On Saturday, the “clean” makeup brand Saie hosted 180 people across three IRL masterclasses, held in Los Angeles. The group was comprised of 90 customers, including fans, top spenders and other brand loyalists, plus 90 others that included influencers and members of the press. The event was the first of a series, which will take the brand to New York, London and Toronto throughout this year.
“It has always been my dream to have [an IRL] Saie masterclass,” said founder and CEO Laney Crowell, who launched the brand in 2019. “I am not a makeup artist; I am just your everyday girl who wants to know how to put her makeup on.” So, too, is Saie’s audience, she said, noting that the brand’s DMs are constantly flooded with questions about how to use its products.
To bring Crowell’s vision to life, Saie tapped Ananas Ananas, an art studio typically known for collaborations in the food world, to create custom trays on which products were displayed for each attendee. “The masterclass was [meant to feel like] going to dinner with your friends,” Crowell said.
Hosted at Sized Studio in L.A., each masterclass was about an hour and a half long and led by Sarah Rose Adams, Saie’s director of education. Adams took attendees through two looks: one lowkey, everyday look dubbed “Laney’s signature look” and a more evening-ready look dubbed the “Iconic Look.” She also shared the brand’s signature techniques for blush application and bronzer placement. While creating the two looks, attendees used all of the products in Saie’s collection. They also got to take home the products. The brand declined to comment on the investment made to bring the masterclasses to life.
Saie’s social team extended invitations to attendees via Instagram DMs. No one was paid to attend, nor did anyone pay to attend. In advance of guests’ arrivals, Saie’s team attempted to match all 180 attendees to a fitting shade of its Glowy Super Skin Weightless Press-In Serum Foundation. Team members were also on hand at the event to assist with shade replacements as needed.
As Saie has aimed to demystify makeup for its community, it has rolled out a dedicated brush for every launch — a strategy that has proven successful. It started to do this in 2021 with the launch of its Sun Melt Balm Bronzer. Last year, for every 1.8 Sun Melt Bronzers sold, one corresponding Big Brush was sold, Crowell said. It signals that people want things simplified for them, she said.
The investment in gifting community members is worth it to the brand, said Saie president Lucy Perdomo-Ruehlemann. Customers often fall in love with and, subsequently, replenish the brand’s products, she said. She credited that stat to Sephora data on Saie’s repeat customer rate, but declined to elaborate. What’s more, customers often hype the brand via word of mouth, she said. “We, as women, are the best influencers out there. … We’re going to tell a sister, a friend, your mom and your aunt.”
The Los Angeles event helped the brand spread awareness via social media. It generated $392,000 in earned media value, a reach of 12 million and 2 million impressions.
Of the decision to take the masterclasses international, Perdomo-Ruehlemann said, “Our roots are here in the U.S. But when you peel the layers and look at our requests on social media, from people asking us to sell where they live, it’s a global customer.” In the UK, the brand can be purchased online through Cult Beauty, but there is not yet an opportunity to experience the brand in person.
“Nothing replaces an in-store experience or an in-person experience with the team,” Perdomo-Ruehlemann said. “It’s important that we start listening to our global community and nurturing that customer base.”
In Canada, and also in the U.S., Saie counts Sephora as its exclusive retail partner. The brand shared that it has seen 200% average growth per year in the Canadian market and nearly tripled its business in the region from 2022-2023.
In 2023, Saie’s social community grew 134% year-over-year — it now has over 442,000 followers on TikTok and 323,000 on Instagram. Overal sales, meanwhile, increased 140% from “a very strong base,” Perdomo-Ruehlemann said.