Ipsy beauty box, the makeup sample startup of YouTube influencer and entrepreneur Michelle Phan, just reached a significant milestone in its subscriber count. For the month of April, Ipsy beauty box will be sending out over 1 million beauty sample bags to it’s subscribers. This is no small feat, as beauty subscription box competitor, Birchbox, who launched a year before Ipsy, is at 800 thousand subscribers.
But Ipsy has one thing Birchbox never will, a legion of devotee Millennials who followed Michelle long before she was selling anything. As a YouTube creator, Michelle Phan has been using her influence to bring her audience everything they never knew they needed to know about makeup. For Michelle, the logical next step was to create the ability for her audience members to follow along with her beauty tutorials. As noted on the Ipsy’s site, “Michelle Phan has inspired countless women around the world through her beauty video tutorials on YouTube. Every day, the question Michelle gets asked the most is: “What are the right products for me?’ Ipsy beauty box is an exemplary extension of a YouTuber leveraging her brand and influencer marketing.
Through her pervasive beauty knowledge, Michelle saw that there’s not a single product that works for everyone. Birchbox and Ipsy’s model is to customize their monthly subscription boxes to each unique user through a style profile and quiz. “With infinite beauty product combinations in the marketplace, choosing the best items for your needs can be a challenge! That was why Michelle created Ipsy. Michelle and her team of stylists have selected products they love, for you to try.” Through Michelle’s devoted and steadfast audience, Michelle has been able to capitalize on the core of influencer marketing – the ability to authentically endorse a brand or product and the creative dexterity to market to her following (also see our post on the top haul videos of 2014). Michelle has what Birchbox doesn’t – an unfeignedly unique voice and personality.
Michelle’s audience are influencers in their own right. She has thousands of followers who are YouTubers themselves. A search for “Ipsy” on shows thousands of videos created by other influencers bestowing their own endorsement of the brand. Ipsy was born native to YouTube and grew through YouTube, the zenith of social content where brands and product endorsement are an intrinsic and integral aspect of the content. It’s no wonder, they’ve grown so fast.
Back in May of 2007, Michelle posted her first makeup tutorial video to YouTube. Since then, she’s reached 7.5 million subscribers, worked with Lancome as their official makeup artist, created a line of makeup with L’Oreal titled EM, created a multichannel network for women on YouTube titled FAWN, as well as written a book and worked with Cutting Edge group to launch Shift Music Group, where social media will be used to raise awareness for new and upcoming artists (also see our post on YouTube influencer Bethany Mota). All of this, along with Ipsy, makes Michelle one of the most successful YouTube influencer turned entrepreneurs in the space. With Ipsy beauty box alone, Michelle has created a revenue stream of over $120 million in annual sales.
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