Customers aren’t the only ones responding to the young beauty brand’s buzz on social media, investors are quietly eavesdropping on the conversation as well. According to this article from Forbes, Julep’s unique social media strategy has attracted the attention of investors who are willing to drop a pretty penny on the company, and here’s why:
Julep customers have the option to become a “maven,” where you can pay $19.99 per month for a box full of hand-picked makeup, nail-care and skin-care items at a discounted price. Before signing up, you have to take a style quiz online,which tells the company what kind of products and colors you’re interested in. What sets this Seattle-based company apart from the famous Birchbox, is the fact that Julep will send you an email each month with a preview of what your customized box will contain, and if you aren’t happy with their selections, you can request to send it to a friend or ask for different products. This program is brilliant, really, because women tend to gossip…a lot…especially on social media. During a time when blogging is all the rage, beauty bloggers will eat this stuff UP. They are looking for any excuse to try a slew of high-end products and either praise them (hopefully) or absolutely tear them apart, and the longer Julep can stay on a beauty blogger’s radar, the longer it can reap the benefits of free marketing.
So, what better way to get someone to try a product and talk about it than to ship a box right to their front door? (Yes, $19.99 is a bit steep to pay month-to-month, but when you figure that an average bottle of Julep nail polish is a whopping $14, you are definitely getting a bigger bang for your buck by becoming a maven.) Anyways, what I am trying to get at here, is that word-of-mouth marketing is HUGE in the beauty industry, and Julep has a real knack for getting its products talked about, thus, grabbing the attention of some pretty high-profile investors.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and beauty blogger reviews have become the go-to mediums for customer feedback. Being active on social media allows Julep to see what products are flying off the shelves and what products are duds. If a limited-edition nail polish gets rave reviews, Julep is more than likely to make it a permanent product, thus satisfying the customers that can’t live without it. What’s most impressive about the beauty brand, is that Julep will not delete or hide negative comments or complaints from customers; Julep actually RESPONDS. “We’re not telling customers what they want, we’re responding to what they want,” says Jane Park, Julep Beauty’s founder and CEO. If there is one thing that customers appreciate these days, it’s transparency, and Julep prides itself on being honest and responsive.
From an investors point of view, it’s refreshing to see companies take such a hands-on approach. Julep actually listens to it’s customers, which is a huge contributing factor to its success- and investors want in on this success. Big names like Maveron (Howard Schultz and Dan Levitan’s venture arm), Version One Ventures and Precedent Investments (whose funders include Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay Z’s Roc Nation) have injected a total of $26.9 million into the company over the past two years. Not too shabby.