YouTube beauty influencer Michelle Phan exits Ipsy as it launches new offer

YouTube beauty influencer Michelle Phan is now the owner of EM Cosmetics, the brand she started (unsuccessfully) with L’Oréal and later relaunched under the aegis of Ipsy, the creator-focused beauty company she co-founded. She has now bought the brand from Ipsy through her Divinium Labs company.

It also means Phan is leaving Ipsy altogether to focus on her new project with the company saying it will now “continue to grow as a partner to beauty brands with the launch of Ipsy Shopper, a personalised beauty shopping service.”

Back with Phan, she said the new venture will allow her “to realise my vision of building a global beauty brand with innovative R&D and increased vertical integration.”

EM has a lot of Instagram followers but is still relatively small in the global cosmetics sector. Its earlier lack of success was blamed on prices being too high for Phan’s fan base and its recent relaunch saw more affordable lip products and eyeliners being marketed, with expansion expected to come in this area.

But what about Ipsy itself and where does it go from here? The Ipsy Shopper launch just announced means that customers will be able to get their hands on full-size products rather than just samples it has focused on, although customers will need to subscribe.

They will also get cash back when buying, with the money being paid back directly to customers. While the rules for how much money flows back look slightly complex, it basically amounts to cashback increasing the more shoppers buy.

The company was founded by Phan, along with current CEO Marcelo Camberos and president Jennifer Goldfarb six years ago, and is a well funded brand with huge potential. With over 3m subscribers, it currently sends out monthly $10 sample boxes and works with a wide range of beauty “creators”, as well as hosting the Ipsy Open Studios incubator and Generation Beauty conferences.

Goldfarb said of Phan’s departure: “The idea of building an innovative beauty company for the creator generation is what created Ipsy. Michelle was pivotal in growing our creator community to over 8,000 creators, four successful yearly Generation Beauty events and over half a billion monthly content views. We thank Michelle and are excited to see where she will lead EM Cosmetics in the future.”

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