Getting The Most From Media Plugs: Founders Reveal Mentions That Gave Their Brands A Boost

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 15 founders and executives: What media mention led to the most sales or exposure for your brand?

Kristi Moe Founder and Designer, Zodica Perfumery

PopSugar featured our perfumes, and it led to not just a ton of web visits, but a huge spike in sales. It’s so important to have the right message, the right product, and the right audience to see a media mention really impact sales.

PopSugar’s audience definitely matches our customer demographics, and they are highly-engaged. What I love about this mention though is that it happened so naturally, simply prompted by me reaching out to one of their writers on Instagram. She really got our brand and a mutual love ensued.

Stephanie Kim CEO and Co-Founder, Moonlit Skincare

Our Refinery29 review led to the most conversions. A year later, we still get orders through this article. But being listed number one in Buzzfeed roundup got us more traffic. Many ask us which PR agency we worked with. However, these two key reviews were organic. An editor at Refinery29 DM'd us a few weeks after we launched, and we met the Buzzfeed writer at IBE NY 2017.

As for PR, we did work with Michele Marie PR when we launched, and they helped us secure placement in Martha Stewart Living Magazine, which was also very big. If you're going to move forward with a PR agency, I would highly recommend working with an agency that has a headquarters in multiple locations.

Lori Gildea Founder, ThePureBag

The Philadelphia Inquirer did an article on us this past summer that provided terrific exposure and awareness for our brand and, hence, sales. The article shared my story in a way to help others avoid gym-related illnesses, and outlined the company’s mission and product offerings. It spurred at least one other newspaper to publish and share my story with its readers, which was beneficial because the writer consulted with a microbiologist expert, providing validation and credibility for the brand concept.

Then, while I was at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women event in October, numerous women came up to me and said, “I saw the article in the Philly Inquirer on you and your brand, great idea!” So, clearly, it hit a nerve.

Callie Milford Co-Founder, No Tox Life

We were on live TV in the Bay Area, Good Day Sacramento, where they featured our holiday DIY bath salts workshop at Urban Air Market in San Francisco. It was a huge sales day for us at the market, and we drove home to LA to find our website was flooded with orders, the most we’ve ever had in the space of 14 hours. The timing really worked out since this was a couple weeks before Christmas, and people were excited to learn about a natural handmade company with vegan gift items.

David Simnick CEO and Co-Founder, Soapbox

One collaboration that is coming to mind is when we worked with a company that tailored a group of micro-influencers, AmbassadHer, together for us to post about our liquid hand soap on sale at Target. The influencers had to go into Target, make a purchase and snap a photo in Target with their item, post about their experience using the product, tag the Target location they purchased from, and outline the Target deal.

I believe partnering this collaboration with the Target sale really magnified the efforts because, not only are the followers going to their influencer for product suggestions, but this suggestion came with a discount and somewhere they can easily purchase from.

Alexandra Preston-Morley Co-Founder, Coco & Eve

We did a creative campaign in the U.K. with a famous celebrity personality, reality TV star Gemma Collins, and we recreated the infamous Kim Kardashian Paper front cover. Instead of Gemma holding the champagne bottle and having the glass perched on her booty, we got her to hold a coconut, our main ingredient, and the Coco & Eve jar was on her derriere with coconut milk flying over her head.

The press went wild and 15 different press publications picked it up. We were on the contents page of two different magazines and a morning TV show got on touch with us to include it in a segment. It has since been seen by 350 million people and is still being made into memes today.

Ashley Ocampo Founder, Haleys

Beauty guru and YouTube influencer Tati Westbrook reviewed our RE:SET Liquid Matte Foundation after picking it up at her local Target store. In a twenty-minute video, she applied the product and raved about the foundation’s performance, long wear and extensive shade range.

She gave us a stellar review and highly recommended our foundation to her 4.6 million YouTube subscribers after wearing the foundation for a full day after a long flight. As of today, there's about 1.1 million views on the video. This led to a huge spike in website traffic and sales for us and Target in the month she released the video. The review was completely organic and unsolicited, which we are forever grateful for.

Holly Harding Founder, O'o Hawaii

Exposure-wise, Beauty Independent has been really incredible for us, especially among the industry. In terms of media mentions and being able to attach them to revenue or sales, it's actually a little difficult to determine. We do use Google Analytics to track, but I find more conversions come in when I repost the articles to my followers or include the features in my email marketing.

Erika Shumate CEO and Co-Founder, Pinrose

When we first launched, we were covered by some amazing print and digital outlets. From these first press hits, a feature in Refinery29 led to the most direct sales right off the bat. Using Google Analytics, we're able to see where our web traffic is coming from directly.

It is obviously harder to track mentions or features in print magazines, so it's hard to know how affective our placement in W magazine and other print mentions were on sales when we launched. More recently, features by People, Real Simple and PopSugar have led to the most trackable sales as well as a feature on the Today Show with Bobbie Thomas.

The success stems from two things: 1) Our brand resonates with the readership of these outlets, and 2) These outlets have very strong followings with wide reach and high engagement.

Amit Sarda Managing Director, Soulflower

For us, customer reviews have led to the most sales. Social media is another platform that is helping us in a great way. When customers share their reviews about how our products are helping or has helped them, then, people tend to believe it. When people are amazed by the results, they want to share their experience with other people. What customers share about your brand and its benefit is more important than what the brand says about its own product.

Marlene Weber Founder, PureCeuticals

Shortly after I launched, I found New York Times bestselling author, nutritionist and green beauty expert, Sophie Uliano, who is based in LA, and sent her some of my products on the off-chance she would be interested. My skincare line is all-natural, consciously-produced, cruelty-free and nontoxic, so I thought that she and I would be aligned in our philosophies on both beauty and business. My gamble paid off, and Sophie loved the products. She has been a fan ever since.

Sophie has been a great advocate for my brand and continues to regularly showcase my products to the thousands of followers on her social media channels. She has also promoted two of my most popular serums, my Ferulic C & Retinol Duo, on the Hallmark Channel’s daytime talk show, Home & Family. Whenever she features my products during her segments on healthy living, my sales jump almost immediately.

Thanks to Sophie’s support on social media, mentions in her newsletters and my participation in her Sophie’s Picks Beauty Box program, my business has grown a great deal.

Shontay Lundy Creator and Founder, Black Girl Sunscreen

Strategic partnerships with a targeted audience have resulted in the highest conversion of sales. For example, [we've done] sponsorships of podcasts and collaborations with outdoor fitness clubs. We’re able to measure direct referrals by giving a promo code in the content of the podcast or event.

Black Girl Sunscreen has also gone viral due to media publications and testimonials of believers. Even though mentions have created a buzz, it is difficult to directly correlate to sales. The same holds true for influencers unless you use a way to track performance. However, having a strong presence in all of these spaces is an essential part of launching and growing our business.

Yoel Vaisberg Founder and CEO, Haielle

We launched at IBE NYC. The social media buzz around the show has helped us to gain brand awareness and get some traction with new followers. We haven't seen a spike in sales yet, but we definitely noticed an increase of interactions with users, vendors and retailers. This seems to be the normal progress as new brands require some time to see results reflected in sales increase.

Danuta Dudek Founder, Cotarde

Definitely Travel + Leisure Magazine’s article on us. It happened in the beginning of August and after hours of an enormous influx of visitors, our website crashed! It was an incredible moment for our startup, as we started getting massive amounts of orders as of 4am in the morning. By 10am we realized we were getting into “trouble” fulfilling them in a timely manner. The whole team dropped whatever they were doing and simply focused on getting those orders and requests going.

This beautifully written article opened the doors to attracting the exact group of people our products have been created for – travelers and active people on the go. Suddenly they realized there is something that was created with their lifestyle and needs in mind. We are still so grateful for this opportunity and are smiling about those few days of "total craziness".

Peter Lee CEO, Saranghae

The biggest driver of our success to date has been deep collaborations with bloggers and smaller publications like Swaay Media.  The one major publication with the biggest impact has been Harper's Bazaar.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to