Michelle Phan has left the L’Oréal building.
“Together, we’ve made the decision to sell Em Michelle Phan to Ipsy, a company which Michelle cofounded,” said Carol Hamilton, president of L’Oréal USA’s Luxe division, Friday afternoon. “We are proud to have worked with Michelle to help bring her vision to life.” Phan added, “I’m grateful that L’Oréal believed in me and helped me bring my dream of creating a beauty brand to life. I’m excited to be working with Ipsy to bring Em home to my community, the original inspiration for the brand.”
Ipsy is a subscription box set that Phan founded with Marcelo Camberos and Jennifer Jaconetti Goldfarb in 2011. “Ipsy has a great relationship with both L’Oréal and Michelle,” an Ipsy representative said Friday. “We are happy we can support Michelle’s desire to bring Em back to her community and look forward to keeping you updated with brand developments in the future.”
After inking a high-profile deal with the YouTube star in 2013, L’Oréal USA was bullish on Phan’s future. “What we believe very strongly is that this is a new business model,” Hamilton said in August 2013. “We think it’s a huge opportunity to understand the power of building up a whole line online.”
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Named Em — Vietnamese for “sister” — the line, with products retailing for an average of $23, was introduced online to great fanfare.
However, from all market accounts, the line simply didn’t live up to the hype. In a bid to reach needed critical mass, L’Oréal began selling the line — which by that time had ballooned to 315 stockkeeping units — on Amazon’s Luxury Beauty Store site in July 2014. The development of the line never got past the “start-up” phase, according to knowledgeable sources. One analyst suggested that the pricing was too high for Phan’s youthful audience.
Representatives for Phan and Ipsy.com declined to comment further on future plans.