Thursday Chats: Beauty Brands Launching Sister Brands

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


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


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?



14 thoughts on “Thursday Chats: Beauty Brands Launching Sister Brands

  1. I love this post and i totally agree with what you said. Sometimes to avoid burning out your audience, if you have a lot of ideas it might be good to release them under another brand. People love things that are new and fresh, so they will tune in, as opposed to if you drown them in products under the same brand

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. It definitely got me thinking a little more. I guess I fall into the category of thinking “why not just add new products to your already existing line”, but your post has definitely made me understand a little more why brands don’t do that and create sister brands, and it makes complete sense!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! I haven’t seen many other bloggers talk about this topic. I personally have no problem with companies bringing out multiple brands since they’re usually aimed at different audiences anyway. If you (the consumer) don’t like the products from a certain sister brand, simply just don’t buy them.

    When Glossier Play came out, a good friend of mine (who absolutely loves Glossier) thought that it was too early for them to be diluting their brand. But if you think about it, why would they add these fun, brightly colored products to their original line that would likely confuse their skincare customers, when they could create a huge PR moment by creating a new sister brand & (potentially) capture a new audience? It totally makes sense for them business-wise to create a second brand in this case. Personally, none of the current Glossier Play products speak to me either, but I’m very intrigued to see what they come out with next.

    I just saw Sugar Rush in Ulta yesterday! Center table right in front of the store, and honestly I had no idea Tarte was branching out too. I had heard about Awake Beauty last year, but clearly it hasn’t gone anywhere (yet).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree that consumers should just not buy products from sister brands if they aren’t interested in the products!

      Yes exactly, I think out of all the brands, it would have been the worst idea if Glossier had released the Glossier Play products under the Glossier brand! Now THAT would have diluted the brand!

      Oh interesting, for some reason, it didn’t occur to me that they would sell Sugar Rush in stores! I had it in my head that it was going to be online only. I really wonder what they’re going to do with Awake Beauty, since it hasn’t made much of a splash thus far…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great topic to discuss! I have not tried Tarte nor Glossier so cannot comment on them specifically however like you said, it’s that idea of creating a separated image for the brand. From a business POV, they can get a larger piece of the pie too right? And if like how you said, selling makeup doesn’t attract customers to buy skincare from them, then it’s a logical business move to add a sister brand and reinforce something that will persuade them to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had no idea that Tarte was owned by Kosé! How interesting. To be honest, all these sister brands are confusing the heck otta me. It’s really common for Japanese cosmetic companies to have a huge range of brands to cater to a wide audience or focus just on skincare vs makeup – think Shiseido or Kanebo or Kosé.
    I honestly can’t think of many examples of hugely successful brand extensions when they try to shift too far from the original brand image. Remember the disappointment that was The Estée Edit? Or further back, Street Wear or Vital Radiance – both Revlon,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I honestly find I am less interested in a new brand when it is affiliated with an existing brand from the beginning, which is the opposite effect I think they intend. When a well-known and beloved brand announces that they are starting a new brand, I think they expect everyone to flock to the new one simply because they love the original. For some reason it does not have that effect on me, and I am immediately skeptical. I think brands perhaps forget that associating a new brand with their own also comes along with all of their past baggage (Tarte for example). Maybe they’re just hoping WE forget the baggage. But overall I’m just ambivalent. I would much rather be introduced to a new brand that has a clean slate via excellent product reviews. Even if they are affiliated behind the scenes. It just puts a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning and I’m less likely to give the brand a chance.

    This is definitely an interesting topic and I’m glad you decided to touch on it here!

    Liked by 1 person

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