With TikTok Under Fire, Brands That Rely on It Worry

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Many companies, particularly in the beauty and fashion industries, have boosted sales through the platform. They don’t really have a backup plan.

Amid debate in Washington over whether TikTok should be banned if its Chinese owner doesn’t sell it, one group is watching with particular interest: the many brands — particularly in the beauty, skin care, fashion, and health and wellness industries — that have used the video app to boost their sales.

Youthforia, a makeup brand with more than 185,000 followers on TikTok, is thinking about moving more marketing to other platforms, like YouTube and Instagram. Underlinings, which makes the popular brand Nailboo, planned to use TikTok to launch a product with a major retailer in August and is now wondering if it will have to change course. And BeautyStat, which sells skin care products on TikTok Shop, can’t even fathom the idea of the platform’s disappearing.

TikTok is “just too big, especially in beauty and in certain industries, I feel, for it to disappear,” said Yaso Murray, BeautyStat’s chief marketing officer.

Yaso Murray, the chief marketing officer of BeautyStat, considers TikTok “just too big” to disappear.Chet Strange for The New York Times

Companies and creators have known for years that TikTok could be at risk. But those fears seem more real now that the House has passed a bill that would ban TikTok in the United States unless its owner, ByteDance, sold it. (Since that vote last week, the bill’s progress has slowed in the Senate.)

Some lawmakers in Washington think TikTok is a platform for spying by the Chinese government. Parents fume that it is rotting their children’s brains. But lots of companies — big and small — credit TikTok and its band of influencers for getting their products in front of potential customers, especially young ones.

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