On an average day, Richard Parrott, president of Ricky’s NYC, wakes up, checks his email and then diligently scrolls through his Instagram feed. Parrott is on the hunt to find a slew of new beauty brands to sell at the urban specialty boutique, which he is dubbing “Insta-retailing.”
As part of this new strategy, Ricky’s will unveil a new store called Instaglam at Ricky’s NYC in August where all of the existing Insta-brands will be showcased. Parrott will use this as an incubator for new Insta-brands too to test how the market reacts and if they should stay in store.
“Insta-retailing started off with a brand called Dose of Colors,” said Parrott. “One of my buyers brought it up and said that the founder has 2 million followers on Instagram. We decided to have them come out and do an event last October. At the event there was a line wrapped around at 10 a.m. for the 6 p.m. event. We started looking around and realized we really need to start branching out with a lot of these brands.”
A few years ago, Parrott noticed that some of Ricky’s customers would come in with pictures of products they found on social media, asking if Ricky’s carried it. Because of that, he scoured Instagram to find brands that would be a good fit for Ricky’s and connect them with their network, creating buzz for the product both on social media and in-store.
What started not even a year ago has turned into 15 to 20 brands, which include Morphe Brushes, Violet Voss and Nume, among others, with little to no distribution all discovered on Instagram. Industry sources estimate that Ricky’s has generated over $1 million in retail sales this year due to the Instagram beauty brands that have been brought in to the store.
“The cross-promotion is part of the whole concept,” noted Parrott. “[Insta-retailing] does have power when the brands jump in and it’s amazing to see the lift we get in our social media when a brand likes and reposts.”
Obviously this initiative is working. In January, Parrott launched an agency called Ricky’s of New York, which focuses on product development, marketing and professional services. For the marketing aspect, Parrott on-boarded a company called Polished Digital, which was also developed in January.
“This is really the first monetization of social media,” he said. “I don’t think that all of the Insta-brands are looking for help or brand building. Many of them are established brands. We want Ricky’s to be a brand incubator and brand intensifier to great brands and will work with all of them at the level that they wish.”
He added, “Its not like I want to take Ricky’s in another direction and be a cosmetics store, what I’m capitalizing on is what Ricky’s already was — and that is a trendsetter and a brand-builder.”