When Beaubble launched in 2018, its primary goal was to facilitate an online community solely dedicated to beauty. (The name is an amalgamation of the words “beauty” and “bubble.”) But in 2020, it expanded to become an incubator for brands founded by influencers. The first was Monday Born by long-time beauty influencer and vlogger Teni Penosian, which launched in March last year. A collaboration with influencer Karen Yeung was planned but was cancelled — Beaubble and Karen are still sorting out details of their collaboration. 

The platform also launched its first online curated pop-up shop on Tuesday, with an assortment of niche female-founded brands including Monday Born. It is a limited run, with the curation available only through May 20.

According to Beaubble co-founder Jordan Lim, the digital landscape has changed the beauty industry, but retail hasn’t received the makeover it needs. “Consumers are no longer blindly following and purchasing from legacy and heritage brands. They want to explore and try these indie brands,” Lim said. With its new pop-up, Beaubble is aiming to be a platform for these emerging brands, as well. 

With the fervor and passion around beauty, Lim saw an opportunity for a social platform that is truly optimized for it — which he says platforms like YouTube and Reddit are not. “Existing social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are great to broadcast content to a large audience, but their UI designs are limited in facilitating full-on conversations,” Lim said. “Reddit could be a good option to ask a question or host a discussion, but over two-thirds of its users are male — versus the predominantly female demographic of the beauty community. And its bulletin board style may not resonate well with beauty community members. Plus, all of these platforms cover a broad spectrum of topics, everything from recent events to entertainment. We’ve built Beaubble specifically for the beauty community, and we’ve implemented designs that resemble chat-like experiences to further facilitate interactions among members and lower the barrier to participate in a conversation.”

Teni’s loyal following of nearly 580,000 on Instagram has driven users and sales to Beaubble. Since the launch of Monday Born, Beaubble has seen more than 150,000 unique visitors, according to the company. 

Influencers, like Penosian, have landing pages for their Beaubble communities, where they can crowdsource and collect customer feedback. This model has also allowed Beaubble to both minimize waste and provide fresh product for its audience — the team is able to use data to predict demand and manufacture accordingly. 

Monday Born has been a success. Its products are currently only available via waitlist, with the website indicating that 99% of the spots for its moisturizer and resurfacing serum have already been claimed. It will be the products’ fifth time being restocked. Fans can chat with both Penosian and each other on the platform.

“We do everything on a drop basis,” Lim said, “What we’re trying to do is really precisely and accurately gauge the demand for the next few quarters or so, so that we never have to worry about leftover inventory or having to get rid of product.” Customers are learning that the products are not always available, he said. “That’s a benefit to consumers, because they get to have products that are relatively fresh, compared to [what’s being sold at] some of the retailers.”

Indie brands, Lim said, face similar challenges to influencers creating product. “The only option you really have is to just set up your own e-commerce or work with retailers who take 50-60% of the retail price. It’s not fair,’” Lim said. “But that’s not the case, if you really build the right community platform. We can allow these indie brands to be seen by more consumers out there.” This, of course, is mutually beneficial, as it allows Beaubble community members to discover new brands.

As for how the brands might continue to work with Beaubble after the pop-up, Lim said, “We told them, ‘If you like the experience that you’re having on Beaubble, we will help you set up your community page on the platform [just like Monday Born].'” Then, they’d be able to sell their products on the platform, while also taking advantage of the community chat function. 

For the pop-up’s curation, Beaubble prioritized brands by diverse founders creating for women. Lim, a man, noted that the CEOs of many of the conglomerates are male, but the majority of beauty consumers are female. The lineup is comprised of seven brands, including Monday Born. The other six are Auda B, Ayond, CLE, Luna Magic, Mango People and The Most. “We searched for founders who wanted to solve a problem in their communities, regardless of how ‘insignificant’ the problems may have been to the beauty industry in the past,” said HeeKyeong Seo, co-founder of Beaubble. “With that in mind, each product from these brands has a unique story, from [the process of] nailing down the color for non-ashy baby pink lipstick to inventing new hardware tools for women with curly hair. For these founders, it was never just about moving products. Instead, they are here to fill the gaps in the beauty industry and to build connections with consumers who share their pain points.”

The platform’s next curated pop-up is already in the works, and slated for launch later this year.