay for isn’t going into the product they’re buying. What’s wrong with this picture?” said Kilgore. “I thought, ‘There must be a way to do things better.’ And if there’s nobody else doing what you would want or you want to do something [different], then you often have to lead.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” sums up Kilgore’s journey from identifying unfair practices in the beauty market to raising $100 million in Series B funding in September 2021, and in turn, accelerating the growth of Beauty Pie’s inventory, and its community.
“Our customers are smart,” said Kilgore. “She understands all of the layers in that value chain and how they add up, and realizes that she doesn’t have to define herself by what brand she’s pulling out of her handbag. She just wants the efficacy of the product.”
The range of Beauty Pie products available to members has expanded beyond the size of a handbag in the last four years. While about 50% of Beauty Pie’s repertoire consists of skin-care products, the brand has continued to branch out into the wellness space in 2021. Beauty Pie’s women’s health supplements, launched in the U.K. in 2020, are set to launch in the U.S. in December 2021.
Looking ahead, Kilgore plans to expand Beauty Pie’s retail presence in “the pockets where we see that we already have lots of customers,” such as London, New York and Los Angeles.
“It’s part of human nature to always want to try something new,” said Kilgore. “We have this constant stream of new products coming in from all the different labs that we’ve worked on for years. We want to make sure that our customers are always having fun and have new [products] to shop.”