About-Face, the beauty brand created by singer Halsey, has inked its first retail partnership.
The brand will be going into Ulta Beauty, starting with the full assortment online and its Matte Fluid Eye Paint available in 550 doors, via the Ulta Beauty Sparked program. It is launching online June 14, with the brick-and-mortar footprint to roll out throughout the summer.
For Halsey, the move was a natural fit, given their desire to make the brand as accessible to fans as possible. “It was kind of a no-brainer for me because I go to the stores so often,” they told WWD. “Makeup is part of my job, not just as the founder of a company, but as a musician who does their own makeup. When I need to step out, I’ll replenish my [makeup] kit… they’re in suburban neighborhoods, and when I go I don’t really have to be Halsey, I can just be Ash, shopping for makeup.”
The two-time Grammy winner founded the brand last year. The goal wasn’t to add to the cacophony of the celebrity beauty space, but to create products that could stand apart from their famed founder.
“I knew that the celebrity brand market was so oversaturated, but it became really obvious to me right away that what I was doing was a lot different than other celebrity-faced brands,” Halsey said. “I was meticulously developing these formulas and packaging, and treating this the way that I treat my albums and my tours, where my hands are all over it. I have a very specific vision, and there’s a very specific way I want people to feel when they interact with the things I’m making.”
To that end, Halsey, who started doing their own makeup for red carpets and tours early in their career, knew they wanted the line to be “high-performance, but accessible.”
“It’s the same way that I feel about records. I basically wanted to amass a community around it,” they continued.
As it happens, Halsey’s creative processes in beauty and music aren’t dissimilar. “I’m not just making makeup for me. You’re thinking about your audience. You put it out into the world and people turn it into something of their own. As artists, you have to be OK with letting it go, and I learned a lot about that as a musician,” they said.
Even the distribution strategy was defined by that approach. “We started truly direct-to-consumer, and I like my base demographic that already knows me to get those things I love and believe in,” they said. “But the brand has legs now, and it wants to run away.…When I talk to people who love the products but aren’t Halsey fans, that’s so important to me. The brand has that identity, and we’re just taking off running.”
The expansion also gives Ulta a deeper assortment in the celebrity brand space, which Dave Kimbell, Ulta’s chief executive officer, recently called out as driving growth in makeup during an earnings call with investors. This year alone, the retailer has taken on Fenty Beauty x Rihanna, as well as Ariana Grande’s R.e.m. Beauty.
“Our guests are highly engaged with our celebrity-founded brands and feel a personal connection to the celebrity when discovering their assortment in our stores,” said Maria Salcedo, senior vice president of merchandising, Ulta Beauty, via email. “We know authenticity and inclusion are important to beauty enthusiasts and About-Face is a prime example of a brand guests will be excited to discover at Ulta Beauty.”
“Excitement for makeup is accelerating. We’re seeing growth across all major categories including lips, eyes and face,” Salcedo continued.
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