Michelle Phan’s Ecommerce Startup Story: Ipsy Michelle Phan’s began her career as a YouTuber where she’d regularly post beauty-related videos on her channel. When she started her channel in 2007, 40,000 people watched her video in the first week. Her channel eventually went on to have over 8 million subscribers. As her audience base grew, she noticed that people were constantly asking for the best products for them leading to the birth of ipsy. Ipsy is a beauty subscription service where customers get full-sized samples of products tailored to them in a beauty bag each month. Phan has said, “All of the development I do is with the help of business advisors who are more like my best friends than just business people. They helped me as I created Ipsy back in 2011…”
In 2013, she launched em cosmetics with L’Oreal. Phan ended up taking her cosmetics brand back from L’Oreal and is set to relaunch her brand April 17 where she’ll be selling eye liners and lip glosses. Today Phan is estimated to be worth approximately $500 million. She was also included in Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in 2015.
The main takeaway from Phan’s ecommerce startup story is to grow an audience organically before starting a business. Once you’ve built up an audience and understand what their needs are you’ll be better able to sell them your product because you’ll understand their specific needs better than anyone else. You’ll also have a huge audience that you can easily market your products too giving your business a big boost.