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Julep - A strong social community

The Vision

A fun and fearless experience

Jane Park started Julep in 2007, a chain of nail salons in Seattle but she began rethinking her model when the great recession hit in 2008 and many of her salon customers vanished. She decided to focus on e-commerce after seeing a strong interest in the brand arise thanks to people following Julep on social media such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Realizing that beauty is a business where women talk to each other about products they try encouraged her to create online forums in order to have a stronger understanding of her customers expectations and requirements. Her vision was about making beauty a fun and fearless experience for all women.
How they're doing it

Monthly Beauty Box Subscribers

The company's first-line “beta testers” are the Julep Mavens. These subscribers pay a minimum of $19.99 a month to receive a custom-selected box of nail colors and other makeup at a discount off retail price (nail polish bottles go for $14 apiece).
The social media chat begins, as buyers comment and submit photos of their products, allowing Julep to see how their products are used and appreciated. This phase allows them to be in line with their customers’ expectations before products are mass-produced.

#Bravepretty

Julep’s wish is to empower women when it comes to makeup. They asked them about their typical makeup routines and challenged them to step outside of their beauty comfort zones by posting on various social networks their own definition of being brave as a woman today.
This initiative was immensely appreciated by Instagram and Facebook users and followed up with the hashtag #bravepretty creating and unifying a community around Julep’s brand.

Customer feedback

After launching the e-commerce site in 2011, Julep expanded its "lab"; to enable fans to try out makeup concepts prior to their release. Julep’s Mavens are several thousands of customers that interact with Julep’s conceptors and actors to give their opinion and precious feedback.
Jane Park sees this as an essential element of the brand’s DNA as the beauty industry is trending towards creating products consumers actually want .
The feedback can be relatively harsh at some times but it saves a lot of time and money: only about a third of the concepts Julep initiates make it to market.
This co-creation is not only about product development but also marketing and brand loyalty. Julep communicates with its Mavens through social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, enabling them to create free exposure of content online and gain access to more fans.
For instance, the company developed a lip mousse and sent off 80,000 prototypes to Mavens, who were asked for their opinions on two types of applicators and four formulas -feedback on colors was solicited via Instagram with the hashtag #julepbeautylab.
The creation
Julep logo
The whole idea of Julep was to create beauty products that give women a voice and help them explore outside their comfort zones.
TWith highly engaged fans swapping nail art designs and doing “nail swatches,” Julep’s social media community has been a strong substitute for brand building via traditional print marketing.
Julep has no limit in the number of product creations each month: they operate with a lot of freedom and have infinite physical shelf space. The brand has released many other products other than nail polish such as mascara, skincare etc. and delivers up to 300 products each year.
 

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