Revolve is continuing on its yearlong expansion kick, today launching #Revolvebeauty, a dedicated beauty section. Following the rollout of 11 in-house, portfolio brands this year, the introduction of Revolve Kids, the opening of venue meets showroom meets clubhouse Revolve Social Club and sales that are said to be on track to reach $500 million, this marks the first time the e-tailer will get into the beauty space.
Revolve.com is kicking off the category in a big way. Forty-five brands that span makeup, skin care, bath and body, nails, hair and tools are now on site. The selection will contain a mix of brands — there’s a handful of well-known names such as Oribe, Stila, Aesop and Malin + Goetz — but Michael Mente, cofounder and co-chief executive officer of Revolve, said the focus is on emerging beauty players. Among them: Ouai, Ilia, Kjaer Weis, Kosas, Herbivore Botanicals, Kopari, Verso Skincare, Context, Kai and Sachajuan.
He also emphasized that covering every category of beauty was a priority, similar to what the retailer does with fashion — but was hesitant about describing the rollout as a big entry into the category.
“It’s all relative. ... It’s big in that we have 45 brands in beauty, but in apparel we have almost 600 brands,” Mente said.
But the launch is big when compared to the 30 beauty brands that Net-a-Porter had on site when it introduced its beauty category, called The Quintessential Edit at the time, in 2013. In over three-and-a-half years, this has grown into a substantial category for Net-a-Porter, with a search on Net-a-Porter.com yielding about 6,000 beauty products.
For Revolve, it’s just the beginning.
“This is probably something we should have done years ago,” Mente admitted. Beauty is something the company had thought a lot about the past several years, he said, but understanding the beauty landscape and building a sizable customer base — with trust in the retailer — needed to come first.
But now is as good a time as any.
Mente said last year that the company was on track to do $400 million in sales in 2015. He declined to disclose sales figures or projections for this year, but an industry source confirmed the retailer surpassed $400 million in revenues during 2015. The same individual said the company, fueled by high-double-digit growth, is on track hit half a billion dollars in sales by year’s end.
When asked how big he thought the beauty business could become, Mente said was unable to give a definitive answer.
“That’s one thing I get asked a lot in terms of different segments of the business. I have a hard time with that question because, with all the segments growing, it’s hard to judge if it’s going to be 10 percent of the business if Revolve is [by then] two or three times the size [it is now]. It’s a moving target,” Mente said.
He added: “I don’t have a specific target, but we’re investing a lot of resources and attention [in beauty]….Internally, we do think it’s going to be a meaningful portion of our business for sure. It’s something we’ll have to learn and adapt to, but something that will be very significant over the long-term.”
Revolve has tapped into its network of influencers to help with the launch, too.
This weekend, five influencers — Patrick Ta, Rachel “Rocky” Barnes, Jenn Im, Amy Pham and Jasmine Saunders — will be on hand at the Revolve Social Club to do beauty demonstrations during a two-day event. A host of services will be available to the more than 100 high-value Revolve customers that will be in attendance, ranging from making custom eye shadow color kits from ColourPop to getting hair and nails done at Ouai and NCLA’s booths.
“Just like anything we’ve done forever and ever, we always want to work with influencers because it’s the easiest way to get the word out,” said Raissa Gerona, vice president of brand marketing at Revolve, who oversees influencer strategy.
She noted that a range of talent was carefully selected, and the resulting mix of fashion influencers, makeup artists and YouTubers was no accident.
“Beauty touches everyone…[and] we’re expanding beauty into what we already know works. Rocky Barnes has never really done beauty, and Jasmine is a model — but obviously knows how to do her makeup,” Gerona said.