Influencer brands may be common now, but that wasn’t the case half a decade ago. One of the original Instagram influencers, Marianna Hewitt, launched Summer Fridays with her co-founder Lauren Ireland in 2018. As the first influencer brand at Sephora, Summer Fridays quickly became a top seller with its cult Jet Lag Mask. Funded by Prelude Growth Partners, the brand now has a full lineup of skin-care and makeup products.
On this week’s Glossy Beauty Podcast episode, Hewitt joined to talk about her career and the power of Instagram, which she discovered after starting her influencer career on YouTube. She also shared strategies for going viral on social media with collabs like her Erewhon smoothie, as well as her thoughts on the most effective social platforms and formats for driving sales. While she may have gotten in on Instagram in its photo days, she discussed why the video format is the most effective sales driver on both Instagram and TikTok.
On video as a top social format:
“For beauty, video is really what I prioritize personally and what we prioritize as a brand. Even if it’s not an application, if it’s a swatch of a product, people really like to see the texture of what things look like. That’s really important. Photo, of course, is still something you need, whether it’s for ads or billboards, or for other touchpoints, or for retail if you need it on an endcap or a gondola or on a key page on a website. Photos are still there. But I think video is really what gets people to convert.
In beauty, video really is the best. … You can just say and show so much more. With fashion, maybe photos are still working really well. Video has been so incredible. … it’s really going back to the very early days of YouTubers and beauty creators.”
How the Erewhon smoothie craze kicked off
“I was like, ‘OK, if I’m going to do a smoothie, I want it to be something that alludes to Summer Fridays. So I wanted to do something blue. And being somebody who thinks social, digital-first, I was like, ‘It has to be beautiful. It has to be something that people want to share. Is there something pretty about the smoothie?’ So I came up with this flavor profile that I really liked. I had an idea of how I wanted it to look inside the cup. And so I went back and forth with them. I was working with them. We were creating the smoothie together, and it became the Coconut Cloud Smoothie. I wasn’t really thinking much of it at the time; I was just excited to do it. I thought it was going to be something very local, very specific here. And it just started going viral on TikTok. And it felt like every time I opened TikTok, people were talking about this smoothie. And then I would go in and I would see lines of people all lined up waiting for this blue smoothie. And then it just kind of took on this life of its own.”
The potential for no-makeup makeup
“I think it’s a really big opportunity for us. And I think it’s a way that Summer Fridays does makeup. So it should be really effortless, easy, intuitive, very easy to apply. You still can have your favorite foundations that you use maybe for a night out or if you want something with more coverage, but everything sort of has this Summer Fridays ethos and feeling to it. And so it’s something that I would love to explore more of. And I think, with the success of our sheer Skin Tint, we can assume that our customer wants more no-makeup makeup products from us.”