There are more changes at beauty subscription service Ipsy, which has added an e-commerce component and hired a new president.
Ipsy, which already had a diverse business model, is perhaps best known for its monthly Glam Bag, a personalized collection of five makeup and beauty samples that are sent to members for a $10 monthly fee. It also has a massive Los Angeles-based creative studio, where it works with a team of in-house and independent influencers, and an event series that’s expected to attract a total of 17,000 attendees in 2018.
Now, announced Wednesday, it’s introducing an e-commerce site called Shopper, which sells more than 200 brands including Bare Minerals, Smashbox Cosmetics and Tarte Cosmetics. Previously, Ipsy members could not buy beauty products directly through Ipsy.
“From the very beginning, we had half a service,” said CEO Marcelo Camberos. “You could discover amazing beauty finds and had nowhere to buy them, so this was a logical next step.”
To help guide and refine the member experience, Ipsy has also brought on Fernando Madeira as president. Most recently, Madeira was president and chief executive officer of Walmart.com (a post he held until February 2017), where he oversaw products that helped the retail giant compete in the digital world.
Camberos, who co-founded the company in 2011 with beauty influencer Michelle Phan and Bare Minerals veteran Jennifer Goldfarb, said Madeira’s appointment came after a long search process, as the company was looking for someone who could navigate the intricacies of the business, among them media and content creation, a subscription model and commerce. (Goldfarb, who had been president, will now become executive chairwoman.)
Madeira said he loves both media and commerce, and that he plans to focus on improving the member and digital experience and building a robust commerce experience. He also was drawn to the community that Ipsy has built, he said.
“The beauty industry is growing in a different way, and the opportunity for someone to express his or her unique beauty is more important than in the past,” Madeira said. He added that there is more opportunity to personalize the digital experience as the beauty industry grows.
Shopper began beta-testing in November 2017 and is only open to Ipsy members. In much the same way as Glam Bags, content will be personalized to Ipsy’s 3 million members, based in part on data culled from a member quiz and the more than 120 million product reviews Ipsy members have provided. Another incentive for members to buy from Shopper is a program that gives them up to 30 percent cash back on every purchase.
During beta testing, Shopper experienced 400 percent growth. Camberos said that while all the brands appearing in Glam Bags are not currently offered on the site, that is the ultimate goal.
“We work with a lot of brands that are really interesting,” Camberos said, “and they don’t all have the ability to do direct-to-consumer.” He added that he also wants to keep the Glam Bags as “fresh” as possible with the idea that all brands are operating in one ecosystem.
Less than a year ago, co-founder Phan left the company, in addition to swearing off YouTube, home to her popular channel. Meanwhile, Instagram has opened up its platform for longer-form videos, and live video shopping is being eyed as the next frontier.
Although Ipsy still creates content for YouTube, Camberos said Instagram has been its biggest platform for the past two years, and the brand also has a large Facebook following. He hinted at more developments to come: “A lot can be done on the e-commerce side that is related to social media.”
For now, Madeira is looking forward to his first Ipsy Gen Beauty event, held in San Francisco this weekend. Somewhat like a “two-day makeup social,” Gen Beauty, launched in 2013, is held every year in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles as a chance for Ipsters to discover brands, network with each other and meet creators.
“Before this, you had trade shows or conferences, but we were the first to do these types of events,” Camberos said. “Real life is such a powerful medium that was getting increasingly lost.”
He added that although the opportunity to meet creators is what drives ticket sales (which are about $180), the main objective is for members to meet each other.
“It’s meeting like-minded people who might not look like you or who might not have the same political beliefs, and inspiring self-expression among people who love makeup and love to play,” he said. “Plus, getting a bag of amazing products always helps.”