Austin beauty companies see spike in online retail while customers work from home

Austin-based cosmetic business owners spoke on the effect of the coronavirus on their industry. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin-based cosmetic business owners spoke on the effect of the coronavirus on their industry. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin-based cosmetic business owners spoke on the effect of the coronavirus on their industry. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Even as some people continue to work from home, affecting morning routines, makeup brand owner Ginger Averitt said she finds customers are still buying and getting their hair and makeup ready each day.

“We found that a lot of women are still getting ready and putting on their makeup in order to conduct business virtually,” Averitt said. “There are so many Zoom calls and FaceTime calls that people are using because people are home, but they're still working.”

But that does not mean her business has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Averitt owns Elevé Cosmetics, a nontoxic, organic and vegan-based makeup cosmetics company based in Austin. Elevé remains closed even as businesses reopen because as an interactive shop that allows customers try things and is difficult to maintain 6 feet of distance, Averitt said it was in the best interest for her employees and the public to remain closed.

Instead, the store has focused on online products, which Averitt said has helped bring in some revenue. Averitt said online sales are up 177% year over year, and online traffic is up 80%.

“People are staying home, but they're also shopping online a lot more,” Averitt said.

The storefront, however, saw a 28% drop in sales from February to March. And April’s year-over-year revenue dropped 54%.

To help combat these losses, Averitt said the store is getting creative by putting together beauty kits such as their “work-from-home kit,” delivering gift baskets locally for free and offering virtual makeup lessons on Facebook. The store, which usually offers wine and champagne to its customers, has also been able to do curbside pickup of those items as well, Averitt said.

Averitt said while some people may be wearing less makeup while staying home, she believes people are ready to get back to some sense of normalcy, including their regular morning routine. She added she would argue people may be even wearing more makeup to feel good through the uncertainty.

“I really think that cosmetics and makeup, it's more than just what other people see. I think women use cosmetics, skin care [and] makeup because it makes you feel good. And if you look good, you feel good,” Averitt said. “In order to get back into a routine and feel good about yourself, you kind of need to take a shower and get ready and feel like you're looking good and highlighting your best features. I just think cosmetics is more than what other people see; it's a personal thing.”

Christina Martin, the owner of Gourmande Girls Cosmetics, a cruelty-free makeup and skin care line based in Austin, agreed.

Martin does not have a storefront but sells her cosmetic products in two Austin retailers that closed due to the “Stay Home Stay Safe” orders. Martin said the loss in revenue did affect her business, but she too is experiencing a surge in online orders.

“I think people were rallying around small businesses,” Martin said, adding her social media presence and pushes from loyal makeup artists have helped.

Martin said she also believes people have also just been shopping more online since they cannot go physically to stores.

She, like Averitt, said she too continues to see a trend of people still doing their makeup even if they are staying home.

“The trend I've seen online and what I myself are doing because I'm a makeup lover is dressing up, stay home,” Martin said. “People have been wearing makeup to, I guess, keep from feeling shut in, getting up and putting on makeup even though you’re staying home so you don't feel so isolated."
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


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