“If Alix buys it, I buy it”. This has become the refrain of thousands of TikTok users since December 2022 and references the sudden but very real power of lifestyle creator Alix Earle. Consumers are following her every move to ape her style, interiors and lifestyle routines, but the vertical she is set to have a huge ripple across for Q1 is beauty.
So, who is Alix Earle? She is a 22-year-old lifestyle creator who gained more than two million followers on TikTok in 30 days. She now has 3.3million and is being teed up as the successor to the platform’s 2022 It Girl, Matilda Djerf. In fact, a comparison of the views on content about each creator suggest consumers are already more obsessed with Earle. Over a five-week period, she has changed the game on TikTok – potentially representing its 2023 era. But how?
Earle is messy, chaotic and nonchalant. Her bedroom is covered in takeaways, makeup, discarded designer clothes and dead flowers. She is self-deprecating, seemingly has no filter and often hungover. Remember Fiat 500 girls on Twitter? She’s a combination of that and TikTok. She’s also the heiress to a beauty brand.
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The point is, it would be easy for consumers to dislike Earle. She represents a kind of privilege which could feel boring, a bit Instagram and not really where culture is anymore. However, her honest commentary and rejection of TikTok’s perfection-focused archetypes like “that girl” is a relief. She never seems like she’s talking to millions of people, but one who is maybe her best friend.
Starting the year off strong
Following TikTok trends is exhausting. TikTok wants you to slug, organise, dance, be a skin-cycler, lip-sync and do extraordinary things with potatoes. There is a possibility many consumers have just had enough. They are sick of putting so much effort into absolutely everything so instead are just putting effort into following Earle’s example. That means relatively easy makeup, going out out, bitching about your ex and having a laugh. It’s like being 22 before social media existed (if anyone can remember such a thing).
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So, how should brands react to Earle? Firstly, beauty businesses should be heavily marketing white eyeliner and creating tutorials on how to draw fake freckles, using their products. These are the staples of Earle’s look that TikTok users are desperately trying to recreate. She is a big fan of Benefit’s Hoola bronzer and you can bet that has seen an insane uplift in sales since the start of December 2022. However, some of her fans don’t want to use this citing “chemicals” as the reason, so there’s another opportunity.
Things move fast on TikTok and sudden icons like Earle tend to have a moment, impact retail, aesthetics, create a whole new segment of influencers in their likeness and then the platform moves on. The thing that hasn’t reliably happened since TikTok’s 2020 rise is brands fully capitalising on moments like this. They can be transformative, repositioning you and your products to a whole new audience. If you can react to the Alix Earle phenomenon do it, and do it now. It could be the move that quickly propels your business to new heights in 2023.
By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ. Picture credit: Alix Earle via Instagram.