Indie Beauty Brand Takes Off On TikTok Shop


This article is part of a series profiling original product ventures by Creators. Watch out Mr. Beast, Logan Paul/KSI and Mindy McKnight, they’re coming for you!

Creator Sarah Cheung, better known as Sacheu, has always turned to social media for the latest beauty trends and recommendations. Now, her skincare and cosmetics brand Sacheu Beauty allows her to turn these trends into profit.

In June 2022, Sarah posted a TikTok using a Maybelline brow tint as a long-lasting stain on her lips. Within days of the video going viral Sarah and her Sacheu Beauty team got to work developing an original lip stain product. After more than six months of testing three shades of the innovative product, the YouTube beauty guru turned brand founder was ready to debut Lip Liner Stay-N. It’s now their top seller.

Despite her YouTube roots, Sarah can’t help but admit she’s seen beauty trends and product reviews move onto TikTok over the past year. She now spends more time and resources producing for TikTok than YouTube (although the OG video platform will always play an important part of her overall business).

“TikTok has become our biggest priority,” confirms Sarah Cheung (aka Sacheu), age 27. “It allows us to sell direct and to promote the other places the product is available. It’s where all the beauty creators and viewers are right now.” Sarah said she keeps an eye on fellow beauty brands who have found success on the platform including INH Hair, Jeffree Star Cosmetics and KimChi Chic Beauty.

Sacheu Beauty first launched in 2020 with a stainless steel gua sha and facial roller inspired by Sarah’s Chinese heritage. After finding success selling direct to consumers on Instagram, the brand eventually made its way onto Amazon
and into Ulta stores nationwide. The brand now boasts 15 SKUs with more on the way.

“Our niche focus with Sacheu Beauty has become ‘enhancement and contouring’ products,” says Quinn Roukema, founder of Gloss Ventures, the operating partner behind Sacheu Beauty. “We plan to add new items after the Chinese New Year.” The Chinese New Year is an annual blackout window for brands producing and shipping product from China.

In the past three months TikTok Shop brought in more revenue for the indie brand than its other distributors combined. Sacheu Beauty originally joined the ecommerce side of TikTok through a third-party. However, in June of this year the platform became more accessible to brands of all sizes so Sacheu setup Shop directly and now corresponds frequently with a dedicated TikTok account executive. The platform point person offers tips for livestreams like repeating yourself every 10-20 seconds as newcomers scroll to the stream and adding co-hosts to allow for back-and-forth. The optimal livestream runtime they recommend is 1-2 hours.

TikTok Shop also allows other creators on the platform to promote your product and earn. The brand sets their affiliate offering of 1-80% per item. For Sacheu Beauty, almost 95% of the TikTok Shop sales have come from affiliate links used by other creators on the platform says Roukema. The brand continues to increase their sales efforts with original short-form video and livestreams.

Success on TikTok Shop has led to several organic sellouts (unlike many brands who may exaggerate sellout to promote urgency). Luckily, the brand has figured out how to expedite new inventory with their factory partners and can usually have new product air shipped in within 4-5 weeks.

Both Sarah and the Sacheu Beauty brand account have big plans for Black Friday and the impending holiday season. TikTok, for its part, has been offering notable promotions and incentives for Creators and brands to participate in Shop sales. The platform is rumored to be waiving fees or covering Seller costs to discount goods during the overhyped Black Friday weekend.

“TikTok Shop is a great accelerator for smaller, independent brands. Not only does it give them an opportunity to thoughtfully define their voice, but also allows them to reach a wider audience than they otherwise would,” says Lori Arias of Select Management Group who manages Sarah and helps run the brand.

One of the platform’s key differentiators is its ranking of competition. Shop sellers and creators can see which brands and products are doing best. Sellers can also compare their content output to other brands. In Sacheu Beauty’s case, they track a more established corporate beauty brand who boasts over 800 livestreams this year versus Sacheu’s eighteen to date. These TikTok analytics encourage creators to jump on trending products and for sellers to step up their content efforts.

One issue TikTok has not yet solved for is copycat brands. Small, independent brands don’t have the man power or resources to police accounts stealing their name, image and likeness. While the TikTok Shop team is quick to acknowledge these counterfeit accounts, they do not yet have a technical way to flag or take them down quickly – which can lead to a noticeable dip in sales for the real brand. A spokesperson for TikTok says this is a known issue they’re working to address and the Shop features are still in test phase here in the U.S.

For Sacheu Beauty, the explosion of sales from TikTok Shop will help close out their best year yet and allow Sarah and the team to expand product development as well as add additional team members to support with marketing. With the unpredicted, increased demand from TikTok Shop, the team will need these additional resources to ramp up product and content supply.


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