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Ipsy brand built influence among YouTubers first and venture capitalists followed

Michelle Phan

With 2.2m followers on Instagram and 2.1m on Facebook, beauty adviser Michelle Phan of Ipsy has built an empire on her YouTube channel praising make-up or blush as well as offering sisterly advice about shampoo.

"She's shown the path forward for a YouTube star," said Ben Cockerell, director of global marketing at social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon in the article. “First you get the followers, then you bask in the fame, then you make some real money."

Her unique style has amassed 8.7m followers since 2006, according to an article in Bloomberg News, as her company harnesses the power of her YouTube stardom.

Ipsy has raised more than $103m in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2011; it has been profitable for more than three years, and its annual revenue is $150m.

Hiring a vlogger to pitch a product on a brand's behalf is considered more organic than trying to get makeup tutorial lovers to follow a brand's channel. Other brands don't have the trust factor the YouTube stars have developed, according to Candace Corlett president of WSL Strategic Retail. Yet, Phan is not the first choice to be a Cover Girl, according to the article, because big cosmetics brands fear there will always be new Michelle Phan popping up. The same dilemma is shared by other brands on YouTube, as habits and interests shift. Yet, the 'influencers' may have it right.

"Partnering with creators on YouTube and Instagram has been part of Ipsy's strategy from the very beginning," said Ipsy President Jennifer Goldfarb. "We believe that digital content creators are the new source of inspiration in beauty and have become the biggest influence in consumer's purchasing decisions."

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