Morphe Cosmetics is closing all U.S. retail stores.


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Morphe Cosmetics, a makeup company formerly associated with YouTube beauty culture, announced on Thursday that it was closing all of its U.S. retail locations, shocking staff members, infuriating customers, and raising concerns about the brand’s future among some industry observers. The U.S. retail locations of Morphe Cosmetics are all closing. According to workers, they were kept in the dark for weeks.

The news comes after a few company employees used the hashtag “#justiceformorpheretailemployees” on TikTok over the holidays to criticize the company’s lack of transparency during the layoffs. Supportive comments from viewers quickly followed, denouncing the company for allegedly leaving its staff in the dark while stores ran out of stock.

Morphe referred to the closures as a “difficult decision” in a tweet posted to the company’s account on Thursday. In a statement, Morphe said, “We are eternally grateful to our store teams for their passion, talent, and dedication over the years. “Clients can still purchase Morphe online and from a few retailers. The Morphe stores abroad will continue to be open. However, a representative for Morphe’s parent company FORMA Brands told Insider in an email that the company has “made the strategic decision” to concentrate on wholesale and e-commerce operations “following a careful evaluation of all aspects” of its business. As of the time of writing, Morphe has disabled the commenting feature.

This change, according to the statement, will better position Morphe to compete in the larger beauty market and more effectively reach customers where and how they shop. “Connecting with consumers around the globe through beauty stands at the center of everything we do, and while we have loved welcoming customers into our stores, we look forward to focusing on the foundational areas of our business, including our wholesale partnerships, robust e-commerce footprint, and innovative brand marketing strategy,” the company says.

Given that the company reportedly went through years of financial and legal difficulties and reputational damage, some beauty experts claimed that the news was not unexpected. How the company handled its workers during the shutdown may have damaged the brand’s standing with Generation Z customers, who have already shown a dislike for Morphe.

Hana Ben-Shabat, founder of the research firm Gen Z Planet and author of “Gen Z 360: Preparing for the Inevitable Change in Culture, Work, and Commerce,” claimed that Gen Z consumers make decisions based on their values. These principles include supporting businesses that prioritize diversity, take steps to lessen their impact on the environment, and treat their employees fairly.

The company, which was established in 2008 and markets itself as “Makeup for the Creators,” has been embroiled in controversy for many years. The Forma Brands-owned company Morphe has been linked to several of its collaborators’ controversies, such as those involving Jeffree Star’s alleged racism and James Charles’ alleged sending of sexual messages to minors.

In spite of repeated requests for comment, a Forma Brands spokesperson remained silent. The company is “forever grateful to our store teams for their passion, talent, and dedication over the years,” according to a tweet from Morphe. According to Ben-Shabat, young consumers, on whom Morphe based its brand, have turned away from mega-influencers.

A number of lawsuits involving unpaid rent on one of Morphe’s retail locations, deceptive advertising, and a lack of support for its subsidiaries were also brought against the company in the previous year. According to Wendy Musell, an employment civil rights attorney and founding partner of the Law Offices of Wendy Musell, the way the company handled its closures could expose it to additional legal issues.

The brand has recently faced a backlash that has spread to other social media sites, including Morphe’s Instagram page. One user commented on the company’s most recent Instagram post from December 1: “It’s a shame this is one of my favorite makeup companies and to see a tank like this is ridiculous and the fact that you guys are treating your store employees so terribly is what’s crazy to me.” People on Twitter described the store closings as heartbreaking after the brand disabled replies to its tweet informing users of the news. One user commented, “I worked here for a year and a half, and I’m just sad.”

Why Are Morphe Stores Closing?


During the layoffs as well, there was no information, and everyone was utterly terrified of what would come next. For at least a week, hashtags seeking justice for the company’s employees were trending on social media. When this news was announced, the audience reacted angrily, leaving all the employees in a precarious situation where their inventories ran out but they were still accepting orders from people across the nation.

According to the fans’ and experts’ responses on YouTube and other social media platforms, who attempted to analyze and deconstruct the information, this was nothing new because Morphe would have nonetheless closed at one point. According to the fans’ and experts’ responses on YouTube and other social media platforms, who attempted to analyze and deconstruct the information, this was nothing new because Morphe would have nonetheless closed at one point. There have been numerous reports about the company’s ongoing legal and financial issues, so it was high time they decided to fold their tent once and for all.

Although it can also be very disastrous to shut down in the middle of nowhere. Because Morphe does not treat its employees with the respect they deserve, even Gen Z customers who once purchased the company’s products are dissatisfied.

Employees at Morphe raised the alarm for weeks.

Several employees who worked in retail for Morphe told NBC News that they were given a day’s notice before losing their jobs, and some employees found it shocking that the company had let them go so quickly. After Black Friday, three employees who spoke with NBC News said their stores quickly ran out of stock due to deeply discounted sales. After Morphe stopped delivering product shipments to their locations, employees claimed they started to worry. According to a Morphe employee from Oregon, the company informed stores that the delays in restocking were caused by shipping problems.

The now-former workers claimed that on Tuesday, they received a Zoom call informing them of the closures and that any remaining stores would shut down by that date. More than 7.5 million people have watched TikToks with the hashtag #justiceformorpheretailemployees, even though some popular videos about the store closings have been taken down. In order to protect her severance pay, Kim, a Morphe employee who requested that her full name not be used, was advised to remove her TikToks about the store closings.

Kim claimed that the reason she was so devoted to the company was that it valued and supported all makeup artists. She described her coworkers as “the kindest, most encouraging, and most creative people anyone has ever met.” Kim described working at Morphe as “your dream job,” not just a job. It’s kind of like your second life, or first for some people.

Kim claimed that she was informed that managers would receive three weeks of severance pay while Morphe’s retail staff, known as beauty artists, would receive only two weeks. Employees of Morphe who spoke with NBC News on Friday claimed they hadn’t yet received their severance packages.

Workers should be aware of their rights under federal and state law, according to Musell. Using a one-day notice for mass layoffs, according to her, could violate California labor laws and the U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, where Morphe had 11 stores. According to Musell, the value of severance packages to the employer “is the employee must waive all of their legal rights and it effectively buys the peace.

However, Musell advised those employees to investigate whether the WARN Act has been broken and whether they are, at the very least, entitled to 60 days’ pay.

Morphe has come under fire recently, with one former employee telling Insider that her entire store was terminated.

People who claim to have worked for the beauty brand, which is renowned for its inexpensive makeup brushes and influencer partnerships, have been heavily criticizing it ever since the end of December 2022. Many people have documented their empty stores on TikTok and claimed that management never explained why there was no inventory. Employees have occasionally spoken of enormous sales and unexpected layoffs.

Insider spoke with a former store manager who claimed that after working there for more than a year in Texas, she noticed that products were being discounted and that eventually there wasn’t enough inventory to stock the shelves for the 2022 holiday season. She claimed that her entire store was laid off on December 22 and informed that their final day of employment would be December 26.

A representative for FORMA Brands told Insider on Wednesday that the company “made decisions to close certain US stores,” but she would not specify how many. The closures were due to “the broader beauty landscape throughout the last year,” according to the statement. The statement said: “Decisions that affect our people are extremely difficult, and we extend our deepest gratitude to the dedicated Morphe store team members at the closing stores for delivering exceptional beauty experiences to countless customers over the years.”

The New York Times reported in 2022 that the retailer had lost favor with Gen Z because of its associations with contentious influencers like Jeffree Star and James Charles and a shift in cultural preference for skin care over makeup. The Morphe representative did not address the broader industry challenges the brand was facing.

Just before the store closed, a reporter for Insider noticed empty shelves. Later that day, Insider went to a Morphe store in Paramus, New Jersey, and discovered it was still open. At the time of the visit, however, there were no customers and hardly any beauty products on the shelves.

The only items still available were cosmetics from Arianna Grande’s line, r.e.m. beauty, and a brush set created by Morphe in partnership with Kylie Jenner’s makeup artist, Ariel Tejada. Both collections of goods were left out of the store’s 80% off sale. On Thursday, an insider visited the store once more before Morphe officially announced that all US stores had been closed.

The shelves were bare, the doors were closed, and it seemed as though the product displays were being gradually taken down. According to the brand’s website store locator, there were still 27 Morphe locations in the US as of Thursday’s announcement; as of this writing, however, there were only 19.

The “end of an era” for Morphe

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Morphe rose to fame between 2016 and 2019 during the peak of beauty on YouTube. It was at the forefront of a maximalist makeup trend that is no longer popular with consumers, especially Gen Z audiences, who have switched to a more minimalist approach to skincare and beauty. When referring to the innovative maximal looks Morphe is known for, Ben-Shabat said, “They were not quick to react to that because they were building on that artistry.”

According to reports, Morphe’s sales have decreased over the past two years. The brand’s sales decreased from $500 million in 2020 to $295 million in 2021, according to Business of Fashion. Forma Brands, the parent company, reportedly thought about declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. According to Ben-Shabat, the store closings are an indication that sales are still sputtering.

Many consumer brands that began on the internet now recognize the value of physical locations and are opening them, the speaker said. Therefore, Morphe is closing stores at a time when many DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands are kind of admitting that maybe the DTC model is no longer what it once was and there is value in having stores.

Kim and other employees at Morphe are left to determine their next moves as the company fights to remain relevant. While some are still in shock over the unexpected job loss, others are attempting to find new employment. Kim claimed that rather than wallowing in the loss of her ideal position, she is choosing to reflect on her accomplishments at Morphe. That is how I see it, and we are at the end of an era, Kim said. “I’m thankful that I got myself in this situation and thankful that I can get myself out of it.”