I.O. Beauty Market Enters E-Commerce With A Focus On Beauty Inside And Out
I.O. Beauty Market goes beyond the superficial.
The new e-tailer from Dixie Lincoln-Nichols curates a selection of inner and outer beauty solutions to meet shoppers’ well-rounded personal care and home needs. I.O. Beauty Market has kicked off with 10 brands, including Agent Nateur, The Beauty Chef, The Honey Pot Company and Karite, that it’s taking from the screen to the street with a pop-up in Allentown, Penn., starting in June.
“We believe that you have to address what you put on the inside as much as what you put on the outside,” says Lincoln-Nichols. “The organic food movement created a deep awareness that what you put inside your body is important, and we want to amplify that what you put on your body also has an effect, and it can work to assist you or work against you.”
Although I.O. Beauty Market has a short history in natural beauty and wellness, Lincoln-Nichols has been steeped in the sector for a while. A health coach and former high school biological science teacher, she grew I.O. Beauty Market out of the blog Inside Outer Beauty. Before the blog, she launched bath and body products brand Dixie Bits eight years ago.
Lincoln-Nichols’ past has emboldened her to pursue broader ambitions. “I didn’t give myself a chance to grow it. I kept it very small and protected. My team was just me,” she says of the now-shuttered Dixie Bits. “Since 2010, there’s been a huge surge of minority-owned companies in the beauty segment. I feel like we have made greater strides, and minority-owned brands are continuing to come to the market. However, the [next step] is being able to stay in this space and be a long-term resource in it.”
One of the biggest lessons Lincoln-Nichols learned from Dixie Bits is that she should forge partnerships to support her efforts. She’s looking for a co-founder or two to join I.O. Beauty Market to lend a hand. She’s also seeking about $100,000 in funding to fuel the site. Lincoln-Nichols has invested roughly $60,000 to get I.O. Beauty Market up and running, and anticipates it will generate $100,000 in its first year.
“Don’t be afraid to ask. There is so much power in the ask and in teamwork,” says Lincoln-Nichols, discussing key lessons from her beauty tenure so far. “Get a team and get people to advise you who know more than you to help you. If you keep thinking the business is yours alone, it will never grow. Stop thinking it’s yours alone and start thinking about it as something you want to offer customers.”
Lincoln-Nichols scours trade shows, events, magazines and social media for brands to consider for I.O. Beauty Market’s customers. Friends and family members supply brand recommendations, too. Lincoln-Nichols likes to test brand’s products for 30 days prior to signing off on them for I.O. Beauty Market. They must be effective and not contain 25 ingredients such as talc, mineral oil, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, coal tar dyes and dimethicone on I.O. Beauty Market’s forbidden list.
I.O. Beauty Market is depending on social media and digital marketing to build an audience. The e-tailer is developing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads, and utilizing Google AdWords. Lincoln-Nichols sifts through data to figure out the most successful techniques. “After the first week on AdWords, I noticed 10,000 people came to the site because they were clicking on ‘beauty products,’ the top search for our site, but we need to convert that to sales,” she says. “Google Analytics helps us get a better picture of what’s going on and what we can do to get the sale.”
Lincoln-Nichols isn’t sitting still as she establishes I.O. Beauty Market. She plans to introduce products under the I.O. Market umbrella by August and an app by the end of this year. “We don’t want to rush things, but we also need to keep being innovative and stay ahead,” says Lincoln-Nichols. “This market moves quickly, and we have to be there with it or else we will get left behind.”