BK Beauty: YouTube's Influencer Evolution

Few beauty br\ands can claim to be as influencer-savvy as BK Beauty. Founder Lisa Jauregui, a former MAC makeup artist, was at the forefront of the YouTube influencer movement, amassing 10,000 followers with her trademark easy video tutorials. Since she and husband Paul Jauregui launched the D2C company in 2019, they've set about following the most meaningful marketing mix amid constantly changing platforms.

Paul, co-founder, tells D2C Insider how BK sees the beauty landscape.

D2C Insider: First, tell us how you decided to launch the company.

Paul Jauregui: Lisa is both the beauty and the brains of the operation. And our story is like many other content creators who have started to use their audience as a springboard to develop brands and products. Lisa worked first as a makeup artist at MAC and then as a regional trainer. When she started on YouTube, she had no expectations. But eventually, we saw an opportunity to develop our own brand and bring our own products -- specifically, makeup brushes -- to market.

D2C Insider: How big are you now?

Jauregui: Our sales are in the mid-seven figures, and we've been growing about 100% each year. Our goal is to be the category leader in brushes within the next five to seven years. We've expanded into color cosmetics.

D2C Insider: There are more than 45,000 beauty channels on YouTube, including the world's biggest brands. How do you stand out?

Jauregui: It's centered around a passion for beauty and a component of giving back. Right out of the gate, we partnered with an organization called The Kindness Campaign, which gets a portion of every sale. Our name stands for that: Our daughters are Brooklyn and Kate, but also, we think Beauty is Kindness. And beauty is about more than just an outward appearance.

Product quality is so important. We're known for some of the softest brushes, which are ideal for sensitive skin. That's led to a demographic focus, with a solid foothold among women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, especially baby boomers.

D2C Insider: How else did you tighten your connection to that demographic?

Jauregui: We've partnered with Angie Hot and Flashy, another YouTuber. That's been a huge success for us. She's got more than a million subscribers, and they trust her.

D2C Insider: How has the YouTube platform changed for beauty marketers?

Jauregui: Lisa's philosophy is that makeup is easy, and beauty is attainable. It's very practical. And when she started, people just put out content driven by what they were passionate about, whether they got paid or not. Since then, they've found ways to monetize. It may be affiliate sales, direct brand partnerships, or ad sharing with YouTube.

Moving into the next decade, content creators will start to understand their full market potential, moving from content to community to full commerce. They've got so much room to translate that audience into sales. They've built up trust and authority with these people over time.

D2C Insider: What are the risks?

Jauregui: One misstep. My wife is adamant that we never put anything out until we're sure it's perfectly designed and ready to go -- her followers trust her. We can't cut any corners. This model only works when creators and influencers share products they 100% love. So the bar is very high.

D2C Insider: What do people misunderstand about your industry?

Jauregui: Twenty years ago, people went to retail counters when they needed to learn about makeup. They engaged with the makeup artist behind the counter. Today, people go to YouTube. And relatability is a huge factor, People who share about themselves and their lives connect with a broader audience.

D2C Insider: How have you expanded beyond YouTube?

Jauregui: Influencer marketing is a huge part of what we do. On any given day, we'll have dozens of new videos from other content creators -- not only on YouTube, but also Instagram and TikTok. My goal is to have us be ubiquitous on all channels. When people see us wherever they are, that's a big win for us.

D2C Insider: What is your balance between platforms?

Jauregui: YouTube has been our heavy focus, especially for the first 18 months. Within the last 12 months, we've begun looking towards TikTok. A big part of our strategy is a lot of product seeding–reaching out and developing relationships with content creators. YouTube is our powerhouse, with Instagram in a supportive role. But there's tremendous crossover between content creators and platforms, even though we are seeing more who are exclusively on TikTok.

D2C Insider: Are there demographic differences in how women respond to influencers?

Jauregui: Yes, on the younger side, smaller channels typically have a much closer connection and a higher level of engagement. On YouTube, a content creator that has 20,000 highly engaged subscribers translates into sales in a much bigger way than a channel that has 500,000-plus subscribers. And we've got people with a million followers on Instagram who don't even move the needle.

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