In 2001, when Marc Jacobs launched the Marc by Marc Jacobs diffusion line, I became obsessed with an olive green twill mini skirt with oversized buttons that cost just under $200 – too expensive for an unemployed high school student. , but still a fraction of the cost for an item in the main Jacobs collection, something I could only visit at Barneys New York, like a museum exhibit. After doing a scene at Intermix, my mom caved; I owned my first designer broadcast piece. In college, I switched to Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G, pairing a faux tan with a black satin bodycon dress and a hot pink patent leather clutch. Every year, I shopped for D&G’s winter sale at its now-closed West Broadway store.
Broadcast lines have made designer brands more accessible for decades. Marc by Marc Jacobs and D&G may no longer exist, but there are MM6 Maison Margiela, See by Chloé, T By Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler White Label and 10 Crosby by Derek Lam (which survived the original brand) , among others.
In beauty, however, the concept is still nascent – and unproven.
The first example that comes to mind is Estée Lauder’s The Estée Edit from 2016, a low-cost makeup line created for Millennials that shut down after a year. A few other beauty brands have experimented with affordable secondary lines, like Peach & Lily’s Peach Slices, slightly less expensive Tarte’s Sugar Rush, and Sharon Chuter’s Uoma by Sharon C, a Walmart diffusion brand.
Halsey, born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, is the latest to try to make the broadcast work in style. Next week, they’re launching AF94, a line of eye, lip, cheek, and body products under $10 with Walmart. Last year, Halsey launched About-Face, their first makeup brand, which entered Ulta Beauty in June and sells lip, eye and cheek colors for just over $10 (most items being well under $20).
With their latest adventure, Halsey now plays in two tough beauty categories: broadcast and stardom. Coupling brings an additional challenge; the only thing harder than creating one celebrity beauty brand is creating two.
The purpose of a broadcast brand is to provide real value to customers, but broadcast beauty brands often don’t offer a significant price drop. Uoma by Sharon C, for example, sells foundation for $11.98, while the main line foundation is $39. The difference between a $12 and $40 foundation is less than that of a See by Chloé dress that costs a tenth of its runway counterpart.
In beauty, cheaper versions of existing products could also be met with skepticism.
“If you’re a premium brand and you want to make something more affordable, people will question the science behind it,” said Lanie Shalek, chief growth officer at Jobi Capital, the incubator behind Homecourt are Courteney Cox’s ranges of candles, hand creams and hand creams. After.
There are ways to deploy a broadcast line without sacrifice: In a previous interview, Chuter said saving money on packaging is how she’s able to deliver a broadcast line without compromising on quality. Still, the question of “effectiveness,” or the potential lack thereof, looms for consumers of beauty products, especially skincare and makeup.
To be successful, “a broadcast brand must have a real reason to exist,” said Michelle Kluz, partner at global consultancy Kearney. A secondary brand helps build buzz and “create affinity with the primary line” and, eventually, an upward trade-off.
The About-Face and AF94 products, however, cost about the same. The main difference between the two is where they’re sold: About-Face is an Ulta exclusive, while AF94 is at Walmart. Consumers might be confused by two makeup brands with similar price points and the same famous founder, especially since they’re both less than two years old.
Kluz adds that with the exception of The Estée Edit, conglomerates tend to buy what’s “missing” in their portfolios instead of trying to spread their legacy brands. She cites Michael Kors (in fashion and accessories) as a cautionary tale of broadcasts hurting the main line.
“Halsey hasn’t even proven the brand on a single channel yet. When you think of a diffusion brand, these are iconic brands that have proven themselves in high-end distribution channels before spreading,” Richard Gersten, founder of True Beauty Ventures, a company that has invested in K18 and Gods. “These people are spreading before their brands become something special in premium.”
As it stands, each brand will benefit from an exclusive retail partnership, including prime placement in-store and in email marketing. AF94 and About-Face still share a management team, product development and financial resources with About-Face, although the two manufacture in different facilities and have separate suppliers for formulations, components and outer packaging.
At this point, it might have made more sense to keep everything under the About-Face brand and co-create exclusive shades and products for each retailer to keep the assortments different. Both Walmart and Ulta would benefit from a unified brand amplified by a famous founder, allowing About-Face to gain wider name recognition and the widest possible distribution.
It’s unclear how Halsey will truly differentiate the brands and, more importantly, how they will convey those differences to followers. They’ve got star power on their side, but that’s no guarantee of success in the beauty business — and streaming labels present an even bigger challenge. After all, even one of the biggest names in beauty, Estée Lauder, couldn’t do it.