Turning lemons into lemonade was never a part of Veil Cosmetics’ business plan. But when the brand’s social account was hacked earlier this month, co-founder Sebastien Tardif was dead set on using the unfortunate occurrence as a learning lesson for other brands in a similar position. “If I can help any one of my peers in the process, then it would not all have been in vain,” he shares. His approach highlights both the randomness of the assault on brand building and the deeply rooted community he’s found in other beauty founders. “I will for sure remember who had my back and tried to lift me up when I was down,” he promises.
Veil Cosmetics was founded in 2012, as a pushback to caky, heavy makeup that seemed to dominate the highly contoured and mattified face du jour. A fleet of “weightless, breathable complexion products'” was introduced in the signature style of Sebastien Tardif, co-founder of the brand and celebrated makeup artist. “I saw an opportunity within the no-makeup makeup category and with improving makeup textures, hence my brand name and the Weightless Beauty tagline,” he explains. While commonplace a decade later, his intention to “reveal gorgeous skin instead of masking it with skincare-infused and good-for-you, quality sourced ingredients,” was radical. Bestsellers like Complexion Fix Concealer, Sunset Skin Foundation, and AutoMatte Mattifying Balm revolutionized what it meant to wear your skin, instead of covering it up.
With 50K Instagram followers and a dedicated following, an unexpected hack, which left the brand’s account disabled, set Sebastien and his team back to 0. One day, Sebastien could no longer log into the account he’d been running for years. Before he knew what was happening, his original account was wiped to zero followers and all of the content was lost. He tried to follow Meta’s automated processes to restore the brand’s account, watched countless YouTube tutorials on how to recover, and even met with hackers. Nothing worked. The hack’s impact on ad spending has directly affected the brand’s sales via advertising on Facebook and Instagram over the past fews weeks. Initially, Sebastien was confused as to why Veil Cosmetics, out of all the personal and business accounts out there, was chosen. And then, he felt frustration toward the lack of support from the social media platforms where the hacking occured. “There has been absolutely no direct support or accountability from FB/Meta although we have spent thousands of dollars over the years,” he explains.
It’s too early to paint a rosy picture of the hack’s impact on Veil. Instead, Sebastien has taken control over the brand’s social presence, feeling more responsibility than ever. Chronicling the comeback since the hack, the co-founder hopes to offer solidarity to others in his position. “The hack has only made me feel even more personally responsible for the voice of my brand. I am more linked to the product in the face of our clients now,” he shares. Recent makeup tutorials on Veil Cosmetics’ Instagram feature Sebastien applying products like Automatte Mattifying Balm to his own face, talking through the product’s features. “I will not let a hacker get in the way of my success, that is for sure,” shares Sebastien. Despite double authentication, he’s hard at work creating content to fight for Veil’s place in the overpopulated algorithm. Sebastien’s advice to other brandbuilders is as follows: back up your data and build your own email list. And if worst comes to worst, be prepared to get creative.
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