Beauty influencer Sylvia Gani has landed her first product collaboration: The Los Angeles-based Canadian makeup guru has created a palette with BH Cosmetics.
“I was thinking, like, if there was one palette that I had to pick for the rest of my life and I couldn’t use anything else, what shades would I need and want?” Gani said.
She went for a solid amount of neutral “transition shades” plus a few “wearable” bold colors — burgundy, blue, black and purple — and two highlighters. The palette launches Dec. 5 and will be sold exclusively on BH’s web site for $24.
Gani, who has amassed about 3 million followers across YouTube and Instagram, anticipates that the collaboration will resonate with her mostly young (“pre-teen to 24”), mostly female audience.
“Actually, my first eye shadow palette that I bought for myself was BH Cosmetics,” Gani said. “It’s kind of full circle now.…My audience has always responded well to BH products because they’re good quality and affordable.
“Even when I built my freelance kit when I was first starting out, obviously I didn’t have a lot of money, so I used a lot of BH products and they were really a big part of my whole makeup career and getting it started,” Gani said.
She began doing makeup while she was young — rummaging through her mom’s products and smuggling them to school in her bag before she was allowed to wear makeup — and gradually moved on to doing the makeup of her sorority sisters, eventually landing a part-time job at MAC. At that point she started her blog and began posting on Instagram, gradually gaining a following while she was earning her criminology degree. Then her ex-boyfriend, who was creating comedy videos for the Internet, encouraged her to start posting to YouTube, she said.
WWD: Where do you see the strongest engagement across your social channels?
Sylvia Gani: YouTube is my biggest platform by a long shot. YouTube is special because it allows you to be so personal and you can create different types of content that you can’t really create on any other type of platform — it’s so different than Twitter and Instagram. It allows you to create content that people can feel more connected to — it has more power, and that’s where my engagement is the highest. Instagram is my second biggest platform.…Instagram you don’t necessarily go on there to find a friend or be entertained for hours but to find inspiration for what you might wear that night or what makeup you might want to do.
WWD: Do you still use your blog?
S.G.: It’s always a work in progress, honestly I suck at all things computers. I don’t know how to do coding or any of that so I still work on my blog regularly to try to improve it but it’s definitely not my biggest thing at all. It’s an extra place for my followers and supporters to go and get stuff they wouldn’t see on anything else — I’ll repost articles about my videos and I’m trying also to put my merch on there to create more of a shop.
WWD: What merch are you selling?
S.G.: My merch — I just did a new launch of my new hoodie.…Basically how I decide what I want is whatever I would wear and whatever I like, I want to sell. I want to come out with a lot of trendy pieces that are still S Club merch — S Club is my fandom name — so trendy pieces that everyone can wear even if you’re not part of the S Club you could still see it as a cute outfit, but I also wanted it to have that connection with my supporters. Right now I have two hoodies and a phone case and they have the theme of roses because I’ve kind of been obsessed with roses. I feel like they are just so trendy and feminine. I also have a rose in my eye shadow palette. I’m trying to make roses my thing, you know.
WWD: How has the influencer space evolved — has the way brands interact with you changed?
S.G.: The bigger you get the more brands reach out and the more brands want to send you p.r. without any kind of requirement to post. When I first started out, it was really important to me to get products right away as they were launching, because to grow as a small YouTuber, you need to be posting and reviewing these products as soon as they launch, so I had a bunch of roadblocks. I was in Canada, so a lot of times we’d get the products way after everybody because of international shipping, and a lot of times in Canada, they don’t even launch their products until after they launch them in the U.S. I would reach out to brands and try to get more p.r. because I felt like it would help me to grow to review these products before they came out or as they came out and that’s changed. It’s unfair that it’s hard to break in with these brands when you are smaller because they’re less willing to send you p.r. if you don’t have the numbers.
[Posting] is definitely up to me more than ever. Especially these days, brands are becoming more and more understanding how important that is, that it’s always genuine. When I was smaller I would definitely get a lot of e-mails from brands offering to send something only in exchange for posting about it, but not really now — now that I’m bigger it’s a mutual understanding. It’s important to show my audience what I really like and care about.