This story first appeared in the December 13, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
NYX Cosmetics is named for the Greek goddess of the night, but the brand is besting the competition in the light of day. Founded in Los Angeles by Toni Ko in 1999, NYX has registered an almost 50 percent average compound annual growth rate for the last four years, and it’s doing so as an indie upstart jockeying for space in a mass market ruled by giants. NYX’s success is due to its affordability (prices range from $6 to $9), an extensive range of more than 2,000 stockkeeping units and a warm embrace from the YouTube generation. Last year, NYX started the Fine Artistry of Cosmetic Elites (FACE) Awards, a competition spotlighting rising YouTubers, that garnered 27 million impressions. This year, impressions skyrocketed past 120 million. “The groundswell of awareness is building,” said Scott Friedman, chief executive officer of NYX. Standout launches in 2013 included the ergonomically shaped Curve eyeliner, matte lipstick in 21 shades and the multipurpose Wonder Pencil. “It’s about getting a high-end product, not at a cheap price, but at an attractive price,” said Friedman, a positioning that has carried NYX into thousands of doors—including 1,100 Target doors this year. Currently, about 25 percent of NYX’s sales are international, which Friedman predicts will rise to 50 percent in three years. NYX’s growth shows no signs of slowing. Declared Friedman, “We are on the way to becoming a $1 billion brand in six years.”