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Beauty Inc Awards: Launch of the Year

ColourPop and Nudestix secured the big launches of the year for mass and prestige.


Five years ago, ColourPop’s business model would have been inconceivable, but in 2015, it was one of the fastest-growing brands in beauty’s hottest category, color cosmetics. And it’s only sold online. ColourPop was created with Millennials in mind. The equivalent of fast fashion in the beauty sector, it has rolled out several hundred stockkeeping units — blushes, shadows, lipsticks, etc., priced mostly from $5 for a single item to $40 for a kit — within a year. “We saw a gap where the opportunity is to have amazing formulas with great pigmentation in a wide range of colors that are affordable. People don’t have to overly commit to a trendy color that is going to cycle out over time,” said John Nelson, who founded Seed Beauty with his sister Laura. What really makes the brand, well, pop, has been its prowess in using social media to drive sales, particularly in creating product collaborations with YouTube and Instagram influencers such as Kathleen Lights. Said Laura Nelson earlier this year, “The consumer’s purchasing behavior, what she is buying and where, and the influencers she is following—this has converged to change her willingness to go on a Web site and try a new brand.”

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Jenny Frankel may be a veteran beauty brand-builder — she was at MAC before cofounding CoverFX — but it was only by stepping back from the business to spend more time with her teenaged daughters, Ally and Taylor, that she hit on her newest concept. Inspired by their lack of engagement with traditional beauty brands, Frankel came up with the idea for minimalist makeup pencils that would be “easy, effortless, fast and portable.” Nudestix was the result. It launched at Space NK, before rolling out to Sephora, Urban Outfitters, QVC and Bluemercury, as well as Forever 21. Taylor and Ally are the brand’s faces, and also manage its social media profile. Though young, the brand is having a growth spurt: Nudestix’s door count is expected to double in 2016 and Alliance Consumer Growth acquired a 30 percent stake in November. “We have a very clear vision,” said Frankel. “We’re disruptive, but that’s a good thing.”