Selena Gomez sells blush for $70 million a year and her brand takes off



Italian version of

Gianluca Bolelli

Posted on

20 July 2023

Selena Gomez continues to defy all odds. The 30-year-old singer and actress has avoided the potential pitfalls of being famous as a kid and becoming an even bigger celebrity as an adult, with a career charting nine Top 10 pop songs; over twenty platinum or gold singles; and hit series on Hulu only murders in the building,

rare beauty

But it is her makeup brand that is breaking all records. Rare Beauty has grown in popularity since its launch less than three years ago, despite a rebound of several celebrity-created cosmetic lines. The company has managed to grow into a $250 billion global beauty industry by creating simple makeup at moderate prices and by taking advantage of Gomez’s immense popularity on platforms like TikTok.

“People are looking for performance and value in their products, which Rare does really well,” says New York-based beauty writer Sable Yong. “Yeah, she’s cute. Yes, Selena Gomez is the founder. But even if that box isn’t in the photo, they are well made products that perform really well at a very affordable price.”

In 2023, the American brand is on track to triple last year’s sales. In 2022, the company sold 3.1 million units of its flagship blush. The product retails for $23 per pack, which means it alone generated about $70 million in revenue (the company declined to provide more financial details, including a list of its investors).

Sharing a product with a celebrity doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Consumers can be fickle, and many celebrity-related brands have gone bankrupt after a good start. For example, actress Kristen Bell dropped her skincare line earlier this year. Sephora has stopped selling brands owned by TikTok celebrities Addison Rae and Hyrum Yarbrough. Ariana Grande paid $15 million from Forma Brands LLC to buy the physical assets of her company, REM Beauty, whose big bet on celebrity influencers brought on unexpected difficulties and drove it into bankruptcy.

“There’s less forgiveness for a brand founded by a celebrity,” says Rich Gersten, co-founder and managing partner of True Beauty Ventures, a private equity firm specializing in beauty and personal care products.

rare beauty

Rare, who said Gomez was unavailable to give interviews, didn’t focus on chasing trends, as was the case with those gimmicky eyeshadow palettes with dozens of shades. Instead, she created affordable, easy-to-use items, including a $15 lip liner and $30 liquid foundation in 48 shades.

The brand was also founded with a social purpose at its core, a hallmark of young brands but not veterans in the industry. Gomez has always been a strong advocate of mental health, which has led her to be very public about her illnesses and struggles. According to the company’s 2022 Social Impact Report, Rare has pledged to dedicate 1% of sales to its internal fund, which has raised at least $5 million to date.

Rare is part of a growing series of business ventures launched by Selena Gomez, who also co-founded Wondermind, a startup focused on improving mental health that was valued at $100 million last year. Gomez has also executive produced shows on Netflix and HBO Max and partnered with brands such as Puma.

Much of Rare’s success is attributed to Gomez’s fan base, which includes more than 400 million Instagram followers, but the brand also has a leadership team made up of industry veterans. Joyce Kim, Chief Product Officer of Rare and former Nyx Professional Makeup executive at L’OrĂ©al, was tasked by Gomez with creating a line that could fit both her red carpet appearances and the daily lives of her clients.

“It has to feel weightless and be easy to put on,” says Kim. “But it has to keep up on events”.

From a marketing perspective, Rare has been excellent at generating buzz on social media. The brand has over 3 million followers on TikTok, over 6 million followers on Instagram and adapts content across platforms.

rare beauty

Gomez also personally endorses the brand and offers tutorials on her profile. In the first few months following the brand’s launch, she recorded hours doing makeup for one of her TV shows, the HBO Max cooking series “Selena + Chef”. The team then divided those sessions into clips that were often no more than a minute long. Other snippets featured Gomez lip syncing to popular TikTok sounds, with commentary on Rare products.

“The reception from influencers and online users has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Artemis Patrick, Sephora’s global chief merchandising officer.

The brand continues to expand and add products such as gel eyeliner: distribution has recently reached Indonesia and India. Other hits include a powder highlighter reminiscent of the glittery highlighters of the 2010s. When it started selling really well, Rare’s Chief Digital Officer Mehdi Mehdi realized that the brand could not only create new trends, but also revive trends.

“We were told the era of powder highlighter was over,” says Mehdi. “We have the ability to reverse trends.”

Copyright with Bloomberg


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