The Lipstick Effect What we can learn from the beauty industry boom

The Lipstick Effect What we can learn from the beauty industry boom

Inspired by this month’s featured episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast where I sat down with Bri Caraway –hair stylist, entrepreneur and founder of hair by Bri C—to discuss her passion for serving her clients within the beauty industry and my upcoming episode with Gretchen McCants –a young, powerful and up and coming business owner making her mark on the lash industry and making a difference in the lives of her clients one appointment at a time.

As women, we understand the power of the “Lipstick Effect” first-hand because we are the very consumers the theory addresses: “when times get tight, consumers will continue to indulge in prestige cosmetics – little luxuries– that give them an emotional lift, while forgoing expenditures on higher-priced luxury goods.” But how we can apply this principle –and the booming projections for the beauty industry— to other businesses?


Unprecedented growth.

Despite 80% of consumers agreeing that their “personal beauty and grooming needs are met by products [they] can buy today” and their fierce loyalty to and preference for known and trusted household names, new beauty brands and service providers have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the post-pandemic boom. And they can do that by getting in front of consumers and clients through marketing that feels more personal and delivers a unique experience.

Under the influence.

If you aren’t using social media to your advantage, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to build your brand presence and to connect with your ideal customer and client. “Instagram has enabled brands to cultivate a stronger image, interact with consumers in a more direct way, as well as create an entirely new marketing category, that of influencers, which, in turn have at times turned into fully-fledged entrepreneurs.”

Individuals closest to the consumer have the greatest impact on their beauty routine, especially their friends (50%), mothers (49%) and sisters or other family members (41%), while magazines and online videos account for 27% of their influence and social media influencers 25% of their decision making. 

This means that traditional marketing and advertising methods aren’t going to be successful—rather than pursuing one targeted consumer, brands and beauty industry babes are booming because they are marketing their products and services to entire generational & relational spheres.

Unparalleled connection.

Successful & upcoming brands like Glossier and The Ordinary were built on connection—for Glossier through community and for The Ordinary through transparency. In the same way that our mothers may have been loyal to Clinique or Estée Lauder because of a personal rapport with a beauty consultant at a local cosmetic counter, these brands cut out the middleman and handle all of their customer service and relationship building in house.

  • The Ordinary strongly utilized social media to build a brand connection and engage with their customers, as well as very clearly and strongly building a brand. They were initially renowned for responding to each individual message and comment.”
  • “The approach that Glossier uses is extremely consistent and based entirely on customer experience.”
  • When asked in an online Q&A whether she [founder Emily Weiss] was planning on partnering with retailers for the distribution of Glossier, she replied, “Great question! One of the things we strongly believe, as a customer-centric company, is that we can’t form the meaningful relationships that we value with our customers if we sell through other distribution channels. Being able to communicate and engage with our customers across various channels and ensuring that we are delivering the true Glossier customer experience, is challenging if we go through other channels. I love discovering beauty products at all sorts of retail environments–for us, it’s not about what retailers are doing wrong, but more so ensuring we are able to deliver the Glossier customer experience that we’re proud of.”

Even in times of uncertainty, consumers willingly indulge in small luxuries that remind them of life’s beauty. As business owners and working mothers we can connect to our ideal clientele by focusing our efforts on building authentic relationships, providing a unique experience specific to our brand, influencing the generational and relational spheres of our customer base through innovative and personal marketing and tapping into a need for the extraordinary in the midst of life’s monotony. The beauty industry is booming because of its ability to provide connection through the intersection of service and product—an “effect” we can all learn something from. 

“Most good ideas sparkle in simplicity, so much so that everyone wonders why no one ever did that before.” —Estée Lauder

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