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Fast Beauty: Winky Lux Delivers Trends to Market in 45 Days

When she found consumers were making excuses over drugstore beauty items, Natalie Mackey saw an opportunity for fast and affordable cosmetics.

After researching the viability of a technology platform she planned to launch, Natalie Mackey’s career took a detour.

During interviews with more than 200 women aged 16 to 29, women were asked to empty their purses. When they did, many apologized for the prevalence of drugstore makeup. There was scant interest in the software, but Mackey detected a white space for on-trend yet affordable beauty.

“They kept saying they bought these products when they ran out of the ‘good stuff,’ or were in a hurry,” Mackey explained. Moreover, they prized their prestige purchases such as a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick.

That shifted Mackey’s gears from technology to product creation with a goal to deliver affordable beauty that didn’t elicit shame. With a young audience in mind, she and her business partner founded Glow Concept. One of the lines in Glow Concept’s portfolio is Winky Lux (, a concept-to-consumer model churning out new products up to six times faster than the industry average. “If we can’t do it in 45 days, we don’t,” said Mackey, who serves as the company’s chief executive officer.

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Additionally, if an item can’t be produced for less than $20, it doesn’t get produced. Instead of sinking its money into elaborate websites, Glow Concept invests heavily in supply chain for brisk and economical production.

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Teaming with influencers has also been key. When gearing up for launch, the company tapped a then moderately successful YouTuber named Orion. They thought a meet and greet would attract 60 to 70 girls. Instead, 600 signed up in 12 hours and the lines stretched around the block.

According to Mackey, her companies’ new items have to stand out against the mega-budgets of its deep-pocketed competitors. “We have to offer something different and special,” she said. “We get in and out quickly because trends happen in real time.” A case in point of a trend reacting to consumer demand is Winky Lux Flower Lip Balm — one is sold every three minutes.

The brand is sold online as well as in 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores, such as Forever 21 and PacSun, with plans to expand to 3,000 doors by the end of 2017.