Makeup Mogul Michelle Phan's Coronavirus Strategy Is Educate and HODL Bitcoin

Although the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown is hitting every sector, beauty mogul Michelle Phan has a plan.

Mar 12, 2020 at 9:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:18 a.m. UTC

Although the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown is hitting every sector, beauty mogul Michelle Phan has a plan. 

“I’m starting a podcast this year, called ‘Baby Steps,’” Phan said.

“It’s essentially to help people take steps into adulthood … buying bitcoin, how to store it, what to do with it.”

The 32-year-old entrepreneur, who already has an estimated net worth of $50 million, is looking to work with crypto companies to promote educational content and spread such information on her own channels as well. With her 8.9 million YouTube subscribers and two million Instagram followers, Phan said she wants to use her platform to promote clear and helpful content about bitcoin.

“Now my viewers are hungry for more than makeup and skincare. They want to know how to protect their purchasing power,” Phan told CoinDesk on Wednesday. “Today I made an Instagram post telling my followers to buy the [bitcoin] dip, and then hold.”

Phan is looking to grow her empire, which started with an investment in the four-person music startup Thematic and the blockchain gaming startup Pocketful of Quarters, in addition to the 12-person direct-to-consumer brand Em Cosmetics, which she bought from L'Oreal in 2015. So far Em Cosmetics orders haven’t slowed down, she said, unlike brands that rely on retailers like Sephora to distribute products.

“It’s benefited us, being direct-to-consumer, because that’s what we’re used to. Anyone in retail right now is suffering,” Phan said. “Even luxury brands are taking a huge hit. … So far we’ve been very lucky in having an immense amount of supplies before the virus.”

Indeed, the New York Times reported the beauty industry is in for a rough season. However, Phan’s brand revolves around do-it-yourself tutorials and direct orders. Although she said some of her ingredients come from Italy, South Korea, Japan and to a lesser extent China, manufacturing is often done in the U.S. and she’s already selling out of some products.

Phan hopes supply chains will normalize in a few weeks. If so, she’ll continue with plans to launch several products this year. In the meantime, she’ll diversify her content and focus on building brand awareness beyond makeup tutorials.

“I want to use my platform to shine more light on bitcoin (BTC). There’s so much misinformation. I want to bring more clarity,” she said. “Situations like this are an opportunity for people to learn how to hodl.”

She said many of her followers didn’t know they could buy a fraction of a bitcoin and store it themselves, off of an exchange. That’s about to change.

“Hundreds of DMs came my way saying, ‘We had no idea,’” Phan said. “With coronavirus … when there’s a distrust of authorities, that’s when bitcoin shines the most.”

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