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How Melt Cosmetics Gained Cult Status Through Word-of-Mouth

Sheena Chua
Sheena Chua
November 17, 2015
2 min read
How Melt Cosmetics Gained Cult Status Through Word-of-Mouth

If you know your makeup, chances are you’ve heard about Melt Cosmetics.

Launched in 2013, this company founded by two women has carved itself a niche in the highly competitive and flaky world of makeup.

It boasts high quality, ‘ultra-matte’ lipsticks in wacky colours (think alien blue and forest green), and—with 1,600,000 (!) followers on its official Instagram account—a cult status.

Here’s how Melt Cosmetics achieved a cult following in such a short time with word-of-mouth:

1. Have an interesting backstory? Make use of it.

Co-founder Lora Arellano is really popular online. I mean, really. The professionally trained make-up artist has 930, 000 followers on Instagram, and her posts get thousands of likes.

Arellano found Instagram fame from posting content that was vastly different from all the other make-up artists on the social media site, which was already saturated with make-up artists and enthusiasts.


Her gamble paid off and she landed a gig as superstar Rihanna’s make-up artist.

That, in turn, launched a series of interviews with big titles like Seventeen, Nylon and Cosmopolitan. In those interviews, Arellano constantly talks about Melt Cosmetics.


Arellano and co-founder Dana Bomar continue to use their individual online presence to promote the brand, by posting daily beauty looks featuring different products, used in different styles and combinations.

2. Have a launch party that suits your brand, and hype it up on social media.

Melt announced its debut with a launch party, complete with Facebook event invitations and announcements on Instagram and Twitter.

This is one specific example of how its founders leverage their Instagram celebrity status to the brand’s benefit.

The launch party, a private event at a club, was befitting of the brand. It spelled fun and exclusivity. Guests had to mention “Melt Cosmetics” at door to gain entry.

Such exclusivity creates a situation where your early fans become the in-crowd, who generate WOM for you.

Another interesting move that Melt made was that they did not sell products at the launch party. Rather, fans could place orders on their website on the date of the party.

The partying became the focus; and when people have fun, they talk about it the next day. The same is also being done for discounts and promotions.

3. Encourage fans selfies and hashtags

Once products began arriving on doorsteps, Melt fans were encouraged to post selfies and photos of their purchases with specific hashtags, on image-focused social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest.


Hashtagging photos is like archiving your customers’ user experiences. Today, a potential customer can get authentic reviews of Melt products with just a few taps on the keyboard.

What hashtagging your fan selfies can do:

  • Product versatility: This is good for Melt, as the brand encourages fans to nurture a sense of individuality and to look at make-up as a fun, creative outlet.
  • Credibility: Potential buyers can see for themselves if the product would suit them, as opposed to taking the brand’s word for it.
  • Curation: Much less flipping through a magazine, fan scroll through the different personal styles archived on the hashtags for reference or inspiration.
  • Social Currency: Fans take pride when their selfies are featured on the brand’s website or social media accounts.
  • Community: If done right, hashtags can serve the function of a forum, where fans and the brand can interact.

4. Keep new developments secret, but tell people they exist.

Arellano makes fans anticipate Melt’s new releases by talking about them in interviews, but never revealing details. Case in point, the ‘Nood Collection’.

The Nood Collection is a series of nude/beige lip colours in the brand’s signature matte texture. It is also a significant move by Melt, who is known for its loud, vibrant colours. With the Nood Collection, Melt needed a boost for doing something that every other brand is already doing.

“We've been working on the Nood Collection for a really long time. It wasn't something that we were comfortable releasing because our fans mostly looked to us for all our crazy colors.” -- Lora Arellano

The same has been done with Melt’s launch of its eyeshadow “stacks”.

Being tight-lipped about your upcoming releases means you can manage expectations. At the same time, giving fans teasing bits of information makes them anticipate. So the day you are ready to launch your new product, they will be among the first to talk about it.

Here’s a quick recap on how Melt Cosmetics gained cult status through WOM:

  1. Have an interesting backstory? Make use of it.
  2. Have a launch party that suits your brand, and hype it up on social media.
  3. Encourage fan selfies and hashtags.
  4. Keep new developments secret, but tell people they exist.


Hey, what's up?! Wanna read more Instagram success stories?

Sure, right?

Well, check out our 11 Instagram Marketing Examples here!

Sheena Chua
Sheena Chua
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