Interview With Luxie Beauty CEO – Conor Riley
Since 2014, LUXIE has grown from an indie brand to a global phenomenon beloved by top US influencers and beauty lovers. Sourcing the best components worldwide, the female-founded company developed one of the first high-performing, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan makeup brushes. Today, their complete collection features a wide array of multi-use beauty tools that combine sleek design with problem-solving functionality, including signature brushes made with premium soft, synthetic bristles.
The brand recently released the Expert Artist Kit, suitable for makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts alike. It has all the essential brushes and sponges needed to do a full face of makeup. The kit is available for purchase here.
So how did you get involved with Luxie?
“So it’s a pretty interesting story. I actually started my career in finance, running a private equity fund. I did some banking and then kind of decided to get away from it all. Then, when sailing down in Mexico, a couple of my friends approached me with different projects. One of them being Tammy Ngyuen, she has really sensitive skin, and there wasn’t a solution in the marketplace that gave her the quality makeup applications she was looking for, and the soft bristles that [didn’t irritate her skin].”
“She pioneered a lot of the technology in the synthetic brush world. Prior to her, synthetic brushes clumped up [upon application]. They weren’t working so great. I started at Luxie as an advisor, and then as time went on, Tammy saw that Luxie had grown beyond where she was comfortable running the daily operations. She asked if I could come in and take over, and I’ve been the CEO since 2018. So it’s been a lot of fun.”
How did Luxie go from being an indie brand featured in beauty subscription boxes to being sold in major retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom?
“Well, you know, I think that’s, that’s actually interesting that you bring that up. I think subscription boxes are really a great way to get the name out there to get more people interested in your brand. When you look at Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxy Charm, FabFitFun and all these different boxes, you’re talking about millions and millions of people that get an opportunity to try out your product. So what we did is we really used that to drive our e-commerce business and also use that awareness to kind of start having these conversations with buyers at Nordstrom and Macy’s. … Little by little, we started getting more and more traction, and we started really finding a home in the mainstream.”
What makes Luxie different from other luxury brushes on the market?
“Well, I think that there’s two really big differences. I think the first one comes to the quality and softness of the brushes. I mean, at our core, we’re a brush brand that was started with someone that was overcoming a skin issue and looking for brushes that will stand up to a rough application and leave your skin feeling good. You know, it’s important that we maintain our soft and fluffy bristles and maintain that quality so that you get that professional application.”
“Then I think the second part is really who we are. We’re really out there walking the walk and talking the talk. We give a percentage of sales to different causes that we believe in were women-founded and women-owned. There’s a lot about us that I think makes us a unique brand in the space.”
So have you guys seen any changes in the way your business operates due to COVID?
“Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s been really tricky. When you think about buying brushes, maybe you go into Nordstrom or go into Macy’s or Sephora or wherever. You’re kind of used to seeing what we call it, the petting zoo, where it’s like all those blushes facing up so that you can touch each one. And obviously with, with COVID restrictions and kind of just people wanting to, to not touch things that’s gone.”
“So, now you’re looking at new ways to convey some of our key selling points. We’ve done a few influencer partnerships, and we’re continuing with our sampling program. We’ve seen a lot of people buy direct from us, so there’s an increase in traffic on our website.”
“COVID-19 taught us a lot of great lessons. Like one, we have to really support our retail partners. Two, we have to make sure that there’s not any confusion about how good our product is because people may not be willing to pick up a brush or may not be able to pick up a brush in store. So those have been some pretty, pretty dramatic changes.”
So I know you’re coming up on your sixth anniversary. What’s in store for Luxie?
“We’re so excited that after six years, we’re still here. We’re still growing and we’re getting so much love internationally that we really see ourselves growing, not just domestically through our retail partners, through our own e-commerce platform but also growing internationally.”