Beauty Inc. celebrates the year’s hottest innovations and most directional marketers.
This story first appeared in the December 9, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
If the Kardashian-Jenner craze wasn’t feverish enough, Kylie Jenner kicked it up to a completely unprecedented level with Kylie Cosmetics. Ever since the first Kylie Lip Kit shipped last December, the brand’s launches have sold out almost instantaneously (often in less than 60 seconds), fueled by Jenner revealing them on Snapchat. The insatiable demand extended far beyond matte liquid lipstick this year, as Kylie Cosmetics’ range grew to five product categories. “The frenzy and the sellouts create energy and interest, but the downside is disappointment for those who don’t have access,” said Laura Nelson, founder of parent company Seed Beauty. “We have worked very hard to build up our capacity.” The path to success hasn’t been without bumps. The brand endured a cavalcade of publicity around a poor grade from the Better Business Bureau, which has improved; complaints posted on social media by influencer Jeffree Star, and counterfeits. But such issues were speedily addressed and Kylie’s digital-only distribution and social-media prowess helped keep it nimble and foster a strong customer connection. Nelson is betting the brand will translate beyond tech, with a brick-and-mortar store to open this month.