Social media is changing the traditional retail buyer-and-seller relationship. It isn’t just influencers driving consumers to brands, social postings catch the attention of merchants, as well.
In the past, brands had to pound the pavement seeking meetings with buyers in hopes of getting a purchase order. That was especially cost-prohibitive for international contenders to travel to the U.S. or for upstart companies where founders also headed sales efforts and were stretched thin.
That’s all changed with social platforms, especially Instagram, and the floodgates are opening for brands to reach U.S. shores. And, of course, brand generated content has been an avenue for minuscule brands to match the muscle of behemoths. Companies that have benefitted from this movement include Mint Skin, an Australian brand gaining traction online at Urban Outfitters Inc. — a retailer on the cusp of discovering up-and-comers.
Mint Skin was uncovered on social media, underscoring how now merchants have to prowl social sites as hard as they also scour trade shows to find what’s hot. One buyer shared that she spends a big portion of her time looking at Instagram for brands to fit her merchandise mix. And, her assistant patrols YouTube daily, right after breakfast, for products to investigate. She also said it is compressing the launch schedule as she nabs these fledgling brands to deliver trends faster than heritage brands.
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After launching as a direct-to-consumer brand at first, Mint Skin’s social postings caught the attention of Urban Outfitters. “Urban Outfitters saw our Instagram in the first months of testing and contacted us,” said one of Mint Skin’s founders Mitchell Toohey.
The natural, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free skin-care range features ingredients sourced locally in Australia. The lineup includes three versions of masks: Mud O.G., Mud Black, Mud Rosa and the Rosa Hydration replenishing treatment oil.
Rapid pickup from beauty influencers and their direct customers around the world through the online store put Mint Skin into warp speed to keep up with demand. According to Toohey, it wasn’t in the plans to team up with a retailer so quickly.
But the move proved fortuitous for both parties. Urban Outfitters picked up Mint Skin for its online store a month ago. Within that time frame, their Mud Black (charcoal mask) was sold out on the web site. In fact, the product is on back order until Aug. 18, exceeding the buying team’s six- to eight-week sales forecasting.
Now the company is entertaining further expansion, including physical store distribution within the next six months. Mint Skin was founded by Toohey and Carla Mcgraw. Mcgraw had experience in modeling and fashion production, while Toohey had expertise in finance, fashion marketing and sales. They combined their backgrounds to launch the line, testing first on family and friends to devise the three masks.
Mint Skin isn’t the only social media success story. Fellow Aussie brand Frank Body entered the U.S. following the buzz its coffee-based scrubs generated on social. Anastasia Beverly Hills also revved up growth when company president Claudia Soare became an early adopter to Instagram. Winky Luxe, which just raised $2 million in financial backing to expand its footprint, was found by retailers through its social efforts. Another merchant said he noticed Nudestix from its digital imprint.