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Courtesy of My Beauty Brand

MyBeautyBrand is the new platform promising to be the influencer antidote

TextDominic Cadogan

Described as ‘Avon for Gen Z’ the newly launching brand is here to shake up the structure of the beauty industry

Andy Warhol wasn’t wrong when he said everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame in the future. The future is here, and the fame? It comes in the form of a beauty/skincare/wellness line. 

Earlier in the year, we investigated celebrity make-up lines being the new celebrity fragrances, and since, have seen (or heard about) beauty releases from Milly Bobby Brown, Dolly Parton, Ariana Grande, drag superstar Aquaria, and even internet granny Baddiewinkle. That’s without even going into the collections released by YouTubers and influencers like Jackie Aina, James Charles, and Jaclyn Hill. 

The age of the influencer is over though, says Robin Derrick, creative director and co-founder (along with Max Leykind) of new line MyBeautyBrand. With years of experience working in media for Vogue, The Face, and Arena, as well as a number of luxury fashion brands, Robin realised he was bored of the model of influencers being used as a tool for selling product. “The world dearly loves a cage and being told what to do,” he explains. “Self-expression and freedom through communication and social media has quickly become top-down, whether that’s brands or influencers paid by brands. It’s lost its way.” 

His solution? MyBeautyBrand – a new platform that leaves self-expression up to its customers. Anybody, and that means anybody, can set-up a store and post pictures of themselves in looks using MBB and products they already know and love. Anyone visiting your page can view products used, and if they buy, you can earn yourself commission. Simple as that. 

Launching first with a range of classic eye paints, lipsticks, and nail varnishes – the ‘By Me’ range – Robin is also working with beauty legends like nail artist Marian Newman, who has created her first range of colourful nail polishes for the Artist’s collection. With self-expression at the crux of MyBeautyBrand, Robin’s plan is to continue empowering young creatives to put the industry back on track to where it was always meant to go. “Self-expression will outrun the influencers in my opinion,” he muses. “The cat’s out of the bag and we’ve been given a tool now to speak to the world.” 

Here, we speak to Robin about what to expect from the launch of MBB and how he plans to bring genuine self-expression back to the industry. 

How did the idea for MyBeautyBrand first come about? 

Robin Derrick: The reason I’m starting this idea in beauty is because I found this incredible community that is alive, connected, and vocal. It’s definitely a reaction to influencers; I was working for a brand that did a campaign for a product launch and the slogan was: ‘Own it, share it, wear it,’ but really what they meant was ‘buy it’. 

People forget that the original blogger culture existed to call journalists out. It was the voice of the people and very much against journalists regurgitating press releases. It was very anti-journalism. It was the voice of authenticity, just a girl in her bedroom who was a part-time writer, or wanted to be one. Now, it’s the antithesis. And there’s definitely room to do something more authentic again. 

From the initial idea, how did you start developing the brand? 

Robin Derrick: I wanted to do something where people had a stake in the brand. The reason why it’s called MyBeautyBrand is that I’m putting shares of the company in the hands of the consumers. I will still run it as a business, but why shouldn’t my customers own part of what I’m doing? Then they might actually give a damn about it. Why would you give a damn about something that’s owned by a big global multi-billionaire? 

That was the original idea, but it was the hardest part to execute. Putting shares in the hands of consumers is very regulated and controlled for good consumer protection reasons. It was very hard to legally do that, but we found a way and we’re enabling our customers to own part of the company. The next step from that was to give them their own stores with a very transparent commission model. 

How does the commission work? 

Robin Derrick: Each month, up to £1000 earns you a 10 per cent commission, between £1000 and £2000 is 15 per cent, and over £2000 is 20 per cent – that resets each month. If anyone makes over £3000 in any quarter, they will become part of the scheme to get shares in the company – it’s a very simple idea, but I wanted to do things differently. 

Why was that important to you? 

Robin Derrick: I often think: ‘Why isn’t everybody their own beauty brand?’ Everybody is a tool for self-expression. Everyone can have a MyBeautyBrand store and everybody can own a part of the company. For me, I think we should own the companies that make things that matter to us. We can be part of the discussion and that’s the way it should go.

“I often think: ‘Why isn’t everybody their own beauty brand?’ Everybody is a tool for self-expression. Everyone can have a My Beauty Brand store and everybody can own a part of the company. For me, I think we should own the companies that make things that matter to us” – Robin Derrick, founder, MyBeautyBrand 

Can you tell us a bit more about the products you’re launching with? 

Robin Derrick: The brand is owned by its consumers so that makes them the protagonists of the brand and I want the products to be used as a tool for self-expression. There’s a range of eye paints and they’re very pigmented and long-lasting. That means I’m never going to sell looks, I won’t do ‘sexy’ or ‘girly’, they’re however you want to use them. 

The packaging is very neutral because they’re meant to look like a blank canvas. The brief for my product guy was to make them the best quality on the market because people are going to come to my platform, open their own stores, and then sell to their families and friends. It’s a peer-to-peer platform and very transparent. If the product is bad, you’re going to moan to your friend and it’ll put me out of business in two minutes. 

Why do you think we see such a focus on community in the beauty industry in particular? 

Robin Derrick: It’s extraordinary. There’s a community for every subculture online. A friend of mine opened an undertaking business and there’s a community of morticians on Instagram – who knew? I’ve lived and watched the rise of the beauty community and I don’t know why it’s so vocal. 

In my mind, there’s this dichotomy between two visions of the world. One is the Warhol vision where everyone has their 15 minutes of fame and the other is Orwellian. Who knew we would be paying for the cameras ourselves and not worry if anyone was watching? That’s the yin and yang of social media and somehow images of beauty have come to the forefront. One could argue the main social discourse now is about identity. Am I LGBTQ+? Am I black? Am I a Muslim woman? All of these communities have their own identities. We’ve become obsessed with ourselves at the moment and you can argue cosmetics plays a part in that. I believe in expressing yourself through who you are. 

As well as the wider beauty community, you’re also working with beauty legends like nail artist Marian Newman. Can you tell us about that? 

Robin Derrick: The idea is that I’m basically launching two things – MyBeautyBrand is the peer-to-peer platform on which you can create your own store and buy and sell cosmetics. The range of our own cosmetics is called ‘By Me’, that’s the brand of the products we sell and these are the tools for self-expression. 

I’m also using the platform for creative and interesting people to launch their own products. Marian is a nail artist I’ve known forever, I gave her her first break, according to her, doing a Kate Moss cover with Nick Knight. She’d never done a colour range and I thought why not do a range of Marian. The idea is to continually collab with make-up artists and nail artists, as well as collaborating with some brands in the future and also collaborating with people like Dazed.

Can you tell us a little more about that collaboration? 

Robin Derrick: The idea that there would be a MyBeautyBrand x Dazed Beauty store which is going to be run by you. Anyone who tags Dazed Beauty in their look, it will appear on the store – so, it becomes a curated store, with a curated series of looks from members from your community. 

How do you hope to continue growing? What kind of impact do you hope that My Beauty Brand has and how do you want to continue that?

Robin Derrick: It’s a UK launch and it’s difficult to do tech launches. I want to stay in the UK for six months and get everything right and listen to my community. There are many struggles around sustainability and packaging and things and as the community gets more involved I want to give them more of a voice in the brand. So, growing the community and building on it and then taking it to Europe and other territories is in question. This model of us owning the brands that we care about and having a voice in the product, having a stake in the company and having your own store is something I want to roll into other areas, not just beauty. 

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