Patrick Starrr has officially become the latest mega-influencer to branch into makeup.
His new beauty brand One/Size launched on July 17 with just two makeup remover products, but on Thursday, the color cosmetics assortment called the Visionary collection debuted in 523 Sephora stores in North America, on Sephora.com and on the brand’s DTC site. It includes four new products: an eyeshadow palette, a liquid eyeshadow, a liquid eyeliner pen and a gel eyeliner pencil. Created with Luxury Brand Partners, One/Size serves as the incubator’s first influencer-led beauty label and demonstrates investors’ growing interest in influencers with unique personal brands.
With 4.4 million YouTube subscribers, Starrr has been outspoken about inclusivity and counts it as a key part of his brand’s identity. He said the products are meant to “work for everybody, no matter who they were, or where they came from.”
“I grew up a very insecure person. Growing up Filipino, overweight, bald, gay — I had everything against me. To have been celebrated in the beauty space as the face of many campaigns and many commercials is kind of ironic, for me,” he said. The brand is being promoted across all of Starrr’s major social channels, including YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, starting with a new music video by Starrr which emphasizes that all genders should feel free to wear makeup.
In 2018, Starrr collaborated with MAC Cosmetics on a collection of color cosmetics including lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow and setting powder. According to Tribe Dynamics, he drove $3.6 million in earned media value (EMV) for the collection from his posts about the collection from his own social platforms. In March 2020, he participated in a collaboration for Uoma Beauty with influencer Jackie Aina.
While Luxury Brand Partners has previously launched brands tied to industry experts, like Oribe, One/Size marks it foray into working with influencers. When the company began seeking an influencer to work with on a new color cosmetics brand, “the category was completely saturated with influencer brands,” said Bob DeBaker, president of One/Size. The company “didn’t want to do something with [just] any influencer,” and was seeking out an influencer that “had a different point of view.” The company started working with Starrr to plan the brand in 2018. “Patrick has an immediate sense of warmth and kindness, inclusion and celebrates partnership,” said DeBaker.
The company is betting big on this model with a higher investment than it usually makes.
“There’s roughly a $10 million investment as we get through this first stage of our building the brand,” said DeBaker, who noted that the first phase is not a defined period of time, but rather the period in which the brand is being formed, distributed and expanded. “This was a much bigger investment than what LDP would initially put out,” due to the immediate Sephora distribution, the scale of content creation and revenue expectations.
“Having someone who already has a voice and has a platform immediately moves you ahead of those brands who don’t have that voice,” said DeBaker of the benefit of developing an influencer-led brand, which requires a unique marketing approach. “With any founder-led brand, to be authentic, you have to lead with that founder’s voice,” said DeBaker. “The way you’re going to message through the brand has to be very focused on that founder’s approach to social media, consumer engagement and building a sense of community. When you’re doing a brand like this, you have to run everything through a filter that says, ‘Does this make sense for how Patrick would speak? Does this really bring his spirit to life?’”
“I think seeing a face behind the brand personifies the brand at a much higher level,” said Starrr. His massive social following has also been helpful, as beauty brands have become reliant on e-commerce for sales due to the Covid-19 shutdown. In addition to being launched online through Sephora and DTC, the brand’s launch was also promoted by Sephora to be purchased directly through its new Instagram shop.
The brand launch was delayed due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, and the planning for the launch took place remotely. “I have not seen my One/Size team in person since January,” said Starrr, who noted that the originally planned launch month had been May.
Shifts in consumer preferences as a result of Covid-19 will impact which products are launched in the future, said DeBaker, but he said the brand is planning on “being a full-fledged beauty brand.”
“Everybody has to look at this. As long as everybody’s going to be wearing a mask on a regular basis, that obviously impacts what products consumers are going to choose to wear regularly, and the type of products that are going to work,” he said. “We certainly are paying attention to it and thinking about ways to bring products to life.”