Tanya Burr’s brand Authored has closed and creator economy investors should take note of why

Posted by Sara McCorquodale in Comment

3 months ago

Tanya Burr confirmed on Instagram Stories on 23 January that she would not be releasing any more products through her beauty brand, Authored. The business launched in 2021 with a range of “easy basics” and the mascara in particular had rave reviews, not just from Burr’s fellow creators but from mainstream beauty editors too. It began appearing in “best of” product round-ups and was praised for its efficacy.

So, why would Burr close the brand when it had such promise? She noted in her Stories that life moved in a different direction. “I had a baby and didn’t have the time the brand needed dedicated to it in order to grow,” she wrote.

Companies House records show Authored began the winding up process in November 2023 and a liquidator was appointed the following month. Documents also reveal that Elementary Brands, a company which owned between 25% and 50% of the business, closed due to insolvency in Q1 of 2023. It’s worth noting Burr’s shareholding was in the same bracket, making them the two major shareholders along with three other investors who had smaller stakes.

It’s entirely plausible that Authored was a strategic joint venture between Burr and Elementary Brands and that, in the end, Burr was left with the full responsibility. Records show that before the company’s assets were liquidated, she was the sole employee.

This is speculation, but perhaps Burr had two choices in 2023. Shift huge volumes of stock through her own platforms while also managing brand development, marketing, production, customer service, sourcing new investment and distribution. Or learn from her Authored experience and shut up shop with relatively minimal losses.

Everything suggests she made the right choice. If 2023 hadn’t been so challenging for businesses and if another backer had stepped in, maybe things could be different. However, the macro environment doesn’t care if you’re an influencer – 2023 saw the highest number of business insolvencies since 2009.

The Authored story should serve as a case study for investors in the creator economy. Although they are often portrayed as dead-cert rainmakers, influencer founders are not a shortcut to success. The advantage of an influencer-led brand is above average early traction which can accelerate understanding of what will deliver growth. However, it is essential you are in it for the long-haul and understand scale will only be made possible through infrastructure, dedication and plain old luck. Just like any other business.

By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ. Picture credit: Authored via Facebook.