The phrase “professional makeup” may sound scary because people think they have to be a professional at makeup to use the products or that it’ll cost a pretty penny to buy them. NYX Professional Makeup dispels those thoughts by making its products available at stores all around the world for relatively anyone to buy. In addition to being physically present in stores, NYX prioritizes making its presence digitally known giving them the titles of a “digital-first” or “digital native” brand. NYX is everywhere and for good reason. This article gives an overview of how NYX got off to a great start and kept that momentum going to become one of the most loved affordable makeup brands.
How NYX Was Founded
NYX (pronounced “Niks”) is a makeup brand founded in Los Angeles by Toni Ko in 1999. Ko was born in Daegu, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States with her parents at age 13. As an immigrant, she found living in the United States difficult at first, especially because she did not speak English. However, she made sure to help out her parents with their cosmetics and perfume business after school and on weekends. In turn, she got to learn all there was to starting and maintaining a business and naturally grew more adjusted to her new life in the States. Ko was an avid makeup lover herself and spent all her money on it. While shopping for and using makeup, she noticed the price and quality disparities between high-end department store makeup and drugstore makeup. As a teenager, she wanted to buy high-quality makeup but couldn’t afford it and wished that there was a brand that had that high-quality makeup but at affordable prices. This thought inspired her to create NYX using a $250,000 loan given to her by her parents. She named the brand after the Greek goddess of the night, Nyx.
When NYX was starting out, the first products they released were eye and lip pencils. Their eye pencil called the “Jumbo Eye Pencil” was a liner and shadow hybrid that came in the shade “bright white.” The eye and lip pencils were being sold at $1.99 each, a way cheaper price in comparison to their competitors. The price may have been the reason why customers chose to buy the products at first, but they stayed when they realized how great they were. In NYX’s first year, they made $2 million on the eye pencils alone and a total of $4 million. No one would have expected this from a small business in its first year. This early success led to the creation of more products and an ever-growing brand.
Product and Services Strategy
Today, NYX sells over 2,000 products, everything one could need to complete an entire makeup look: products for the lips, eyes, face, and even makeup tools. NYX proves that their products were always great from the beginning because a lot of the brand’s best-sellers are their roots of eye and lip products. Their “Jumbo Eye Pencil” is still being sold and is listed as one of their best-sellers. The product comes in 32 different shades and still has the same creamy formula. Some top lip products are the “Soft Matte Lip Cream” and the “Butter Gloss.” Although their beginnings started at eye and lip products, their face products are also loved by consumers. For example, their “HD Studio Photogenic Concealer” and their “Total Control Drop Foundation” are also listed under the brand’s best-sellers and are included in articles and videos talking about the best products by NYX. Across all their products, NYX says that they are highly pigmented, long-lasting, and easy to apply.
NYX is not solely focused on selling products. A large part of NYX is their desire to form a community and to help everyone part of that community pick out the right makeup for them and learn how to apply it properly. On the NYX website, there are product guides that compare the different products against each other, so customers can choose the one that suits them. NYX also has a blog where they provide tutorials and announce the products part of their new collections. They also offer virtual services that allow customers to test out products, find their foundation shade, and get recommendations. Users can preview what products look like on them by uploading photos of themselves and having that product virtually applied onto the photo. Users can also take a quiz to find their right foundation shade and get consultations from either a real beauty advisor or with NYX’s My Artistry Intelligence Assistant, MYAIA. As an AI, MYAIA functions similarly to a beauty advisor who also gives customers recommendations for makeup looks and products. The perks of MYAIA being an AI is that she is available 24/7. NYX utilizes their knowledge as a makeup brand and combines it with rising technology to provide their consumers with a full experience.
As a drugstore brand, NYX’s prices are lower compared to makeup brands exclusive to department stores. This opens its doors to young girls like Ko who did not have the money for expensive makeup. The doors are also open to makeup wearers who do not want to spend a lot of money on makeup products or don’t want to commit to pricey products they are unsure about. NYX’s aim to keep their prices low worked to their benefit during the economic recession of 2008 when people gravitated more towards cheaper, drugstore makeup. Even years after the recession, NYX is still regarded as being just as good or even better than department store makeup brands.
NYX is available just about everywhere. Although they focus a lot on generating national sales, they are not exclusive to the United States. NYX sells their products in over 70 countries, on their website, and in a variety of stores. They occupy space in drugstores, grocery stores, department stores, and makeup retailers around the world. In 2011, they launched their own mobile app that functions as an e-commerce app, as well as a source for makeup inspiration and tutorials.
It may seem obvious to mention that NYX’s target audiences are young girls and women aged 15-30 who like makeup or want to get into it because those audiences are the same for almost every makeup brand. What makes NYX special is that they have tapped into narrower, niche markets by being vocal about environmental and social causes. NYX prides itself on being a cruelty-free brand and offering vegan options. As a cruelty-free brand, they do not test on animals and do not sell their products in countries that require animal testing on products. They even got PETA-certified back in 2014 and still remained cruelty-free after being acquired by L’Oreal, a company that does test on animals. Although not all their products are vegan, as in they do not include any animal-derived ingredients or byproducts, their vegan product selection is not small. They have 120 vegan products for the eyes, lips, and face. For makeup wearers who only use vegan products or only support brands that are cruelty-free, NYX is a brand they can get behind. In addition to being environmentally conscious, NYX is also a proud supporter and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. The brand created a yearlong campaign to show its support for the community and to educate consumers on what being an ally is. Through this campaign, NYX invites everyone to join them in being an ally. In a time when brand stances on world issues are very important to consumers, NYX is admirable for vocalizing their support for these causes.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
Almost every brand today uses social media to build its audience and attract customers. NYX is no different. NYX started using social media as a marketing strategy before platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok became hubs for marketing. In 2008, beauty influencers on Youtube started uploading makeup tutorials and would use NYX products in their videos. One of those beauty influencers was fellow Asian-American, Michelle Phan. NYX noticed that sales increased for the products influencers like Michelle Phan were using. NYX saw this as their opportunity to work with influencers by sending them free products that they could continually use and test in their Youtube videos. Thus came the birth of influencer marketing and what would be considered the second monumental moment for NYX.
NYX didn’t know it at the time, but working with beauty influencers on Youtube was just the start of their journey utilizing social media to grow NYX. NYX started taking part in promoting its brand by creating its own social media accounts. They are very active on Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and Facebook posting multiple times a day. Not only are they posting their own content such as photos and videos of their products, but they are still actively working with influencers. When looking at all of NYX’s social media accounts, about half of the posts are photos and videos of influencers and everyday consumers modeling NYX products. NYX currently has 14.6 million followers on Instagram, over 3 million on Facebook, 1.1 million on Twitter, and 332.5k on Tik Tok.
Out of all the widely used social media platforms, Tik Tok has become everyone’s best friend. NYX used Tik Tok as their platform of choice when launching a 6-day paid campaign specifically on the app. The campaign ran from March 12 to March 17, 2020, and centered around their Butter Glosses. As part of their campaign, they created an original song and collaborated with five Tik Tok influencers. Influencers Avani, Mahogany Lox, Brent Rivera, Louie Castro, and Tanisha Coatzee all used NYX’s original song as their Tik Tok sound and danced or sang along to the song while trying out shades of the Butter Gloss. NYX called this the #ButterGlossPop challenge. They also simultaneously hosted a giveaway for $1,200 worth of NYX products for one random lucky winner. The help of influencers and their followers and the incentive of a giveaway was successful because a total of 2 million users created their own Tik Toks as part of the #ButterGlossPop challenge, and the Tik Toks cumulated to over 11 billion views. On top of that, NYX’s brand awareness increased by 42% and their ad recall increased by 79%. This Tik Tok campaign was just one out of many successful campaigns the brand has held.
It is impressive to see how NYX started off with such humble beginnings and was able to take off rather quickly. In their rise, a lot about the brand is still the same. They keep true to their roots of being an affordable and high-quality makeup brand. They work to be inclusive, helpful, and accessible. They do all this through a strategy that they have been able to maintain since their early days and adapt along the way. This article explores how NYX as a brand has not lost sight of its origins and has the perfect combination of top-notch products and top-notch marketing.