Morphe makeup, which rode the power of social media stars to rapid growth and a $2 billion valuation, said it’s planning to close all its US stores.
On Thursday, the company listed about twenty locations on its website. Forma Brands, Morphe’s parent, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Morphe also sells through its e-commerce site and Ulta Beauty.
Partnerships with powerhouse internet celebs such as Jeffree Star and James Charles helped revenue top $400 million in 2019, according to a company presentation from December 2021 reviewed by Bloomberg. But Morphe severed ties with them after Star was accused of using racist language in 2020 and allegations of *** misconduct plagued Charles in 2021.
Results at Forma, which generates about 80% of its sales from Morphe, have since suffered. Revenue missed internal planning by about 20% in 2021, according to the document. In the first 10 months of that year, revenue tied to Charles, Star and Jaclyn Hill — another social media star — fell by 66% to $32 million.
The company’s descent from beauty-world darling known for its accessibly priced eye shadow palettes and frenzied store openings once again shows the danger of betting on social media buzz.
“It’s a risky model,” said Kelly Dobos, a cosmetic chemist who works as an industry consultant. Influencers “always become less relevant.”
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