Patrick Starr is the latest YouTube beauty guru to launch a cosmetic brand. True to the roots of its founder, One/Size is dramatic, bold, and gender non-conforming, “I’m a drama queen — in the right way.” Starrs told WWD in an interview from earlier this month. The brand launched online July 17 and will debut in stores on July 30th. The release of the first collection follows 7 years of Starr’s YouTube career and 3 years of his role as a true brand ambassador. Mr. Starr did his first (of many) MAC makeup collabs in 2017 and it’s rumored that sales reached almost $25M. He was also a star of the Spring UOMA Beauty campaign. Along with his 8M+ YouTube and social media subscribers, Starr - whose real name is Patrick Simondac - brings with him an exclusive Sephora partnership, as well as a reported $10M investment and partnership from Luxury Beauty Partners.
Relevance aside, the deal offers a unique perspective of the Beauty industry as a whole. Besides the fact the Sephora - who still hasn’t re-opened all of its stores after their initial COVID-19 shutdown- is carrying the line in all 445 US retail locations as well as their Instagram store and 78 Canadian locations, the brand received a sizeable investment from industry insiders who aren’t blinded by fandom. LBP has launched multiple “social first” beauty brands including, Smith & Cult, Oribe, and more, and their investment in Patrick Starr is said to be 3x as much as their normal limit. This, at a time where retailers are scrambling to find relevancy, revenues are in the toilets and everyone and their mother has launched some form of beauty product. “Another Beauty brand, you damn right,” Starr says but who asked for it? I mean, yes, his fans but also no one else. For all intents and purposes, Patrick Starr’s beauty label is a redundant product in a crowded field launching in a time of historic poverty. So why is everyone from TubeFilter to WWD abuzz with this launch? And what exactly does One/Size have that no one else does? The answer, a wider audience, and a bigger message. Inclusivity.
Starr’s beauty label is the first to actually include non-femme identifying people in its business model. “Beauty boys’ have long been Instagram favorites but they were more of a consolation prize to established beauty brands. A Christmas bonus to off-set the loss of flighty female customers who switch brands like their playing a game of musical chairs. Never has there been a beauty brand that advocated for men, trans-identifying people, and gender non-conforming people to wear make-up in the same ways that women do. Starr is on record saying that One/Size is for “the drag queens, the LGBTQ+, my trans brothers and sisters.” This is not your metro-sexual brother’s “real men wear makeup” model.
The brand launched with a film that showcases Patrick Star’s fanbase saying the phrase “Make-up is a one size fits all.” In his interview with WWD, Starr said “One/Size is diversity, variety, for everyone,” Starrr said. “This is an overweight, bald, Asian American man. But I’ve somehow been able to break through the glass ceiling to be celebrated. It is all-encompassing diversity and I think that is gonna be something special to LBP and Sephora.” Starr says he hopes to “make a shift in beauty” by making diversity in ethnicity and in gender, core tenants of the brand and he’s not alone on this fight. In the same WWD interview, LBP chief executive officer Tevya Finger said he was “moved” by Starrr’s “highly inclusive nature” and his YouTube videos, which Finger called “full-blown productions.”
“When he says being the voice for the people who have no voice, it’s really true,” Finger continued. “Makeup is quite a cluttered field. To me, [Starrr] really is different and unique and special. Normally I’d shy away because there’s too many fish in the pond.”
But no one is shying away from Patrick Starr because he isn’t shying away from the people. Is it political? Sure. Advocacy? Of course. But it’s also just good business. Patrick Starr is the Dolly Parton of the make-up industry and he’s unafraid to embrace it. “My identity as Patrick Starrr is extraordinary performance,” he said to Alexa Tietjen. “It’s a performance art — that’s what I do as a YouTuber. My products [are] fashion meeting function. I dress like this to get noticed, I wear so much makeup to get noticed. What can I do that’s gonna get noticed but perform to the highest level when it comes to consumers and my audience investing their money in me and the brand.” An age-old question answered by a new-age model. By simply naming his vice, attention, and showcasing those who - in many ways - are fine taking their visibility into their own hands, Starr is on his way to changing the game.
Who knows what the industry will look like when non-femme-identifying people and those too young to stand firm in their identity are shown advertisements with this level of inclusivity. Who knows what conversation will stem from mid-Western moms being forced to explain Patrick’s entire being to their kids and they walk past a Sephora in their local mall on their way to Build-A-Bear. One/Size, - like many brands in other industries - is relevant not for what it does, but for who it does it for. And while we wait for the reviews to roll in and shelves to be stocked…. That’s enough.