That’s basically what Richard Parrot, president of Ricky’s NYC, has done for his latest venture. The new shop in New York City’s SoHo nieghborhood is logically called # (hashtag) and sells the brands that consumer are raving about on Instagram.
The new business model
Brands looking to make it big in beauty need only start with “an idea, an iPhone, and Instagram,” remarked Vennette Ho at a CEW event earlier this summer. Ho works as managing director of Financo, and pays close attention to what distinguishes successful indie beauty brands, and which are well positioned to be acquired by industry leading corporations.
Nudestix, a makeup company for millennial women, is just one example of a brand that is leveraging social media for marketing, consumer and retailer education, and more. (Cosmetics Design spoke with Nudestix founder Jenny Frankel.)
“The key word is education because what people are looking for is real knowledge of the product,” # founder Parrot told New York Magazine when asked what makes a successful Instabrand? He sees quick beauty tutorials and product tips as a gateway to consumer trust: “When the regular consumer sees that, tries it, and actually gets the same result, that translates to loyalty,” he told the magazine’s Lauren Schwartzberg.
Retail and research
Retail spaces are full of products loved on-line more now than ever, as beauty brands that launched as pure play digital ventures are opening storefronts to further connect with consumers.
And market researchers listen intently to consumer discussions about beauty. One such firm, NetBase, recently ranked the top 30 brands “according to the frequency and sentiment” of consumer posts about beauty, as Cosmetics Design reported.
While big data from digital sources is impacting business globally, Parrot’s strategy for selecting brands worth selling happens on the human scale and takes full advantage of curiosity, serendipity and instinct. “I open Instagram in the morning and fall down the rabbit hole….You click through ten different people and 20 different comments until you’re like, What is this brand? I’ve never even heard of them! That’s when we reach out,” he said, in conversation with Schwartzberg about his search technique.
Parrot points to the inherent authenticity and democracy of Instagram as a reason why consumers trust recommendations for personal care products.
“[Kylie Jenner] posted a really realistic picture of herself in a bikini with Cocoa Brown off to the side with a caption like, ‘This is my favorite self-tanner.’ They definitely didn’t give her a million dollars to do that, and people respond differently when it’s real. After that picture, I sold out of everything I had,” he explained in the New York interview.