This is the sixth installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Takeoff Beauty cohort. Participating companies are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Takeoff Program Management team.
Meet M2Ü NYC.
TT: Amy, what’s the one-liner description of M2Ü NYC?
AG: M2U NYC is a certified vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand offering high quality, stylish makeup at mind-blowing prices.
TT: What inspired you to start M2Ü NYC? What makes what you are doing different from anyone else in the marketplace?
AG: Spending about a decade working for some of the biggest luxury beauty brands in the world really gave me a unique insight on everything that goes into a brand. Something that did not sit well with me was seeing how much money would go into stuff like high-end photoshoots and celebrity marketing deals, when I knew in my gut that consumers do not care about those things anymore. The sad thing is those costs are embedded in the price, so consumers are still paying for them. Something like a $42 lipstick, which is 2000% markup of what it actually costs to make. Our lipsticks are the same high quality but priced at $6, because we eliminate all the expensive add-ons not relevant to consumers nowadays. I don’t want people to ever have to wince when they pay for their makeup, skip out on trends because they can barely cover the cost of the basics, or sacrifice the quality of their makeup.
I wanted to give makeup lovers a different choice, to experiment different looks with high quality affordable makeup. Makeup is a creative outlet and a way to express one’s awesome individuality. It should not be an unaffordable luxury. I want people to enjoy buying quality makeup and have fun with it, and not to stress or feel guilt over insane prices. On top of that, we developed this brand with gen Z in mind because they not only value transparency but demand it. We surveyed 400 gen Z consumers before we started this brand and learned they’re drawn to openness, affordability and design. And that is essentially who we are.
TT: How did you decide it was the right time to join an Accelerator? What are you most looking forward to getting out of the Target Takeoff experience?
AG: There are two main reasons I wanted to join the accelerator program. First, I really like the mentorship aspect of the program. To be able to learn from the subject experts and get feedbacks on what we are doing is priceless. The second reason is to help us scale into physical retail stores that share our values – like Target. Although we launched in 2020 as a D2C brand (so we can learn as much from our community as possible), our goal is always to sell at physical stores, so we can be accessible for everyone. Currently our shipping cost is our biggest friction point of customer journey – we charge $5 shipping fees for orders under $30. If we have presence in physical retail stores, we can eliminate this obstacle, so more people can enjoy our products and benefit from them.
TT: What currently keeps you up at night, as a founder/leader of M2Ü NYC?
AG: Covid-19 definitely caused many sleepless nights for me, because it changed a lot of plans we originally set out to do (did I mention we launched on 3/1/2020? Just a few days before the whole world shut down!) But slowly I’ve learned to cope with the stress, and even to enjoy the (bumpy) ride. I learned that nothing is certain and the best way to overcome stress is to take control and act decisively.
TT: How do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of growing a business?
AG: I’m a realist and very practical, so I always know a business will face both its ups and downs. As a practical person, I probably already thought of a thousand ways a business can go wrong. Luckily, my husband is super positive and supportive. He always sees the brighter sides and calms me down when I start to worry too much. I think my desire to be successful also plays a big role in keeping me going. I want to share M2U with those who want and need an affordable, high quality makeup option and make it fun and easy for them. For me, every downturn is a learning experience and an opportunity to turn things around.
TT: Fast forward 1 year from now: where do you see M2Ü NYC and your team?
AG: This will be our second year in business, and we will continue to build our brand awareness. We hope to increase our presence in both online and offline and expand our product lines especially in complexion products. We’ve just established one-on-one customer feedback calls with our VIP customers in Jan 2021, to learn about their makeup journeys and to get firsthand feedbacks about our brand. We will continue to do so and further expand this program. And we will finally be able to roll out our campus ambassador programs in Fall 2021, after a year’s delay due to Covid-19. I’m also hoping to grow our team further with people who believe in M2U just as much as I do.
For more information about M2Ü NYC, visit m2unyc.com