Breaking the Piggy Bank; the Business of Beauty
Shane Dawson and Jeffrey Star’s latest collaboration, the Conspiracy Collection, didn’t just break Shopify- it’s set to break records. By the end of Friday the entire collection was sold out, a million Conspiracy pallets, Mini Controversy pallets and Pig mirrors, gone.
So, what’s the takeaway from all of this? Influencers, particularly beauty influencers, need to be taken seriously.
The collection was inventively marketed through Dawson’s and Star’s new series: The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star. Like his previous collaboration with the beauty mogul, Dawson shows us not only the most intimate parts of Star’s life, but this time delves deeper into the business behind the beauty community.
In recent months it’s become clear just how lucrative the beauty industry is; currently valued at $532 billion with a ‘rapid upward trajectory’. The increasing value attached to the industry is deeply connected to the increase in influencer marketing and the dedicated community of YouTubers who promote, collaborate and, in Star’s case, do everything from designing, manufacturing and shipping products.
So why are gurus only in the news for #drama and why do a majority of beauty articles focus on maintaining the ~ perfect dewy glow ~ in winter, instead of business?
It might be to do with the public perception of influencers and their perceived value as industry professionals. In an interview with Kristina Monllos, one influencer remarked that: ‘sometimes it seems that brands don’t take the work of influencers very seriously’, even though the most professional among them, like Dawson and Star, control every aspect of their business- rigorously caring for a project from inception to reveal.
To put it bluntly Dawson’s and Star’s work is undervalued. I’m not talking about the 25 million views the first episode of this series pulled; the pair’s ability to reach a large audience is obviously valuable. The point I’m making is that they aren’t just showing people their products, they’re making us want them. We’re invested in everything the duo do, their ups, downs, design faults and set backs.
The upwards trajectory of this industry would be skyrocketed if influencers were seen as professionals and their ability to illicit organic engagement as a business asset.
A recent study by Morgan Glucksman found that: ‘the use of social media influencer marketing in public relations initiatives has broken the wall between the consumer and the brand, changing the way the two interact.’ This interaction cannot be underestimated. By utilising the record breaking views of their earlier YouTube collaboration, Dawson and Star facilitated an unprecedented amount of anticipation for the launch of the latest docuseries and, subsequently, the Conspiracy Collection.
As Audrey Schomer noted for Business Insider, part of the reason influencer marketing is so lucrative is that the ‘intimate photos and videos [presented] give viewers a lens into the true life of influencers, which can make followers feel personally connected.’ This feels more pertinent than ever leading up to episode seven, which Star teased would detail everything that went down during the launch.
At the time of writing, every item in the Conspiracy Collection is sold out.