Tracking the stratospheric rise of the Morphe makeup brand over the past 14 years has been a heady endeavour.

Since its founding in 2008, the niche beauty darling has inked partnerships with major influencers such as Jeffree Star and hit revenues of US$400 million just before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived.

Over the past five years, Morphe has announced gung-ho expansion plans, including the operation of 50 standalone stores in the US, Australia, Canada and the UK by the end of 2019.

One of the biggest changes of that year, however, was the agreement that saw private equity major, General Atlantic, acquire a majority stake in Morphe and value the brand at US$2.2 billion.

In August 2020, General Atlantic reported that Morphe would become a key part of the Forma Brands stable, a self-styled curator of next generation beauty brands, alongside Jaclyn Cosmetics, Bad Habit, Lipstick Queen and Playa Beauty.

Since then a series of highly-publicised feuds with its superstar influencers, plummeting sales and revamp efforts and launches that failed to fire sparked rumours of a pending Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US last October.

Last week, Morphe revealed that it would close all of its 20 standalone stores in the US to focus on online sales and distribution with select retailers such as Ulta Beauty.

Morphe has two stores in Australia at Chadstone and Melbourne Central shopping centres. The company said in a statement that Morphe stores outside the US will remain open.

The brand debuted a dedicated website for Australian and New Zealand fans – – in 2018. It is also available from Mecca and leading websites such as Amazon.

According to analysts, Morphe’s aggressive expansion rate and over-reliance on social media buzz is a cautionary tale for other brands following a similar path. 

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