Camila Coelho went from working the Dior counter at Macy’s to attending Dior dinners in Paris. Here’s what she learned about launching a new business in 2020.

Camila Coelho
Camila Coelho.
  • Camila Coelho, 32, is a content creator and entrepreneur known for her presence on YouTube and Instagram as well as her eponymous fashion line.
  • She got her start in the beauty and fashion industry as a YouTuber in the early 2010s, where she was known for her makeup tutorials. 
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Coelho talks about her fashion line and her foray into the beauty industry.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

YouTuber becomes Instagram sensation, launches hugely popular clothing line, then forays into beauty amid the pandemic.

Sound far-fetched? Let the 32-year-old Camila Coelho tell you that it's all true — and how she pulled off a new business launch in the coronavirus era.

Coelho has over 8 million Instagram followers, 1.26 million subscribers on YouTube, and an eponymous fashion line that launched in June 2019, which is sold exclusively through Revolve and has now amassed almost half a million followers on Instagram.

Her line has been seen on popular micro and micro-content creators including France's Emmanuelle Koffi, Peruvian model and actress Flavia Laos Urbina, and Canada's Steph Ahn.

Coelho told Business Insider the decision to partner with Revolve, was "organic." She has often been seen on her Instagram wearing products from the $1.4 billion premium lifestyle brand, which is known for utilizing Instagram talent to help sell its products, such as Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni, and Chriselle Lim

This March, Coelho, and Revolve expanded into swimwear, with Forbes reporting a 92% sell-through

Coelho herself has been seen at the front row of top fashion shows including Celine and Christian Dior. She's walked the Met Gala red carpet with Diane von Furstenberg, and been on the cover of InStyle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, and L'Officiel magazine. 

She had plans to launch her beauty line, Elaluz, in March, but delayed it after first the pandemic and then social unrest swept the United States.

Since it finally launched in August, Elaluz has already reached almost 100,000 followers on Instagram and is sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and on Net-a-Porter. 

Her success as a content creator turned entrepreneur puts Coelho at the forefront of next-gen businesswomen that have outgrown being mere "Instagram influencers."

In an interview with Business Insider, Coelho talks about her rise in business, her ambitions to build a beauty empire, and what she learned amid the pandemic and the civil rights protests of 2020.

Camila decided to forgo college and launch a beauty YouTube channel in 2010, a decision she said once made her "insecure." Now she's happy it eventually paid off.
Camila Coelho

Coelho immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, from Brazil in 2002. After graduating from high school, she said her mother was pushing for her to go to college right away, but that's not necessarily what Coelho had in mind.

Rather than go to college, Coelho began working at Macy's as a sales associate, where she said she found a passion for beauty and makeup. In the summer of 2010, she launched a YouTube channel to share makeup tutorials. "To my surprise, I gained a following and then began uploading every three weeks or so," she told Business Insider. 

Her brand exploded, and soon she became a staple at the biggest fashion and beauty events in the world. This year, before the pandemic hit, she attended nearly 10 New York Fashion Week shows, including Brandon Maxwell, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, and Michael Kors. She went from working the Dior counter at Macy's to, in 2019, attending a Dior dinner in Paris for the launch of their new Rogue lipstick. 

That same year, she teamed up with Luxury Brand Group and partnered with eCommerce retailer Revolve to sell her own line of clothing, the Camila Coelho Collection, selling silky gowns, neutral fitted blazers, and printed mini dresses that can be seen splashed all over Instagram's explore page. 

She did so after collaborations with both Lancôme and Brazilian luxury designer Carol Bassi, telling Fashionista's Tyler McCall that she was ready to work on something of her own. As reported by Forbes, the collection's first drop sold out within minutes.

Pieces from the Camila Coelho Collection currently sell for about $100 to $350 in sizes XXS to XL, exclusively on Revolve. 

"I was once insecure about my educational background, but now I am so proud of my story that has led me to where I am today," she said. "I love showing that there is not one set pathway to what the world may deem as success."

Coelho utilizes her social media following of 15 million to advertise her brand. But she said she's careful not to inundate her followers with her own products.
Camila Coelho

Coelho's Brazilian roots are the biggest inspirations for both her fashion line and her latest beauty line, Elaluz, she said. 

In every design meeting, Coelho said she makes sure she and her team are "continuously experimenting" with colors and styles that remind her of Brazil, paying close attention to fabric selections in addition to seeing how each piece fits on a mannequin.

To ensure she is staying in tune with her consumer demands, she said that she simply listens to what they want and don't want from her.

She also makes sure to try out each product before she sells it to people, using her massive following base as a content creator — totaling 15 million across all her active channels, she said — to give her own products a marketing boost. 

"I am very mindful of how much I promote my own products because my followers want to see other products as well and I don't want to force any products on them," she continued. "I use different types of mediums to balance everything out, like Instagram stories versus feed, YouTube videos, TikTok, etc. Mixing it up is more exciting because you get to see it in a different way." 

Right now, she said the biggest challenge for the Camila Coelho Collection is pivoting toward becoming more sustainable, something she calls a "priority." A few months ago, she said her brand began using sustainable leather and fabric. 

"I want my fashion line to be known for pieces that are not only chic," she said. "But that our Camila Coelho girls cherish for a lifetime." 

The launch of her beauty line was delayed, officially launching in August. She said she and her team had to rethink their marketing strategies, but learned from her days as a YouTuber that "consistency is key."
Camila Coelho

In August, Coelho launched her clean, vegan, cruelty, and gluten-free beauty brand Elaluz.

"Elaluz actually means 'she is light' in my native language, Portuguese," she said. "My main goal was to create a mindfully luxurious and clean brand, including everything from the packaging to the formulas." 

The company was supposed to launch in March but was delayed first because of the pandemic, then further as social unrest began to sweep the nation during the summer months. "In my heart, I knew that launching Elaluz was not of the same importance and timeliness," she added. It finally launched in August,

For her brand, Coelho decided to recreate and reimagine her favorite beauty items, such as a lip stain, a dry texture finishing spray, and a face mist. "Each product is designed to come along on-the-go to make life a little easier for powerful and confident people on-the-go," she added. 

To market the company amid the pandemic, Coelho said she had to think outside the box, and began to consistently post videos of herself online, showing her millions of followers how she would use her own products. That was one of the main things she learned from her days as a YouTuber — consistency is key.

"You must have a clear message with a consistent and creative channel, especially given the volume of content that is out there these days," she said. 

"We turned to my own social platforms to reach my followers and the beauty community, which I believed has resulted in a more natural and genuine connection to the brand," she continued. "I realized that you can still have a successful launch without billboards and typical advertisement strategy that we had become so accustomed to."

Inclusive marketing is important to Coelho, adding that hiring a team of "like-minded" individuals has helped her execute the vision of both her brands.
Camila Coelho

The brand's Instagram page has accumulated almost 100,000 followers since its first post on July 30th. 

Many of its videos and photos depict Coelho showcasing how to use her brand, with a racially and ethnically diverse set of talent modeling the products. 

Coelho said she learned the importance of inclusive marketing and product offerings from her days as a YouTuber, when she would review products, only for people to comment that they loved her look, but the product she was using didn't come in their shade. 

It taught her a lesson, she said, about building diversity into a business model. "Not only is it about the products but also about the larger brand messaging and the day-to-day," she said. "Who is in the brand campaigns, who is hired to work on our sets, who make up our internal teams, and so on." 

Coelho said she made sure to fill her internal team with those who are "strong and like-minded." In order for her company to be 100% reflective of herself, she said she has tried to be 100% involved in its day-to-day operations.

"I wanted to be a part of the little decisions made every single day," she continued. "I felt that if I wasn't always there, then the final product would not be what I had envisioned."

Putting together a team she can trust, she said, has also helped her team execute the core missions of both her brands. It has also allowed her to trust her team to execute her vision, allowing her to find "balance" as an entrepreneur. 

"I've seen first-hand the importance of maintaining balance by surrounding myself with an amazing team that is ultimately an extension of myself and my values," she said.

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