Beauty is in the brow

October 17, 2023By Inside Beauty Articles, Views

by Megan Moyer, corporate marketing manager, as appeared in Inside Beauty for Drug Store News

Twenty years ago, Billion Dollar Beauty founder Natalie Plain was working in Los Angeles as a television producer when an eyebrow shaping appointment resulted in newly defined brows that altered her appearance. Fascinated and excited by the transformation, she began producing a documentary about the leading Los Angeles brow artists of the early 2000s. After taking a deep dive into the industry, she abandoned the documentary realizing she wanted to focus on creating cosmetics for eyebrows to help others achieve a similar transformation and Billion Dollar Beauty (BDB) was born.

“I didn’t set out to create a makeup brand,” Plain explained. “It started with my curiosity and quickly turned into a burning passion. I met with a cosmetic chemist and worked with them to develop a small batch of an eyebrow conditioning product. At the time there weren’t any on the market, so I saw an opportunity. I built a small website and had a sale on my first day! Over the next few years, I taught myself everything I could about the cosmetic industry and bootstrapped the business myself.”

Innovation led to an assortment of over 30 brow products, and after addressing the brow space, BDB and Plain turned their attention to what they perceived as the inefficient makeup palette category, launching their patented Billion Dollar Box in 2020. The box is a magnetized compact that allows the customer to create their own makeup palette and house it in one reusable box. The box includes a mirror and a kickstand so it is convenient for travel or on-the-go. There are even magnetic mini makeup brushes that stick to the base as well.

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Natalie Plain
Natalie Plain

“My goal with BDB has always been to help our customers solve their most pressing, day-to-day beauty routine challenges. We see ourselves as a ‘problem/solution’ company — we only create products that help address clearly-defined problems.”

The company moved into full face beauty as a result of customer demand. Ruthie Kaplan, general manager at Billion Dollar Beauty, said, “The customers were requesting a full line and at the same time retailers were interested in the innovation we had created.” Following their model of developing products with purpose, the beauty line was born. Kaplan said their products are clean formulas which are vegan and cruelty-free.

The primary way BDB is connecting with customers to gain their feedback is through social media, according to Kaplan. Over the past three months they have also started selling on TikTok. “We are an early adopter — one of the first beauty brands to have a TikTok shop — and we have worked closely with their team to develop our page and have seen a lot of success,” Kaplan shared.

Selling direct to consumers has also allowed a direct line of communication. ”We pay attention to the reviews and comments and love to see when customers suggest product ideas,” Kaplan stated.

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In addition to selling direct to consumer, BDB has with a large retail distribution footprint, including internationally in Australia, Japan, Romania, and several other places across Europe. In August of this year, BDB launched in over 800 doors in Walgreens. Kaplan said they also have frequent appearances on QVC and sell direct to beauty professionals through Cosmoprof and their own direct B2B site.

When asked about top products, Kaplan said the Universal Brow Pencil is their top seller. She said the pencil is available in one shade that works with most skin tones and hair colors. For those that don’t know where to begin with their brows, there are video tutorials with Plain as well as users who share their tips and tricks of using the products. “We love the content customers are creating and sharing because a variety of people showing how they are using the products can speak to our different audiences,” Kaplan stated.Billion Dollar Beauty products

BDB has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings in Plain’s Los Angeles apartment. Plain said, “When I started the company, I was in my late 20s, now I’m in my late 40s and I’ve enjoyed seeing the transformation in the customers that have been with us since the beginning. Because of this, we recently created a Beauty Over 40 campaign which has had phenomenal engagement on all of our social media platforms, along with QVC, and in our Walgreens launch as well.”

As for products on the horizon for Billion Dollar Beauty, Kaplan said there are new brow products launching at the end of 2023, including a laminating brow product, and they are looking at adding more innovative features to the Billion Dollar Box.

Maintaining loyalty in a disparate market is no easy task. Developing products to solve existing issues is a sure path to success, as is letting customer feedback guide a brand’s expansion. Kaplan attributes customer loyalty to the brand’s authenticity and Plain still being very involved. “She runs the company and our team is very tight-knit, so I think customers react to that ethos of the company and want to be a part of it.”