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“Hitting Pan” Podcast Episode 4: Kristy Westrup—the Ultimate Beauty Business Baddie


In the fourth episode of Hitting Pan, we kept it in the IPSY family. Host Bethany Blair sat down with IPSY’s own Chief Merchandising Officer Kristy Westrup. Kristy and her team are the true magicians behind the monthly Glam Bag, BoxyCharm, and Icon Box subscriptions. They are testing more than 8,000 products a year to ensure our Ipsters are getting the absolute best of the best before anyone else. 

Are you a fan of the K18 HAIR Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask? You can thank Kristy for getting it in the hands of our Ipsters years before it blew up online and sold out everywhere. What about classics like TOO FACED Better Than Sex Mascara and up-and-coming faves like FORMULA Z COSMETICS Happy Stick Dual Ended Liner? Yep, that was her team’s merchandising sorcery again. Kristy’s passion for the IPSY member is palpable, and she’s not slowing down. 

Why You Need to Tune In to This Episode

Kristy gets to the bottom of the art and science behind merchandising all the amazing products for our members, how being a competitive D1 athlete has helped her level up professionally, and the importance of brand authenticity—now more than ever. Plus, she’s dropping an exclusive hint about the celebs behind August’s Icon Box (yes, that’s celebs plural). 

Key Takeaways: An Athlete’s Guide to the Business of Beauty

  • Merchandising Is Both an Art and a Science: “At IPSY, the merchandising team takes a really broad approach, everything from a team that’s out in the market sourcing and building relationships with thousands of brands all the way to actual merchandising team who takes all those amazing brands and builds these fantastic boxes and bags for IPSY. That’s the art, and there’s a little science behind it. We have a whole planning and personalization team that’s really building out the forecast and the analytics, ensuring all the amazing things that you want to see in your bags and boxes get to your house. Then there’s the algorithm and machine learning. It’s mind-blowing everything that goes into that bag or box when you open it up on a monthly basis.”

  • Beauty Is So Much More Than Just Makeup: After working her way up from an intern at a department store to a junior buyer in fashion, Kristy finally made her way into beauty. Now, as a C-suite executive at IPSY, she understands that beauty is so much more than just product. “This category of business has such an emotional connection to your customer, and everything that we’re doing in the beauty industry, it has meaning.”

  • Your Feedback Is Key: “Everything first starts with our members. What I love about what we do here is that everything gets surveyed, everything we crowdsource, we ask our members what they’re interested in, who they find that would be a great curator for them. We’re constantly ensuring that there’s that connection to the curator and our members.”

  • There’s No “I” in “Team”: “[In soccer,] I was a forward, so I scored the goals. But what I always talk about is that I couldn’t have scored the goal if the goalie didn’t stop the ball, if the goalie didn’t kick it to the midfield, the midfield didn’t do their magic and get me the ball. Early on, it taught me that I can’t be this superstar without my entire team being part of it. It’s a team effort. We win together; we lose together. All of that is how I manage my everyday life…You’re going to have great days, and you’re going to have really tough days. You go in that locker room during halftime, and you’re not going to just quit. You’re going to get out there and talk about what you did well, what you are not doing well, and get back in and win the game. For me, everything I do ties back to that mentality of being an athlete.”

Additional Resources

Final Thoughts

Kristy’s journey from intern to a C-suite executive is both inspiring and insightful. Whether you're an aspiring beauty entrepreneur or simply a fan of IPSY, her stories and strategies provide valuable lessons on passion, perseverance, and the power of collaboration. Tune in to the full Hitting Pan episode above to learn even more from one of the industry's best and get a sneak peek at the exciting things coming up for IPSY.

New episodes of Hitting Pan drop every Thursday. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch the full video episodes, or listen on Spotify, Apple Podcast, iHeart, or wherever you get your podcasts. And don’t forget to follow IPSY on Instagram and TikTok for all the latest Hitting Pan news (plus so much more!).

Want in on all the IPSY fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products.

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About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated May 29, 2024 12:00 AM