When you hear ‘highlighter,’ do you think yellow marker used while studying, or an essential part of your makeup kit?
Well, online makeup brand, The Crayon Case, thinks the answer should be both. The brand designs its products after school supplies. If you add “The Crayon Case Honor Roll Highlighter” to your online backpack, you’ll get a case of shimmery bronze pigment ready to “blend effortlessly into cheekbones, nose, cupids bow and more” delivered to your door, shipped in a box that looks like a small, square honor roll certificate.
The highlighter is one of only a handful of The Crayon Case products that isn’t currently sold out. CEO Raynell Steward (known online as Wuzzam Supa) made headlines in November after Instagramming her phone’s push notifications on Cyber Monday. She was being alerted to sale after sale after sale of makeup and generated her weekend million-dollar sales goal in a mere 90 minutes.
She aimed for a Guinness World Record next. On Sunday (Dec. 16) Steward and The Crayon Case went to the Superdome for the Big Christmas Toy Drive with friend Jesseca Dupart of Kaleidoscope Hair Products, The United Way of Southeast Louisiana and New Orleans Police Department.
The group was ready to donate over 4,000 toys to children and set a new Guinness record for the most toys given away in 60 minutes, according to a release. As of Sunday (Dec. 16) evening, 5,019 toys were given away at the event, said Russell Baker, Steward’s manager. That number breaks the record, he said. A Guinness World Records representative was not immediately available for comment.
So far, Steward’s record-breaking track record is pretty good.
Factor in a new-product drop on Black Friday (Nov. 23) and some devoted 504-area-code Christmas shoppers, and The Crayon Case saw $2 million in sales — twice that weekend goal — from Friday to Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). The brand’s only sale was Monday, when items were 60 percent-off.
“But they still was buying,” Steward said in a recent interview. Rather than just dropping the product a-la-Beyoncé, Steward created buzz for the seven variants of setting powder with a marketing campaign. The Crayon Case sales began to soar on Friday’s release day, even though the products were being sold at regular price.
“She drilled it in, so I wasn’t surprised,” Baker said. Making the goal in 90 minutes, though, wasn’t what he and Steward’s assistant Kelly Williams predicted.
Steward began The Crayon Case in June 2017, but the first makeup palette “wasn’t even all that” she said. It was after she released the Box of Crayons palette in January 2018 that sales really took off, she said. The 18 colors in the palette are named what they are, like “blue, green, red, yellow, black, brown, orange. Real, real, real simple,” Steward said.
The point of her brand is to be approachable. When she first got into makeup herself, she didn’t know anything about it, and learned from YouTube tutorials.
“Everything was so serious. It was like, ‘If you don’t know how to do this, get off Instagram,’ and ‘You don’t know how to blend. You don’t know how to contour,'” she said. “So they made it so hard, to where you didn’t even want to learn how to do makeup.
“The reason why I came out with school supplies is because when you’re in school, you learn,” Steward said. “Like, even professionals had to learn.”
When you’re using crayons, it’s more about having fun. Steward hopes the design makes it seem okay to mess up your makeup, like she did on Instagram videos as @supa_cent. Her Instagram presence (on Dec. 14, she had 1.3M followers) helped to catapult interest and following in her makeup company. (@TheCrayonCase had 616K followers on Dec. 14.)
Steward still manages posts to both accounts, often reviving StoryTime with Supa, where she answers “Dear Abby”-style questions from her followers with (brutal and hilarious) honesty.
Steward held various service jobs and sold T-shirts with funny-sayings from her followers until those same followers started asking about the makeup brands she was using.
“If they’re gonna keep asking me where I get something from, I’m gonna just start selling it,” Steward said. She just never thought the business would be this big.
The service industry jobs taught her customer service, she said. For example, customers who need to return The Crayon Case products, like the mom who had to send back the eyelashes her daughter purchased, tricked by the design into thinking they were an actual calculator, do so on a slip designed like a hall pass.
The Crayon Case’s new warehouse is just about to Mississippi, in Pearl River. Steward moved her company there from a New Orleans East location over the summer. Her office, designed by Williams, is painted in wide horizontal stripes of black paint, alternating between flat and satin finishes.
On the wall across from her clear desk is a painting made of five circles, created by Kentrice Schexnayder, artist and owner at Ken 6 Studio.Steward’s portrait is in the center circle and the smaller circles on either side tell her story of success with small pictures and words.
“[Steward] likes to say that she’s lazy but she’s one of the most driven people I’ve ever been around,” Baker said, while Steward sat nearby on her phone.
“When everyone else is asleep, she’s awake” and sending emails at 3, 4 and 5 in the morning, Baker said. She comes up the product ideas and social media strategy, a tool she shared with Jesseca Dupart in exchange for Dupart’s business knowledge on things like keeping inventory.
The Judy Brush, a bold rainbow-colored makeup brush, is named after Dupart, who is also “real vibrant in color,” Steward said.
“We make everything fun,” she said.