Most luxury skincare has a price markup of 10 times the cost it takes to manufacture it, according to Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss and Soap & Glory. That’s why she decided to tackle skincare as the next category for her six-month-old company, Beauty Pie.
Beauty Pie launched last December as a pretty unique concept, selling just makeup at the time. Kilgore decided to take the middle man out of the equation, selling products literally at cost. Her Beauty Pie products are produced in the same top labs in Switzerland, Korea, the UK, and Italy that manufacture best-in-category products for designer and high-end brands.
Then, for a $10 monthly membership fee (the way Beauty Pie takes a profit) and the price of shipping, you can buy the products at factory cost, which is clearly disclosed on the site. Think mascara for $2.06 — or you can choose to forgo membership and pay the equivalent “retail” price of $24. As a member, there’s a limit to how many items you can buy at cost monthly, but your allotment rolls over every month.
The concept is definitely a little confusing, but Kilgore says that Americans in particular get it (the service is also offered in the UK), “probably because half of them have Netflix and belong to Costco, and love being able to buy at straight-off-the-production line prices,” she wrote in an email. “I think for newcomers, it might seem too good to be true, so it can take a few visits to the site before she (or he) joins. But we are steadily growing in a great, organic line upwards while learning, fixing technical issues, and understanding our members’ needs.”
Bobbi Brown is a fan and member, calling it out as a business to watch.
“I’m using these (BEAUTY PIE) PLANTASTIC MICROPEELING SUPER DROPS as an overnight acid exfoliating treatment to help bring back the lost “glow” post pregnancy – tiredness, sensitivity, dullness & pigmentation is what I’m treating! My skin visibly looks so much brighter the morning post use and I can’t stop touching my face… it physically feels so much smoother already!” Victoria Partridge, Facialist. Don’t you love when you try a new product and it’s transformational? . . . . . #beautypie #beautyrevolution #skincare #micropeeling #exfoliation #microexfoliation #healthyskin #glow
A post shared by Beauty Pie (@beautypie) on Jun 7, 2017 at 12:42pm PDT
After starting with makeup, Beauty Pie added skincare products to the mix, unveiling them online at the end of May. There are now 11 products available, and prices range from $5.21 for a cleanser to $13.11 for a Korean-made sleeping mask-style cream. Kilgore says the Super Healthy Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream ($10.67, or $130 retail) is the best seller so far, followed closely by the Fruitizime Five Minute Facial ($6.25, or $60 retail), a resurfacing mask.
The three products I tried — a cleanser, micro-peel drops, and a rich anti-aging cream — are all pretty great. I especially liked the cleanser, which is creamy but still removed all my makeup without that squeaky-clean dry feeling some foamy cleansers leave. It also comes with a cleansing muslin, although other niceties (like the little spatula that usually comes with expensive creams in jars) are missing. But I like the minimalist aesthetic of it all, including the stripped-down packaging — white and black with millennial pink box lining — and subtle scents.
Kilgore acknowledges the assortment still has holes.
“Our goal with Beauty Pie skincare is to cover all of the basic needs for all skin types, to have our retinol ranges and our vitamin C ranges, our multi-fruit acids and our peptides, our soothing and super hydrating [products],” Kilgore wrote. “Then every couple of months, through research and working with luxury labs from around the world, [we will] present something new and innovative and effective.”
In the current pricing structure, members have monthly spending limits. Kilgore told me back in December that it was to prevent people from buying things in bulk and reselling them, and also to be sure that all members would have access to items that are only available in limited numbers. She said that the company is now looking at tweaking those buying limits and making them a bit more flexible to “allow [the shopper] to buy more, all at once, so she can wear all Beauty Pie all the time.”