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Instagram Darling Farsali Gains Sales Momentum

Farsali, with seven stockkeeping units, has scaled into a full-blown beauty brand.

Farsali, which now has seven products with the recent launch of Skintune Blur, is reaching serious scale.

According to industry sources, the brand is expected to do between $35 million and $45 million in sales for 2018, roughly doubling the business.

According to founder Sal Ali, who created the brand for his beauty-influencer wife, Farah Dhukai, much of the brand’s success should be credited to Instagram, the platform where the company’s Rose Gold Elixir took off.

“One-hundred percent, it was Instagram,” said Ali, who continues to run and own the business. “Everyone was seeing it on their explore page, and what was unique about the way it was marketed was all the different ways you could use [it] as a skin-care product in conjunction with your makeup.”

Beauty enthusiasts started mixing it in with foundation and dropping it onto their Beauty Blenders to blend out foundation, he noted.

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“That was probably the pivotal moment, when you’d see a lot of Instagrammers drop the Rose Gold Elixir, this 24-karat gold beauty oil, onto a Beauty Blender and start blending out their foundation,” he said. “That initially grabbed attention because no one had ever seen that application method, and they wanted to learn more about the product.”

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And at that point, they were paying for the $54 product, because Farsali didn’t have the budget to send many samples out.

“Initially, a lot of influencers were buying it,” Ali said. “As a young brand, you don’t have the budget to seed it to a lot of influencers.”

These days, Farsali is working with more of a budget — for Skintune for example, it sent packages to about 300 influencers before the product launched to drum up buzz.

That product, which launched in early September, underscores Farsali’s dedicated to skin-care makeup hybrids. The $54 primer-serum contains skin-oriented ingredients like vitamin C, mushroom-derived poria cocos and cucumber extract, and can be used alone, as a primer, or mixed in with foundation.

Farsali works with third-party labs to come up with its formulations, and going forward, plans to stay primarily in the skin care-makeup gray area, according to Ali. Right now, the company is launching about two products per year — later this year it’s launching a mini version of its Jelly Beam Illuminator in Glazed — but hopes at some point, to ramp up that launch cadence.

“I would like to move toward four launches per year, or at least four touch points, whether it’s a limited edition or a shade extension,” Ali said. “As we enter the Sephora world, it’s all about newness and being part of the conversation.”

Right now, Farsali is sold in all Sephora U.S. doors, Sephora Europe, Sephora Southeast Asia, and is in progress of launching in Sephora Russia. The business is also in talks to launch in Sephora Middle East.

“It has helped legitimize the brand in the sense of the masses. There was maybe a little bit of a connotation of it being ‘an Instagram brand’ but [Sephora] helped legitimize and solidify that it’s a real brand,” Ali said. Right now, Rose Gold Elixir and Unicorn Essence are the company’s best sellers.

Industry sources indicated that Farsali was certainly a real brand, at least sales-wise, long before it hit Sephora. Before that launch, the brand was said to be doing more than $1 million a month of sales through the web site.

Even as it has expanded, the business has not taken any outside investment — Ali still owns the business, and for now, he said he’s not necessarily looking for financial partners.

“We’ve been able to get high performance sku’s [stockkeeping units] with a very small sku count and with that we don’t have to worry about so much inventory,” Ali said.

“We don’t need investors at this stage unless we’re getting to the point where we’re like, ‘OK, we need to launch a product every two months or three months and we want to increase the pipeline, and that’s not the vision,” Ali said.