Melissa Juried Kriebel
- Influencer brands Item Beauty and Selfless by Hyram are being pulled from Sephora.
- Addison Rae launched Item Beauty in 2020, while Hyram Yarbro launched Selfless in 2021.
- Influencer-founded beauty brands have seen mixed results over the years, industry sources told Insider.
It looks like the beauty products of two popular influencers — Addison Rae and Hyram Yarbro — might no longer be available in the malls of America.
Insider has confirmed from a well-connected industry source that Sephora will be pulling Addison Rae’s Item Beauty and Hyram Yarbro’s Selfless by Hyram from its shelves. While Item products are still available to purchase on the beauty giant’s site, products from Selfless are nowhere to be found.
Representatives for Rae and Yarbro did not respond to requests for comment from Insider prior to publication. Sephora also did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Item Beauty was launched in August 2020 by Rae, who shot to internet fame by replicating viral dances on TikTok. Her brand positions itself as a “clean, science-backed” line, free of the chemicals found in traditional cosmetics.
While Item originally launched as a direct-to-consumer brand — selling to customers through an online storefront — it entered into an exclusive partnership with Sephora in August 2021.
Beauty vlogger Yarbro — whose didactic videos about skincare have earned him millions of followers on YouTube and TikTok — launched his skincare line Selfless by Hyram directly in Sephora in June 2021.
Selfless bills itself as gentler than other skincare lines on the market, with products featuring lower concentrations of chemicals like retinol and salicylic acid than competitors.
Rae and Yarbro’s fame suggested that their brands were poised to succeed among their target customers — the millions of fans who followed them on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. However, a well-connected source in the beauty industry said Sephora customers didn’t connect with either brand, according to correspondences seen by Insider.
“It’s kind of a fallen star,” said Shannon Coyne, a cofounder of Asbury and Coyne Advisors, noting that the brand’s growth had slowed significantly in recent months.
‘You lose TikTok and Instagram, and you are out of business’
It’s not that shocking to beauty insiders that companies like Item and Selfless are struggling. Over the last three years, Insider found that as many as 25 celebrities and influencers have launched beauty or skincare brands, and only the best of those have been able to rise to the top.
The news about Item and Selfless comes just a week after Morphe Cosmetics, a beauty chain known for its influencer collaborations, announced it would be closing all of its US stores.
“Celebrities bank on their name, but there has to be more than just a name because they fall in and out of favor,” Coyne said.
For weeks, products from Item had been heavily reduced at Sephora, signaling that the beauty chain possibly wanted to rid itself of the inventory.
Added to that, Rae herself has been relatively mum about the brand on social media. The last time she posted about the brand on her personal Instagram feed was September 29, 2022.
“Sephora is a retailer, not a manufacturer,” Jeffrey Ten, a beauty industry veteran and president of Global Indie Brand Development, told Insider. “They sell you space. They don’t build your brand. You are in charge of building your brand.”
Both brands have seen their social media followings drop too. Item went from 355,000 Instagram followers in November 2021 to 334,000 currently, per Social Blade data. And Selfless went from having 196,000 Instagram followers in November 2021 to 170,000 today, per Social Blade.
“You lose TikTok and Instagram, and you are out of business,” Ten said.
TikTok stars like Rae have had a hard time forming lasting bonds with their fans. While it’s a good platform for discovery, there is limited ability to sell products on the app, agents and creators told Insider.
There are bright spots among celebrity-backed brands, like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty
That isn’t to say that all celebrity-founded beauty brands have fared poorly.
Dae Hair, founded by Instagram influencer Amber Fillerup Clark, has been touted by investors and analysts as an example of a brand that has resonated well with customers.
In December, the brand announced an $8 million Series A deal, led by Verity Venture Partners — a rare bright spot at a time when many investors have pulled back from new deals in the consumer space.
Likewise, singer Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty has been also cited by several industry sources as another shining example of celebrity-backed beauty success.
The brand launched in Sephora in September 2020 and has seen steady growth. Site traffic to Rare Beauty’s website grew over 70% between November 2021 and November 2022, according to data that analytics platform Similarweb provided to Insider. One industry expert posited that the brand was likely doing well at Sephora too.
Whether a beauty brand stands the test of time ultimately seems to rest on how much personal capital a celebrity or influencer is willing to invest into it.
“Celebrities and influencers with their respective embedded communities can be wonderful brand amplifiers and early adopters; however, simply being a talent-led brand today is not enough,” one investor who focuses on beauty startups told Insider.
“Consumers are incredibly savvy and informed and the market is highly competitive; to truly resonate with the consumer, it is imperative that brands are able to stand on their own in terms of product quality, efficacy, value, and brand positioning,” they added.