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Beautylish dabs on $6.5M to grow community that really (really) loves cosmetics

Beautylish is using mascara wands and lipstick tubes to attract the attention of investors. According to an SEC filing, the online beauty company has closed $6.5 million of a $8.64 million round.

Beautylish is an online community of beauty enthusiasts. Members of the community post reviews and articles, share video tutorials and photos, and pose questions to others to generate dialogue about beauty products and brands. The forum attracts more than 1 million monthly unique visitors and has 100,000 regular contributors.

In August 2012, the site introduced shopping opportunities so registered members could buy products, not just talk about them. Users were already displaying ‘purchasing intent’ so Beautylish set up a virtual store platform where brands could feature their products. Each boutique has exclusive items available for a limited time, as well as regularly stocked inventory, and new boutiques are added every few weeks.

Social e-commerce is a buzz word right now as startups like Wanelo are trying to turn the power of social media into actual sales. Pinterest and Tumblr have beauty-related content, but Beautylish’s exclusive focus on cosmetics creates an active, tight-knit, passionate community of consumers who want to buy things. It also creates unique opportunities for brands to connect with their most enthusiastic fans. This business model must be working, because Beautylish has attracted millions of dollars in venture capital.

This first round was led by CMEA Ventures. Ron Conway, Steve Chen, and Jeremy Stoppelman are previous investors. Founder Nils Johnson is a well-known angel investor who has put money into hot fashion companies like Warby Parker, Everlane, and Minted. Beautylish has not yet responded to request for comment.

The startup was founded in 2010 and is based in San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Jan Tik/Flickr

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