Less than two years after its entry into the direct selling space, TYRA Beauty is ceasing all direct sales operations. The cosmetics company founded by supermodel Tyra Banks announced on May 26 that as of July 1, it will exclusively sell its products through direct-to-consumer e-commerce and other retail channels.
The decision comes as a bit of a shock to industry watchers. Banks had been a vocal champion of the channel and had brought her personal story to the forefront when she opened the doors of TYRA Beauty in September 2015. Her decision to venture into direct selling was due to her longtime mentor’s insistence on her giving women a platform to become the CEO of their own lives. Banks’ platform of developing, nurturing and protecting the self-confidence of women, driven by what she had witnessed her mother go through after a divorce, was a perfect fit for direct selling.
TYRA Beauty held a soft launch in March 2015 with 200 hand-picked independent “Beautytainers,” who were largely responsible for starting the company’s initial momentum. When company officially opened its door six months later, more than 7,000 women who had been waitlisted before the launch joined.
Banks said at the time, “TYRA Beauty has this wonderful world of direct selling, which has such a rich history. But what I’ve been laser-focused on is bringing it to a different generation and creating a snap and a sass and a sizzle. We want marketing, a voice, a message that speaks to the woman who wants to step out of her day-to-day, who wants freedom to express herself, to walk that hallway like a runway, to be her fiercest self.”
According to the May 26 announcement, while the direct sales channel grew from a few hundred hand-selected Beautytainers during its initial Beta period in the spring of 2015 to several thousand by 2017, doubling revenue each year, the decision to close the channel was due to certain challenges typically associated with direct selling and multi-level businesses.
“The success and positive momentum in the direct sales channel has been astonishing,” the announcement read. “That success has come at a price and over the last year it has become increasingly clear that there are challenges with the direct sales channel that are simply not compatible with the mission and ultimately the business.”
Starting July 1, TYRA Beauty will sell its cosmetic and skincare products through its e-commerce operations and other retail channels.