Youthforia believes that makeup should also be skincare, so their plant-based makeup products are so gentle on your skin that you can even sleep with your makeup on without worrying about skin irritation. But, will the Sharks be willing to get dolled up and join this modern, innovative line of good-for-your-skin cosmetics? Discover all of the details in our Youthforia Shark Tank update.
What is Youthforia?
Youthforia is a clean and sustainable makeup company with skin-friendly ingredients. It is based in San Francisco, California.
Youthforia aims to create make-up that is also skin care, so they use plant-based synthetics to achieve the luxurious textures and high performance they want while offering nutritionally-dense and BioBased formulas to improve your skin with every wear. The company states, “We test all of our makeup by sleeping in it.”
Who created Youthforia?
Youthforia was founded by Fiona Co Chan, whose family had emigrated for two generations before she was born in the US. Fiona’s grandparents left China to move to Vietnam as refugees, and then her parents fled Vietnam for the US. Fiona studied at Dartmouth College, where she earned a BA in Economics.
After graduating from college, Fiona entered the tech industry, where she sold sophisticated computer software to large data centers. This work required her to travel frequently between California and Asia, and prior to founding Youthforia, the long-haul travel contributed to her desire to create a makeup company with products that served as skin care as well as simple makeup.
How did Youthforia get started?
During her pitch in the Tank, Youthforia founder Fiona Co Chan told the Sharks that prior to founding her company, she worked as a salesperson in the tech industry. During her career in the tech industry, Fiona made regular long flights to large, often very polluted Asian cities. She said that she was always tweaking her makeup, and with all of the pollution, her skin was constantly reacting to something, so she realized that her normal skincare and makeup routine just wasn’t working.
This is when she decided that she wanted to create makeup which, even if she slept in it, wasn’t going to hurt her skin. She wanted to know if it was possible to create makeup which would also act as skin care. Her first idea was to create a universally flattering blush, and this eventually led to a trip to South Korea to work with makeup labs.
What happened to Youthforia before Shark Tank?
According to the Youthforia website, Fiona was so passionate about creating a makeup that was also a skin care product that “during the development of Youthforia, Fiona slept in all of the lab samples, and she recruited her husband to sleep in them too.” She says that they both woke up with much better skin, and this completely changed her beauty routine philosophy: makeup as an extension of skincare.
Fiona is also passionate about Green Chemistry and not using fossil fuels, so this is a big part of Youthforia’s formulation philosophy as well. She states that most makeup contains liquid microplastic, and when developing Youthforia, she didn’t want to do that.
Fiona, during her pitch, declared that it took a lot of time, and many lab samples, before she came up with the formula for the makeup that Youthforia is selling now. Youthforia had started offering their products for sale only about 15 months before taping their Shark Tank episode; however, the company already had $2 million in lifetime sales when Fiona pitched to the Sharks.
How did Youthforia develop before Shark Tank?
The early momentum for Youthforia was created by several TikTok videos which Fiona had posted, and at the time of her appearance in the Tank, 50% of their sales were direct-to-consumer on the company website, 15% of sales were generated on Amazon, and 35% of sales were wholesale.
Fiona, while presenting in the Tank, also revealed that the company was preparing to launch into over 600 additional retail locations in two large national chains. At the time she met the Sharks, Youthforia was already off to a really strong start for just 15 months in business.
What do customers think of Youthforia?
Youthforia has a number of products listed on Amazon, but since company founder Fiona Co Chan described the company’s BYO Blush as their keystone product, we took a look at the Amazon reviews for this product. With over 1,500 ratings, Amazon customers give BYO Blush an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. 77% of Amazon purchasers rated BYO Blush at 4 or 5 stars while 13% of them gave the product a 1 or 2 star rating.
What are customers saying about Youthforia?
One Amazon verified purchaser titled her review ‘Can’t Say Enough,’ and she wrote: “I’m not one to write glowing reviews, but this product is worth every penny. When I started to run low on the first bottle, I decided to try one of the cheap knockoffs. It was terrible. So, I was trying to decide if I wanted to buy a blush this expensive. I looked up the last time I bought it, and it was 11 months ago. So, absolutely. It is a beautiful color, and it lasts a long time. Big thumbs up.”
Another happy customer said, “I’m a tan East Asian, and this blush looks pretty good on me! Super easy to use and quite pigmented. I also don’t take it off of my face at night, and my sensitive skin doesn’t break out.”
Most of the critical reviews we found mentioned dissatisfaction with either the color which the blush produced or the price point of the product. One disappointed reviewer wrote, “I saw this on Shark Tank and was impressed with how healthy and sheer it was, and most important to me, was how it should react to your skin for the perfect tone for your coloring. I used as directed and found that it didn’t blend easily, and it was too pink. I tried it a few times using less, but I was not happy. I also found the price $37 high.”
Another unhappy customer said, “I really wanted to like this blush oil. I really did. But every time I applied it to my skin, it just didn’t flatter me at all. It has a cooler pink tone, and for me, it just looked so obvious that I was wearing blush, even with just one swipe onto the cheek, and it didn’t look very natural at all, which is the look I was going for. I think this shade would look beautiful on fairer-toned skin, or even dark skin with cooler undertones, but it didn’t work for me unfortunately.”
When did Youthforia appear on Shark Tank?
Youthforia appeared on Shark Tank in Season 14, Episode 15, which aired on March 3rd, 2023. The company pitched to regular Sharks Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, and Robert Herjavec.
Along with Youthforia, Season 14 of Shark Tank saw several other health and beauty products, including latin-inspired line Nopalera.
What happened to Youthforia on Shark Tank?
Youthforia founder Fiona Co Chan entered the Tank and asked the Sharks for an investment of $400k for an equity stake of 5% in her company.
Fiona walked into the Tank looking as if she could have arrived straight out of a photo shoot for a cosmetics ad. However, she told the Sharks: “Sharks, believe it not, I woke up like this. Seriously though, last night, I was so busy prepping for Shark Tank that I was too tired to remove my makeup, a feeling that many of us know all too well. So, I went to bed with makeup on my face, and I’m still looking as fresh as a daisy.”
Fiona then told the Sharks not to worry about her skin breaking out from sleeping in her makeup because she wasn’t wearing normal makeup; rather, she was wearing Youthforia, a makeup you can sleep in because it is made with plant-based, renewable ingredients, which are great for your skin and good for the planet.
Fiona also revealed that Youthforia’s keystone product, BYO Blush, was the world’s first color-changing blush oil that reacts to your skin’s PH to give you the perfect shade. Fiona then gave a quick demonstration adding a little blush to her cheeks and blending it in. And then she said, “Alright, now I’m all dolled up and ready for bed, but don’t sleep on this deal!”
Lori started the questioning by confirming that the blush changes depending upon one’s skin tone, and Fiona told her that it simply adds a little bit of pink to any range of skin tone, but it doesn’t interact with undertones.
Mark Cuban wanted to know if there was anything else like it on the market, and he learned that most blushes are just a solid color, that they don’t adapt to skin tone. Robert quickly followed Mark, saying that with Fiona’s ask of 5% for $400k, he hoped that he would love her sales. Fiona responded that the company had $2 million in sales, and they had only been trading for 15 months.
Next, Kevin O’Leary wondered about the breakdown of sales, and Fiona informed him that direct-to-consumer sales from their website provided 50% of their sales, and Amazon added another 15% to the online mix of sales, and then they had 35% of their sales through wholesale. Fiona also revealed that the company was about to launch into an additional 600 retail stores nationally.
Robert spoke up again to inquire how Fiona came up with this idea, and she told him that after graduating from college, she had worked in the tech industry selling sophisticated software to datacenters, and her job required frequent travel between San Francisco and Asia, often to large, very polluted Asian cities. She said that between the pollution and sleeping in makeup on flights, her skin often broke out, so her normal makeup and skin care routines were not working, and this led her to want to create a makeup that doubled as skincare.
Barbara Corcoran spoke up to say, “It’s remarkable to me how much you’ve sold so quickly,” and Fiona explained to her that when the company first started, she began making TikTok videos, and within two weeks, they started to see some traction, and things had just continued to build off of that initial interest.
By this time, with the impressive sales figures for such a new product, it appeared that at least one Shark was already chomping at the bit to get in on the action.
Did Youthforia get a deal on Shark Tank?
Youthforia did secure a deal in the Tank. The company accepted an offer from Mark Cuban for an investment of $400k in return for an 8% equity share in the company.
Somewhat surprisingly, Kevin O’Leary was the first to actively pursue a deal with Fiona. Mr. Wonderful told Fiona, “If you blow up, you’re going to need capital. Your margins are amazing, and you are very impressive.” O’Leary then made an offer of $400k for 20% equity, broken down as $100k in cash, and a loan for $300k at commercial interest rates, and he also wanted 20% of any distributions which Fiona took out of the company.
Robert followed O’Leary’s offer, and he also told Fiona that she was a great entrepreneur, but he simply didn’t understand the product category well enough to be of help to her. Lori jumped in next, and she said that she had sold cosmetics over the years, but she was not a fan of oils as cosmetics, so she went out.
After Barbara Corcoran learned that Youthforia was planning on introducing additional colors, she was confused because she had believed that one of the primary benefits of the BYO Blush was that one color worked well for all skin tones, so with this confusion, she dropped out as well. Finally, Mark Cuban also left the deal as he stated that he didn’t know much about the cosmetics industry.
As the last Shark swimming, Kevin O’Leary spoke up again, “As usual, all roads lead back to Mr. Wonderful.” Fiona immediately replied to him that she wanted to counter his offer for 20% equity, and she asked him if he would come down to 8%, which O’Leary quickly rejected. “No, that’s just not interesting.”
Mark Cuban then told O’Leary that Fiona had $2 million in sales, “That’s not nothing.” But O’Leary was unmoved. After more pressure from O’Leary, and with several Sharks telling Fiona that she was doing well on her own, Fiona made another counteroffer: $400k with a .50 royalty until Kevin received $500k, in return for 5% equity. O’Leary again rejected this offer, but said that he would do $1 royalty until he recouped $800k for 10%.
Fiona then asked Mr. Wonderful if he would consider reducing the equity, and O’Leary smiled and said, “I’m enjoying this.” However, just before he was able to counter again, Mark Cuban spoke up, and said that he realized that while he didn’t know anything about makeup, his daughters would get it, so he offered $400k for 10% with no royalty.
Fiona quickly asked Cuban if he would do it for 8%, and he declined, but when O’Leary came back in and made yet another offer for $400k for 7% with a .75 royalty until he received $1 million. At this point, Mark Cuban looked like he just wanted to beat O’Leary, so he said, “Just to prove a point, I’ll do it at 8%, no royalty.” Fiona quickly replied to Mark, “You’ve got a deal.”
This was one of the most intense two-Shark negotiations we had seen in the Tank in some time. And, it was all the more surprising, as the Youthforia deal was Mark Cuban’s first-ever Shark Tank venture in the makeup industry.
Youthforia Shark Tank update, what happened next?
Mark Cuban was impressed enough by Youthforia founder Fiona Co Chan in the Tank that he made his first-ever makeup deal. Apparently, Fiona was equally impressive during the due diligence period, as we can confirm that the deal has already closed.
According to an interview in Beauty Matter, a beauty industry trade publication, Mark Cuban said of Fiona, “Sometimes you bet on the horse and sometimes the jockey. In this case, I was and continue to be impressed by Fiona.” In the same article in Beauty Matter, Fiona also spoke about Mark Cuban. She said, “He’s so supportive, and he’s great to work with. Ever since the deal closed, I told him that I was getting ready to launch our foundation that you can sleep in. He’s been a great thought partner in helping me think through the launch, as well as thinking through growing the business. He’s really collaborative.”
Mark Cuban was not the only investor impressed by Youthforia on Shark Tank, as after the company appeared in the Tank, Fiona told Forbes, that “Following the Shark Tank investment deal, Youthforia received additional investment from True Beauty Ventures and Willow Growth Partners to further boost the brand’s expansion plans.”
“It’s always been the goal to expand the line,” said Fiona. “I would love to do a full face of Youthforia makeup,” she added. The San Francisco-based brand currently has a foundation line in the works, which is reportedly expected to hit the shelves sometime this year.
It appears that Youthforia, which was already a successful new company when Fiona pitched in the Tank, will continue to grow aggressively for some time to come.