Petite ‘n Pretty Taps Social Media Influencers to Sell Makeup to Kids

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Petite 'n Pretty

Influencers are getting younger by the minute, and marketers and brands are riding the social media tsunami of wildly popular image-based sites like Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram all the way to the bank.

Petite ‘n Pretty is a new Instagram-launched makeup brand for the Gen Z crowd, ages 4 to 18.

Its website is a canvas of pastel pinks, purples and blue, with sparkly graphics—similar to many beauty e-commerce sites—but this one has models from elementary and middle schools.

The brand calls its cohort “young creatives,” mostly kids with blogs, YouTube channels and a large number of Instagram followers.

“There’s this whole community of mini MUAs [makeup artists] on Instagram and we send a lot of them product,” said Petite ‘n Pretty founder Samantha Cutler. “There’s some really talented artists that are, like, 12 and they do all their own editing, all their own filming and they live in Alabama, Kentucky, the most rural, random places.”

Top influencers for the brand include Sophie Michelle (448,000 YouTube subscribers; 180,000 Instagram followers), Piper Rockelle (692,000 YouTube subscribers; 716,000 Instagram followers) and Jessalyn Grace (869,000 YouTube subscribers; 58,000 Instagram followers).

The tagline for the Petite ‘n Pretty spot is “sparkle outside the lines” and its mission statement is empowering kids with “top-shelf, age-appropriate, and pediatrician-approved products made for small features, big imaginations.”

It’s an ecosystem unto itself. When 11-year-old YouTuber Jessalyn Grace posted a video about Petite ‘n Pretty, the video racked up 1.5 million views in four weeks and now exceeds 2 million views:

 

Petite ‘n Pretty’s products are cruelty-free, nut-free, paraben-free and phthalate-free, and the most expensive item is, fittingly, an influencer gift box set for $250.

Petite ‘n Pretty has amassed more than 30,000 Instagram followers since its July launch, targeting what Cutler identified as a community of mini MUAs and their parents.

“We are for the in-the-know mom that shops at Sephora or Ulta,” notes Cutler. “She’s on social media. She wants her child to have the best food and cool clothes.”

From an economic standpoint, it’s a smart, two-pronged play—appealing to moms and their progeny.

But from any other standpoint, it’s complicated. Some question whether four-year-old children should even be using beauty products. Others feel it’s fine but question the brand’s messaging.

“My conflicted feelings have less to do with whether kids should be allowed to wear makeup (I never agreed with or really understood the reasoning behind why I wasn’t when I was younger) or the kind of makeup they should be allowed to wear, but with the messaging and imagery,” says Sable Young, Digital Beauty Editor, Allure. “The brand may aim to ‘redefine pretty,’ but pretty is possibly too loaded a term to disseminate simply by selling midrange-priced glitter lip gloss.”

The brand sells direct-to-consumer through its web site and is experimenting with pop-ups. Cutler also plans to sell products through traditional beauty specialty retailers rather than children’s stores.

Because four-year-olds need inspiration, too, Cutler said, “Whether you’re just getting into beauty at four years old in an experiential way or you’re starting to wear makeup, which a lot of these tween girls and boys are interested in, we’re trying to get our brand into their hands to be their best first experience in beauty.”

Petite 'n Pretty

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