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When Deepica Mutyala first went viral in 2015, she was a senior manager of brand development at Birchbox. In a YouTube video, Mutyala demonstrated how to use red lipstick to conceal dark undereye circles on her South Asian skin. Fast forward six years and Mutyala has 352,000 followers on Instagram, 290,000 on YouTube, and a successful beauty brand, Live Tinted, which launches on QVC Friday. The brand debuted in 2019, with its hero product the Huestick, which was created to make that color correcting technique Mutyala was known for, accessible to anyone of any skill level or skin color. It eventually caught QVC’s attention and is one-half of the debut set for sale on the platform. The set also includes Live Tinted’s Hueglow, and will sell for $34.
“At QVC, we specialize in discovering unique, differentiated and exclusive beauty products. It’s important to us that the brand can bring the products to life with a powerful storyteller across all of our platforms. Frequently, that’s the founder of the brand and we look for founders who are authentic, passionate and who will inspire our customers,” said Bridget Love, vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty for QVC and HSN. “We love Deepica’s perspective on providing clean, multi-tasking beauty and skincare products to women of all skin tones. As an influencer brand, we think Deepica will be a natural fit for our livestream video shopping experience.”
Being an “influencer brand” is something Mutyala took getting used to but has come to embrace, with help from Jessica Alba, of all people. “I used to have a complex about it because I’m like, ‘I’m a CEO. I’m a founder. I fell into being an influencer!’ But when you really think about it, it’s something that I should only be really proud of,” Mutyala said. “Actually, Jessica Alba gave me this advice. She said: “Why do you keep saying it like that? That’s like me saying ‘I’m not an actress.’ How do you think I even got to do Honest Beauty without being an actress first?” The message stuck with her.
QVC and HSN have previously featured other influencer-launched brands, such as Lawless Beauty and Megababe, as well as beauty companies with a more diverse customer base, including Mented.
Live Tinted has slowly expanded beyond its Huestick. It just launched a mineral sunscreen, Hueguard this month and now has five products in its assortment. It is also ready to launch in retail (Mutyala said the brand will have more to announce in the coming months). Meanwhile, launching with QVC provides the brand the opportunity to expand beyond Mutyala’s own following, though, she said, launching DTC was an intentional decision that allowed her to prioritize her fans, which is strongly comprised of “South Asian, brown and diverse women.” She knows they will “completely geek out” when they see the brand launch on QVC.
Mutyala is not worried about the brand resonating beyond that audience, however. “My hack, when I did it, it was for a very specific concern that I thought was for people of color. What I’ve learned through launching this product and our data is that everyone experiences dark circles. It’s not just people of color, though I think we feel it deeper. But that doesn’t change the reality that everyone does experience [dark circles] and that’s why we created a range of color correctors that work for the lightest to the deepest level of discoloration.” On QVC, the model will be an early-40s Caucasian woman, which Mutyala called “a very exciting test for us.”
“I feel really proud that we started direct to consumer, but at this point we need to grow as a business. Because we are a problem/solution-oriented beauty brand that’s creating solutions, we need to go where those solutions can serve people. Dark circles are universal.”