Hello, beauties! Today is another post that’s part of my Thursday Chats series, where I talk about hot topics within the beauty community. Today’s topic is beauty brands coming out with sister brands. It’s not a new concept, but we’ve been seeing it a lot in the past year.
Many beauty companies are owned by about half a dozen big parent companies, including Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Proctor and Gamble, LVMH, and Shiseido, to name a few. You know how everyone raves about Bite Beauty but hates on Kat Von D? They’re actually both owned by the same parent company, Kendo, who also owns Fenty Beauty, Marc Jacobs, and Ole Henriksen. There are also smaller parent companies, such as Seed Beauty, who owns ColourPop, Kylie Cosmetics, and KKW Beauty. Of course, many independent beauty labels still exist out there, but your every day makeup consumer probably doesn’t know that some of their favourite brands are either created by larger parent companies, or end up being acquired by them.
Source: Fourth Ray Beauty
RECENT SISTER BRAND RELEASES
In the last few months, we’ve also been hearing about some of the most popular brands out there coming out with sister companies (or parent companies coming out with subsidiaries). For example, ColourPop released Fourth Ray Beauty last year, which is their new sister brand that focuses on skincare. More recently, Glossier launched Glossier Play, which is full of fun, bright products in contrast to Glossier’s current toned-down aesthetic.
Another big one is Tarte, who launched (or relaunched, to be more accurate) a sister skincare brand called Awake Beauty last year. As I was doing research for this blog post, I found out that both Tarte and Awake are surprisingly owned by a Japanese parent company called Kose, a large company in Japan that owns many big Japanese beauty companies, so I found it interesting that they bought such a major American brand. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much about Awake Beauty on social media since it was released last summer – they only have 17K followers on Instagram, whereas Glossier Play already has 104K, so I don’t know what happened there. Tarte didn’t stop at Awake Beauty though; last month, they launched another sister brand called Sugar Rush. When I first saw a sneak peek of the products, I mistakenly thought it was an extension of Too Faced’s Tutti Frutti collection, because the packaging is very bright, kiddish, and looked fruit-themed. From the aesthetics to the lower price point, Tarte designed Sugar Rush to be geared towards teenagers.
Source: Glossier Play
WHY COMPANIES LAUNCH SISTER BRANDS
A lot of people have been questioning these labels for coming out with sister brands when they feel that it’s unnecessary. What’s the point of doing this when they could just add the new products to their existing brand, the way that Tarte has their Rainforest of the Sea skincare line under its regular brand, or the way that Glossier already has both skincare and makeup? Besides some likely strategic financial/tax reasons, I personally think that it actually makes sense for a lot of these brands to come out with sister brands for image reasons.
As we all know from blogging, it’s important to establish your own image or personality on your blog, and this is doubly important for companies that have products to sell. Coming out with a sister brand allows consumers to mentally separate between a company’s two different images. For example, Glossier is all about skincare first, makeup second, and looking natural and glowy. The bold, glittery makeup from its new brand, Glossier Play, is not at all in line with this identity, so adding the new products from its sister brand to its existing line would be confusing to consumers. Even though Glossier Play still has “Glossier” in its name, creating an entire new entity with a distinct identity allows Glossier the ability to establish a whole new aesthetic for its second brand.
A second reason for creating a sister brand is to create a separation between the products themselves. I have to be honest, I’ve always tended to be skeptical of makeup brands that come out with skincare, because I feel like they specialize in makeup and don’t know enough about skincare ingredients to create decent products. I know it’s not necessarily true, but that’s the way my mind works. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this – this recent Reddit post has skincare lovers bringing up the same concerns.
When you think of it this way, it’s why I think it was smart of ColourPop (or its parent company, Seed Beauty) to come out with a brand solely dedicated to skincare. Marketing is all about psychology of the consumer. Even though you know logically that it’s the same company, your brain has already made the distinction.
Source: Tarte Cosmetics
For me personally, it doesn’t really matter whether I like the main brand, I won’t necessarily purchase from any sister brands unless I am actually interested in its products. For example, I’ve highly enjoyed the few products I’ve tried from Glossier so far, but I haven’t made up my mind about whether I want to purchase anything from Glossier Play yet. I love ColourPop, but I stay away from Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty because Kardashians. However, I do know that a lot of people are interested in trying sister brands because they are already fans of the first brand, which is completely logical, too! If you like the quality of the products from one brand, there’s a big possibility that the quality of its sister brands will be high too.
What do you think about brands coming out with sister brands? Is it necessary, or should they just add the new products to what already exists? Why do you think some sister brands like Glossier Play get tons of hype, but others like Awake Skincare fall into the abyss?