Pink Beaux Brings A Prestige Point Of View To Indie Beauty E-tailing
We’re all familiar with someone like Maisha Harris, the sort of woman wired to know the latest beauty launches who delights in doling out recommendations to stave off rashes, pimples, wrinkles or any stubborn issue that pops up.
“I’ve always been a resource, and helped my friends, family and patients with finding products that work for them and their skin,” says the oncology nurse. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I open a business where I sell the brands that you may not find in Sephora or Ulta that really put a lot of thought into their products and end customer experience?’”
After registering Pink Beaux’s LLC two-and-a-half years ago, Harris has switched on the lights at the luxury indie beauty e-commerce website stocked with six brands: Lauren Napier Beauty, Heir Atelier, Mischo Beauty, Battington Lashes, Kari Gran and Rituel de Fille. The plan is to slowly expand the brand repertoire to around 10 next year that meet Harris’s not-to-be-trifled-with standards.
“I want every single product sold on Pink Beaux to be something I would use myself and that takes time,” she says. “It’s definitely my baby. We are a small startup, but I’m passionate about it, and I have faith that, as things grow, we will be at the level of Credo, Violet Grey or even Bluemercury. That’s what I want Pink Beaux to be when it grows up.”
Pink Beaux celebrates a woman’s relationship with beauty. Its name, which comes from the French word for boyfriend and the girlish hue, emphasizes that relationship. Harris explains, “Women have always had this love affair with makeup and cosmetics. We take it seriously, and a lot of men don’t understand that. I just love the color pink, and it flows with beaux. It represents femininity, and feminine love for skincare and cosmetics.”
“We are a small startup, but I’m passionate about it, and I have faith that, as things grow, we will be at the level of Credo, Violet Grey or even Bluemercury. That’s what I want Pink Beaux to be when it grows up.”
In the beauty industry, love doesn’t necessarily come cheap. Harris believes Pink Beaux’s customers aren’t interested in skimping on their beauty spoils. They’re confident spending $80 or $90 on a moisturizer if it’s the right moisturizer for them. Investment pieces rather than dispensable items are their beauty purchasing modus operandi. Pink Beaux’s clean aesthetic spotlights the products to convey their worth.
“Right now, we’re in a landscape where beauty has taken on this fast-fashion approach where every other month someone is putting out a new eyeshadow palette or set of lipsticks. Of course, when I was in my 20s, I might have lined up in front of a store for a new release, but, now, I’ve started to target products not just because they’re the trendiest or newest thing,” says the 36-year-old. “My target customer curates their makeup bag. They’re very conscious about their products and discerning about what they choose to put on their face.”
Pink Beaux’s discerning customers aren’t about to toss ugly products into their carefully-curated makeup bags. A brand has to be gorgeous to make the site’s cut. Harris is also attracted to compelling brand stories. Boring corporate boilerplates are a no-go. Of course, products have to be effective, and Harris sticks to cruelty-free offerings.
Skincare is at the heart of Pink Beaux, although it extends to makeup, nail care and beauty tools. Harris points to feminine care and home fragrance as categories that could be ripe for future extensions of the site. Supplements aren’t the province of Pink Beaux, a destination for sophisticated glamour unfazed by the flood of wellness gimmicks entering the beauty market.
“My target customer curates their makeup bag. They’re very conscious about their products and discerning about what they choose to put on their face.”
Harris has poured roughly $10,000 into getting Pink Beaux off the ground. Her goal is for the site to hit $30,000 to $50,000 in first-year profits on $100,000 to $125,000 in sales. Originally, Harris considered a quarterly subscription model for Pink Beaux, but ditched it upon encountering pushback from brands. She says, “Brands weren’t too open because I don’t think they’ve seen the value from subscription boxes. I went back to the drawing board, and decided to go ahead and do a full retail website.”
Harris juggles Pink Beaux with a nursing job. She allots six hours a night for sleep and follows Casey Neistat’s time optimization strategies to make the most of the moments she’s not at her day job to build Pink Beaux. Harris’s husband Johnny lends a hand with logistics, and assistant Lacey Smith supports social media outreach. Pink Beaux has tested Facebook advertising and is creating content at a second site, The Beaux Book, aimed at prestige beauty shoppers.
“Once you start throwing money behind it, you have to do something with it. It’s real, and I want to see return on my money. Before I started, I had a fear of whether people were going to embrace it,” says Harris. “Once I said, ‘Maisha just do it, the worst that happens is that you lose a dollar, but you have a job, and you’ll be able to make it,’ the fear dissipated, although it’s still there.”