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Girlactik Beauty Surges on Social Media

Digital influencers are helping quadruple Girlactik's business.

Add Girlactik Beauty to the mounting list of beauty brands recharged by social media.

Founded by makeup artist Galit Strugano-Wigdor in 2000, the Los Angeles-based brand made a splash early on by bringing sophistication to the glitter craze with its sparkle eyeliner and base duos that made fine shimmer stay put. But Girlactik’s momentum slowed in the ensuing years, and its revenues hovered at around $500,000 until digital influencers embraced the brand to propel its sales on a course to reach $2 million to $3 million this year, according to industry sources.

“More than half of the growth is due to social media,” said Strugano-Wigdor. “Because of social media, I think makeup is bigger than it’s ever been. The influencers are everyday people, and they show you how to wear makeup and what their tricks are. You can relate to them. It’s almost like your girlfriend is talking to you.”

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Released nearly two years ago, Girlacktik’s Matte Lip Paint flung the brand onto the social media map. Digital beauty gurus such as Tamanna Roashan, aka, DressYourFace, Desi Perkins and Kathleen Fuentes, who goes by the handle KathleenLights, incorporated it in their posts. In January and February, Girlactik stoked further interest by collaborating with Karen Sarahi Gonzalez, better known as iluvsarahii, on a shade called Stellar, and enlarging the Matte Lip Paint selection with two new shades before the launch of three more for the spring.

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“I did very wearable colors when the other brands were doing loud colors. I introduced the wearable colors because that’s what my brand is about,” said Strugano-Wigdor of Girlactik’s approach to matte lip shades. “I’m all about pretty, feminine makeup that doesn’t look overdone.”

Strugano-Wigdor has carefully orchestrated Girlactik’s urbane take on makeup. In its youth, the brand was sold at Nordstrom alongside Too Faced, Hard Candy and Urban Decay. It had pink packaging and was pigeonholed as being for teens, a market segment Strugano-Wigdor understood wasn’t a recipe for a sustained business, especially as she was maturing.

“I started getting frustrated, and I wanted to give up, but I told myself, ‘There is something I’m doing right, so I’m just going to redo the whole brand and make it about who I am,’” she said. “I was 30 years old, and I had started dating my husband. I went from being this young girl to being more of a woman.”

Strugano-Wigdor scrapped the pink and replaced it with upscale metallic packaging. She adorned the boxes with crystal chandeliers, interior decorations that fascinate her and nod to luxury. She also focused Girlactik’s assortment on relatable shades, and pushed its prices up to primarily $18 to $26 from $14 to $18.

The changes broadened Girlactik’s audience. “My age demographic is 20 to 50, and it can be someone who likes a light amount of makeup or it can be someone who likes to do their whole face,” said Strugano-Wigdor. Girlactik’s product portfolio includes 100 stockkeeping units across eyes, face, cheeks, lips, body and tools, and bestsellers are Matte Lip Paint, Face Glow and Matte Bronzer.

Today, Girlactik is available at roughly 130 stores in the U.S., notably Look Boutique at Duane Reade and Walgreens, and Beauty Vision at Rite Aid, and Strugano-Wigdor predicted its store network would increase to at least 200 locations by the end of the year. “At Rite Aid and Walgreens/Duane Reade, there is no brand like ours in the stores,” she said. “Sometimes, if you go to a very big department store, there is a lot of competition and that makes it difficult for the customer. If there are not as many brands, it is much easier. There is less confusion.”

Already established in the Middle East, Strugano-Wigdor is looking to expand Girlactik’s international presence in Europe as well as boost its retail footprint domestically. On the product front, she will be rolling out five metallic shadow stick colors, and has aspirations to reimagine foundation.

“I don’t like to develop products because there’s a trend,” said Strugano-Wigdor. “When I need to come up with new products, I open my drawer and see what I am missing, and what I would want. Now, since there’s a fan base for my brand, they look forward to seeing what I create next, and they trust me to know I will create something that works for them.”