Beauty insiders have known for years that high-end cosmetics are made using the same ingredients, in the same factories, by the same people as those sold for half the price, or even less, in discount retailers. You know what we’re talking about – your favourite lipstick from the local chemist only costs $5, while the branded one that you’re selling in your salon is $35.
This is where Beauty Pie comes in. An online site that’s available in the UK and US (for now) allows consumers to buy cosmetics, like that lipstick, for a fraction of the price – $2.46 to be exact. Beauty Pie’s mission is to bring its members the world’s best beauty products at a transparent factory cost. No mumbo-jumbo, no middlemen and no markups.
In fact at the bottom of each product page there is a table labelled ‘Price Transparency’. It details the money spent on the actual product, packaging, warehousing and safety testing. For example, the company’s Everyday Great Skin Foundation cost breakdown includes $5.15 on ingredients and assembling, $0.22 on storing, and $0.04 on safety testing.
Beauty Pie founder Marcia Kilgore said the concept for the online business was born out of her own work with beauty suppliers.
“I would get to leave with a huge bag of products to test, which was thrilling,” Kilgore told POPSUGAR via email. “I would then stumble into a cosmetics shop in the airport or train station on my way home, and think, ‘Whoa, I am glad I don’t have to pay retail for my cosmetics!’
“There was this idea to make that thrilling ‘kid in a candy store’ feeling available to every woman.”
Beauty Pie operates on a subscription basis. Membership costs $10 a month with a three-month minimum and entitles subscribers to $100 of monthly credit that rolls over if left unused.
According to Kilgore, a membership is similar to “having a backstage pass to shop straight off the manufacturing line from a variety of world-class cosmetic manufacturers”, but she nonetheless stresses that a membership is not required to purchase the products at a moderately higher non-membership price.
Apart from the price difference, another major difference to the product on the site is their lack of packaging.
“In a lot of cases, the packaging costs more than the product, and it isn’t recyclable and it ends up in landfills,” says Kilgore.
“When you first pick up your Beauty Pie products, you will notice how lightweight they feel. That’s on purpose. We haven’t added the usual heavy over-the-top ornate caps or false-bottomed plastic jars,” she told Bustle.
“We have made it part of our mission to always make sure that our packaging is as ecologically conscious as possible and are always working to make changes and advancements as well.”