In the Target aisle, where products like men’s razors and shaving creams are found, shoppers can now find an assortment of concealers, available in four different concealer shades from cosmetics startup Stryx.
Stryx, a makeup brand meant for men, has positioned itself in the shaving section of Target and CVS in an effort to make its products more accessible to male consumers. Online, the brand uses its TikTok page to answer questions and interact with its more than 193,000 followers. Its other products include tinted moisturizers, tanning gels, and anti-shine powders.
As a cosmetics brand targeting a niche market, Stryx uses its online platform and merchandise positioning to encourage more men to try its products. When Stryx was launched about three years ago, 70% of its buyers had never purchased cosmetics before. But thanks to its strategy, the company recorded a 250% increase in sales in 2021.
“All the customers we interviewed said the reason they didn’t buy a concealer is that they are intimidated by the cosmetics department,” said Jon Shanahan, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Stryx. “So taking these products out and putting them alongside other men’s essentials is what makes these products more accessible to guys.”
Stryx products are currently available in 2,000 CVS stores, 650 Target locations, Nordstrom Men’s Store in New York, on its website and in select other stores. Stryx will expand its retail presence to 900 Target locations by the end of the year.
According to the company, most of Stryx’s clients are men between the ages of 25 and 45 whose jobs often require confrontation with people, such as real estate agents, models and actors. Stryx also said that its discreet black and white packaging allows men to carry its products without worrying about the stigma around the makeup.
The company has also cultivated a strong social media presence, which is the source of at least two-thirds of its sales; TikTok represents one of its main channels of communication with customers. Shanahan himself will directly answer questions from the comment section. In a video that garnered over 18.2 million views, for example, Shanahan responded to a commentator who asked what “tinted” meant in Stryx’s tinted moisturizer.
“What we are trying to communicate is that these are care essentials that you can use in conjunction with your other products,” said Shanahan. “They happen to be a cosmetic product.”
Several direct-to-consumer brands are trying to bridge the gap in the male grooming industry and have found various ways to attract customers. For example, the skin care brand Lumin has released step by step tutorial on YouTube, showing customers how to use its products. Dollar Shave Club and Dr. Squatch, on the other hand, have long used viral commercials to create buzz.
Appetite for men’s skin care products is estimated to reach $ 16.3 billion by 2026, according to a recent study by Global Industry Analysts. In the men’s cosmetics category in particular, an increasing number of brands have emerged. War Paint, for example, sells products like liquid concealers, foundations and primers, while Tom Ford also offers products like tanning gels and concealers for men.
Large retailers are also increasing their assortment of men’s skin care brands. Just recently, Lumin hit the Target and Walmart stores. Dr. Squatch products are also available in Walmart stores starting in November.
For smaller, niche startups, building a connection with consumers is critical early on, said Lanny Geffen, director of customer experience at Fuse Create. Online channels like TikTok and other social media platforms are cheaper and more effective in reaching specific audiences than traditional mediums like TV commercials, he said.
“You have to break through and find your audience, and that can definitely be challenging,” said Geffen. “You really have to know your audience, know where they are, know who they are and know how they speak.”
There are growth opportunities in niche categories such as men’s beauty due to less competition, Geffen added. “This can give you a solid foothold, which can be an advantage and difficult to replace later on by competitors,” she said. “Sometimes it’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond.”
Shanahan said that aside from the cleansing gel, Stryx is the first brand to offer certain men’s cosmetic products at Target. He said the company’s goal has always been to offer more products, adding that beard and hair care space is a category he’s interested in exploring. “If we had all of this [venture capital] dollars, we would fall into a lot of different categories. ”
Despite the company’s rapid growth, Shanahan admits that Stryx may never catch the attention of hyper-masculine guys. He said society opts for more inclusive messages, while also making sure not to reinforce gender stereotypes.
“If we were a little more in the face or if we were a little more hyper-masculine, it might be easier to get the attention of the guys, but that never spoke to us from a product point of view or a point of view. brand, “he said. “We want to feel like we have a direct connection in a way instead of trying to be too funny.”