E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth

 May 22, 2024

E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth

The beauty brand has grown sales for 21 consecutive quarters, thanks to its savvy approach to reaching customers.

BY Yasmin Gagne

E.l.f. Beauty, the conglomerate behind E.l.f. Cosmetics, Keys Soulcare, Well People, and Naturium is on the rise. The company delivered more than $1 billion in sales from March 2023 to March 2024, up 77% over the past fiscal year. CEO Tarang Amin led the company to its best year on record by focusing on international expansion, creating a digitally native and nimble marketing strategy, and reaching new consumers through key acquisitions.

During an interview ahead of E.l.f.’s earnings call, Amin unpacked his approach to the company’s 21 straight quarters of strong sales growth. “We’re now the number two brand in the U.S.,” he says, “and we just passed L’Oréal when it comes to color cosmetics.”

E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth
[Photo: E.l.f. Cosmetics]

Marketing to different age groups

Like just about every beauty brand with a strong social media presence, E.l.f. has been gathering steam among Gen Alpha and Gen Z consumers, thanks to its wide availability and low price point. The company’s $333 million acquisition of skincare brand Naturium in October 2023 has brought more millennials into the fold. “E.l.f. Skin has a similar consumer profile to E.l.f. color cosmetics; it’s primarily Gen Z and women,” Amin says. “Naturium has a very different proposition. The price points are higher, about $18, and the consumer set skews millennial.” (The brand’s user base is 40% men.)

E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth
Tarang Amin [Photo: E.l.f. Cosmetics]

International expansion

In 2014, E.l.f. started selling products abroad. Amin says that the U.K. and Canada are E.l.f.’s biggest international markets, but he believes there is room for the company to grow in other markets like Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. In the earnings call, Amin announced that the company would enter Sephora stores in Mexico in a bid to go toe-to-toe with behemoths like L’Oréal and Maybelline, and to open other international opportunities. “International [sales] are up 115%, but right now it only constitutes 16% of our business, versus a lot of our global peers who are at 70%,” Amin says.

E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth
 
 
E.l.f. Beauty has a playbook for nonstop growth
[Photo: E.l.f. Cosmetics]

Spreading its bets

Amin says that nearly a quarter of the company’s business is done through its website and social channels. The company was early to TikTok and Twitch, working with creators like Mikayla Nogueira Hawken. “On TikTok, our first hashtag challenge had 3 billion views. I think our last one had 15 billion views,” Amin says. He also noted that E.l.f. has a strong and growing brand presence on Roblox, solidifying its name recognition among Gen Alpha gamers.

At the same time, E.l.f. has doubled down on its in-store presence in national retailers including Target, Ulta, and CVS, while still building out its digital presence. “Our digital business for the quarter is up over 70%. Our international business was up 115%, and our national retailer business was up as well,” he says. “We’re pretty agnostic in terms of where someone buys E.l.f.”

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yasmin Gagne is an associate editor at Fast Company. She is the host of Fast Company’s weekly podcast, Most Innovative Companies. 


Fast Company

(8)