Sponsored By GRIN
In an industry dominated by “beauty standards” and filtered photos, City Beauty hopes to empower all people to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin.
The Los Angeles-based luxury skincare brand’s passion is unifying beauty and science. Its research-focused skincare solutions are formulated with clean, science-backed ingredients designed to support specific skin goals—from visibly plumper lips to firmer-looking skin, and anything in between. This year, the brand celebrates 20 years of developing results-driven, cruelty-free skincare innovations.
But City Beauty’s mission goes beyond the visible results their products deliver on the outside. The brand’s philosophy is helping connect people with the best version of themselves—so they don’t just look their best, but they also feel their best.
Earlier this year, City Beauty partnered with Dress for Success Worldwide West—a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing women with professional attire and the development tools needed to help them thrive in all areas of life.
The initiative provided 500 "Confidence Kits" to women in the LA area. Dress for Success filled each kit with professional clothing and accessories for women starting new jobs or going through the interview process. City Beauty added a tube of its award-winning City Lips lip gloss and a handwritten note of encouragement from its team.
As a digitally native company, the brand prides itself on its customer-centric approach to developing and marketing products. A key driver of this involves connecting directly with the customer individually. As the brand grew, they turned to influencers to maintain this rapport, providing genuine product endorsements with a human touch.
After rebranding in 2018, City Beauty immediately began recruiting and sending products to social media creators who exemplified the brand's values. Over the next few years, the company built a roster of high-performing content creators, including YouTubers, Instagram influencers, models, even a former Bachelorette contestant. Before long, they had a budding community of "City Beauties" who trusted the brand, loved its products, and supported their mission.
"A lot of [our customers] can be anywhere from 45 [years old] and up, and they want to see the most beautiful version of themselves," said Lily Yang, a City Beauty influencer marketing coordinator. "And the creators we have are all experiencing the same things our customers are."
The team uses influencers to showcase the benefits of its various skincare products. Some of its highest-performing content is photos of creators before trying a product and after 30 days of using a City Beauty regimen. The brand can then use the before-and-after content—and any other high-performing content—to repurpose on its social media channels or as paid ads.
Engagement rate is one of the most critical success metrics for their influencers. The team notes that if audiences regularly engage with a creator and ask questions, they are well on their way down the marketing funnel toward a sale.
"When an influencer posts, we want to see if people are engaging," said Ryan Flores, the brand's Influencer Partnership Specialist. "If they are interested in the product and asking questions, we love to see that."
City Beauty constantly tracks its social growth and ROI from influencer marketing. And so far, its program is flourishing.
"We've been told by a lot of customers that they found us through our influencer marketing efforts, which is really exciting," Ryan said. "And that shows that these creators that we're working with are bringing value to our brand and bringing in customers, which we love."
While City Beauty's main marketing goal is always to drive sales, the brand still takes steps to ensure its influencers feel like more than a mere transaction. They always encourage feedback about which products its influencers did and didn't enjoy. The team also offers commission incentives for its top performers and publishes an influencer newsletter to keep its creators up to date on all the latest.
The results they get from influencer marketing are indisputable. The challenge is keeping everything organized.
City Beauty's influencer marketing team initially managed its entire program from a spreadsheet. But as the program grew to hundreds of creators over various platforms, the two-person team realized it needed a streamlined approach to the overwhelming amount of work it took to manage their program.
The team found its solution with GRIN’s Creator Management platform, which equipped them with everything they needed to find, recruit, and retain high-performing influencers to help grow the brand.
City Beauty leverages the platform's creator search engine of more than 37 million creators and consults audience insight reports, credibility scores, influencer lookalikes, and an "influential customer" feature within GRIN's ecommerce platform integration to help find brand-aligned influencers.
The team can also organize its creators into lists of applicants, prospects, and current partners. They use personalized email templates to communicate with contacts within each group and leverage contract templates to include usage rights for repurposing creator content.
"[GRIN] has definitely helped with scaling our brand and our influencer marketing efforts," Ryan said. "It has really helped us organize and make our influencer program more seamless to work with."
City Beauty counted on GRIN's support team to help them transition from a manual to automated approach to influencer marketing. After a brief onboarding process, the team was off and running with a mastery of new tools at their disposal.
"In regard to showing us how to use GRIN, it was very seamless," Ryan said. "Any questions we had, we hopped on a call with a customer success manager right away. She always let us know about different features we could use and how to leverage them better."
Since teaming up with GRIN just over two years ago, Ryan and Lily have grown City Beauty's Instagram following to 119,000. The team has nurtured a thriving community of high-performing creators, with many generating as much as a 200% ROI for the brand.
City Beauty's creator team of more than 200 dedicated brand champions have produced more than 3,000 pieces of content and accumulated 6.9 million impressions collectively. As a whole, the brand's influencer-generated content has generated over 28,000 link conversions.
GRIN enabled City Beauty to streamline its influencer marketing approach and let its creators work their magic. The creator management platform gave Ryan and Lily their time back so they can focus on what's truly important: scaling the program and building genuine, collaborative relationships with authentic creators and their audiences.