Will state-of-the-art e-commerce shake up the beauty business?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Will state-of-the-art e-commerce shake up the beauty business?
Next month, color cosmetics startup Karity will let customers return makeup even after trying it out at home. With scrappy innovations like this one, the company is looking to interrupt the industry’s business as usual.

In part, Karity’s strategy is to grow organically by minimizing ad spend and trusting in word-of-mouth advertising. 

New directions

Some analysts are calling direct sales the business model of the future. And, the scheme reliably does well for brands looking to expand or take hold in emerging economies. Recall, for instance, Mary Kay’s new venture into Colombia​ early this year and Brazil’s burgeoning Natura Cosmetics company.

Now, start-up brands are approaching online commerce as an emerging economy unto itself and getting digital about direct-to-consumer selling. Karity “thinks it can persuade people to shop online for makeup, by providing a combination of great quality, low prices, technology, and genuine customer service,” ​according to an item published this week on The Huffington Post’s business blog.

Isaac Rahimi’s New York–based company seems to be off to a good start, notes the blogger. Karity boasts having sold more than 750,000 makeup brushes in its first year.

All the amenities at home 

Next month Karity is launching a try-at-home program: “This service will enable customers to try Karity makeup in the comfort of their own home and send back the makeup they don't want to keep, free of charge,” ​explains The Huffington Post item.

"We are an industry that is completely cornered by a hand-full of corporations,” ​Rahimi tells that publication. “Karity is different…owning [the] full line of distribution from manufacturing all the way to selling it to the end consumer allows us to pass on the savings while still investing in the very core of our business, quality."​ 

Karity also prides itself on swift product delivery, generally fulfilling customer orders within two days. 

Outstanding business

Karity is singled out in the blog item not simply for its blend of e-commerce and direct sales but more specifically for a style of business that is “cost effective,” “efficient,” ​and “transparent.”

It’s a two-way transparency that stands out here and is a good fit with current consumer expectations. “Karity offers a background about each product like their eco-friendly 24 piece brush set that features real bamboo handles, vegan hair and materials, and premium soft synthetic bristles,” ​notes the blog. 

The company also welcomes honest, immediate consumer feedback, making for a reciprocal exchange of information between the brand and the end user.

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