Organisation Name: It Cosmetics
Web References: itcosmetics.com
Industry: Health and Beauty
Name of Contact: Jamie Kern Lima, Co-founder
Web References: itcosmetics.com, qvc.com, tsc.ca, facebook.com, instagram.com, youtube.com, twitter.com
Description of how social media is used for business performance
Even though she is only in her 30s, Jamie Kern Lima is a rich woman. But it wasn’t always so. In 2008, Jamie and her husband were living in Studio City, California. Business school and her own experience as a TV news anchor convinced Jamie to launch a cosmetics line that she called IT Cosmetics. Jamie, her husband (and co-creator) Paulo, and roommates did all the grunt work, but it was her clients and social media that helped to move the merchandise. In a Woman’s Wear Daily story from August 2013, Jamie said: “Women would post their before-and-after photos online. Thank goodness for social media because we didn’t have money to advertise.”
There is no way Jamie or those early customers could have predicted the brand’s spectacular success. In 2014, Entrepreneur magazine reported that IT Cosmetics had earnings of more than $100 million. This becomes even more impressive if you consider that in North America, IT Cosmetics is sold only on the company website, shopping channel QVC (U.S.), The Shopping Channel (Canada) and Ulta stores ( U.S. only). Every day, the company faces competition from hundreds of cosmetics brands that are readily available at department stores, drugstores and discount retailers.
How does IT Cosmetics stay on top? By continuing to use social media to engage customers and remain visible and connected. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (with an impressive 82.7K followers) are always up to date and are used to promote Jamie’s appearances, products and give followers a behind the scenes look at the brand’s day to day activities.
But for many customers, the engagement with IT Cosmetics starts with TV. Jamie is the face of the line and during her shopping channel appearances, she tells the story of her inability to find good products to help with her problem skin when she worked as a TV news anchor. In this clip from QVC, she demonstrates the effectiveness of her powder foundation by first removing her makeup to reveal serious skin issues (go to the 3:28 mark):
The demonstration is powerful. Jamie is friendly, likeable and highly relatable. Social media makes it possible for customers who watch Jamie on TV to connect with her off air. Jamie participates in scheduled live chats and answers questions on The Shopping Channel’s Facebook page when she is in Canada. In the U.S., QVC customers can post questions on the community page of the channel’s website.
IT Cosmetics also stays connected through YouTube. On the company’s channel, customers can find a collection of broadcast quality videos showing tutorials and product demonstrations. But the channel offers more than a passive viewing experience. It offers customers the opportunity to ask questions which the company answers in a timely manner.
On most days, YouTube beauty vloggers post cosmetics reviews featuring dozens of brands and a dizzying array of products. The videos create virtual word of mouth and allow women interested in purchasing products to see them in action. In the United States, IT Cosmetics and QVC make products available to bloggers for their unbiased reviews:
This video received over 20,000 views but just as important to IT Cosmetics and its customers, is the conversation in the comments section of the video’s page.
Transparency is also evident on the company website where products are available for sale. Here, negative reviews are posted alongside the positive ones and customers are encouraged to contact the company by email or through live chat if they have questions or concerns.
Jamie Kern Lima has always expressed gratitude to her customers. On the IT Cosmetics page she writes: “Real women getting real results and spreading the word is how IT Cosmetics has been built. IT girls, IT moms, IT survivors. IT’s all about you!” Absolutely – along with a lot of hard work on the part of Jamie and her team and the power of social media.
Lessons for Others
Some companies may be uncomfortable using social media to connect one-on-one and facilitating open dialogue between customers and potential customers. The IT Cosmetics story shows that transparency and the conversations made possible by social media –even if not always positive – can help a brand to grow and thrive.
An interview has been requested with a company representative responsible for social media.
Submitted By: Pilar Segura
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.