The Glossy Beauty Podcast is the newest podcast from Glossy. Each 30-minute episode features candid conversations about how today’s trends, such as CBD and self-care, are shaping the future of the beauty and wellness industries. With a unique assortment of guests, The Glossy Beauty Podcast provides its listeners with a variety of insights and approaches to these categories, which are experiencing explosive growth. From new retail strategies on beauty floors, to the importance of filtering skincare products through crystals, this show sets out to help listeners understand everything that is going on today, and prepare for what will show up in their feeds tomorrow.
Before joining Sephora, Sol de Janeiro's premium body products had another retailer stumped. "They said, 'You know, we don't know what to do with you guys,' recalled Heela Yang, one of the company's three founders and its CEO, on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. The company's butt cream, foot cream and body hair lightener put them apart from brands in beauty. "And then she said, 'You know, I think Sephora might be really into you guys.' And she was right."
Yang founded the company with Camila Pierotti and Marc Capra in 2015. It partnered with Sephora the following year, going into stores nationwide weeks after its Bum Bum Cream for the derrière and its foot cream performed well on Sephora's site.
A few years ago, Yang said, it was unclear whether the market for upscale products for the body was even sustainable. "If we had made a decision based on the size of the premium body care category back then, we probably wouldn't have launched this brand," she said.
According to Yang, the company started with the idea of sharing Brazil's inclusive beauty culture before it started a product line. Yang lived in Brazil for a time (as did Capra), and Pierotti is from Rio de Janeiro. "There is something that starts in the beach culture of Rio -- that beauty is not any sort of universal standard to achieve, it is a feeling. Feeling comfortable in your own skin and feeling happy in your own skin. Brazilians love taking care of their bodies," said Pierotti.
In the months since the Covid-19 pandemic went global, Sol de Janeiro has pivoted from in-person promotion of its products and events to a DTC-focused model. Its first fragrance, launched in mid-March just as the world came to a halt, had to be quickly shipped back from Sephora stores to fulfill online orders. But, the company's digital business is three times what it was last year, Yang said, and now makes up almost half of its total business.
Skin care isn't just for the face, according to Nécessaire co-founder Randi Christiansen. Christiansen founded the company with Nécessaire co-founder Nick Axelrod in 2018 and debuted digitally first. Their original lineup of clean products -- a curated assortment of body washes, body lotions and sex gels -- was quite unorthodox for the beauty industry just two years ago.
"Nick and I really felt philosophically that skin doesn't stop at the neck," she said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Christiansen saw a gap in how much money people were willing to spend on skin care for the face, as well as for their favorite matchas. "It was very clear to both of us that there was just room for what we call real ingredients in body," Christiansen said.
Nécessaire's now expanded product line entered Sephora.com last month, and pandemic permitting, will debut in its stores in August. The company plans to grow 300% to 400% this year, Christiansen said, in part thanks to this new relationship with Sephora.
The age of ongoing confinement seems tailor-made for the industry's clean beauty segment.
"We couldn't be in a more timely position in terms of what we've been pushing for as a brand," said Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Kosas launched in 2015 with lipstick before moving on to a full clean color assortment. It recently flexed its personal care muscle by debuting deodorant. The company closed a series B in January, on the tail of revenue in the $50 million to $60 million range in 2019. It's expected to triple that business, according to previous reporting by Glossy.
"I have long believed that the look of beauty was changing. I have long felt alienated from the beauty conversation when you're talking about a makeup routine that requires 15 products or an hour and a half. And I'm a makeup lover, so I know I'm not alone," Yaitanes said.
Some beauty products trickle down from medical use to everyday consumers by happenstance, but Augustinus Bader's skincare line is the opposite, according to the company's CEO Charles Rosier.
Rosier first learned about Professor Augustinus Bader's research around a "wound gel" in a case study involving a young burn victim. "Basically, using that wound gel [Augustinus] was able to prevent skin graft and scarring to that child," Rosier said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "I was really shocked that the thing could exist, but was not widely available."
As Bader -- a professor of stem cell biology at Germany's University of Leipzig -- told Rosier then, he felt that pharmaceutical companies weren't as willing to fund clinical trials because "the number of cases of burned people in the Western world was not so high. Most cases are actually in the third world," he said. "For a pharmaceutical group, it's not necessarily the most valuable customer."
Rosier decided to step in and co-found a consumer-centric version of the company in 2018. He thought a skincare brand could help fuel Bader's greater work -- "he's the brain doing the research, I'm the guy behind the scenes," he said. The line has gone on to earn accolades among Hollywood celebrities for its rejuvenating effect, not just its medical expertise. That was by design -- in lieu of a pricy marketing campaigns or influencers, the company distributed samples through a personal connection in Los Angeles in its early days.
Since then, Augustinus Bader has slowly added new products to its line-up to complement its cult status "The Cream" and "The Rich Cream," which retail for $265. The company expects to earn $70 million in 2020, up from an estimated $24 million in 2019 -- but Rosier doesn't see the company putting dozens of products on store shelves (or online, where it makes most of its sales), despite the demand.
"We can't lie about it. That product is efficient on its own and it nourishes the skin cells' environment so your skin cells make the right decision," Rosier said.
Credo is betting that customers stuck at home are as beauty-minded as always, but that more than ever, they now have the time to do their research about clean beauty.
"Health is what anyone is thinking about right now," Credo co-founder Annie Jackson said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "I think if we didn't have a customer before this and we do now, it's because she's really understanding that investment in health -- really educating herself on certain chemicals and how they could impact health or the environment."
Credo carries items from about 135 brands, according to Jackson, and incentivizes them with "more kudos and marketing" to create transparent packaging -- and to stay away from what Credo considers less-than-clean substances.
Still Jackson doesn't think of clean beauty as an exclusive part of the market anymore. Case in point: the retailer's latest collaboration with Ulta. She talked about the benefits of partnering with Ulta , consumer trends during the pandemic and just how many product submissions Credo entertains on a monthly basis.
Millions of Americans are still out of work as the coronavirus pandemic's ripples through the economy, and many are unlikely to return to the jobs they held a few months ago.
A few companies -- including Stella & Dot, Ever and Keep -- have stepped into that vacuum, offering gig economy work for people willing and able to sell cosmetics, clothes and fashion accessories.
"We really started growing when unemployment was at 8 and 9%. And in some ways you could say the growth of our business was somewhat counter-cyclical, because when people had a greater financial need, not only did you see more people join, but you saw the people that did join work more and earn more," Stella & Dot founder and CEO Jessica Herrin said on the Glossy Podcast of the 2008 final crisis.
The company counts about 30,000 "ambassadors," though the number of people actively selling on a monthly basis is between 8,000 and 10,000, according to Herrin.
Prior to Covid-19, Stella & Dot, Ever and Keep went through a $50 million tech revamp to connect sellers with a digital platform (inspired by Shopify, Pinterest and Polyvore) allowing them to set up a curated selection of products -- a storefront, essentially -- which they can then email or text to customers.
That foresight has been key to surviving as a business during coronavirus.
"Browse commerce is just done," Herrin said. "Who wants to go to a website and search and come up with a thousand options and look for reviews that may or not be real, rather than get a curated assortment texted to you with personalized recommendations?"
Ted Gibson and Jason Backe had to close one business to make another work.
The married couple (a hairstylist and colorist, respectively) and business partners say it took closing down their flagship salon location on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2017 to allow them to rethink their futures. What they landed on was a L.A. smart salon "powered by Amazon," that had no receptionist and no inventory -- their hero product, the Shooting Star Texture Meringue, was not sold in store, but on Amazon.
"We knew that that model of 25 chairs, 12 assistants, a huge front desk staff, the overhead of the product -- we knew that that model was a dinosaur," Backe said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
In the latest Glossy Beauty podcast, Gibson and Backe talk about bouncing back from having just $2,500 in the bank because of Covid-19, how some beauty companies are all talk when it comes to supporting Black businesses and what the salon of the future looks like.
Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter is more than ready for the reckoning coming to monocultural corporations in America.
"Now I can be more vocal about it because I have little to lose," Chuter said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "I didn't start my business to be a billionaire. It was part of me using a platform to speak up against what was going on."
The Nigerian-born founder launched the #PullUpForChange campaign earlier this month, calling for the brands that had come out in support of Black Lives Matter to disclose the number of Black employees on their own payrolls, including those at the corporate and executive level.
"You're not giving them jobs," Chuter said about the brands. "You take their culture, you repackage it and you sell it back to them at a premium. Meanwhile, you're not employing them."
Some beauty companies divulged these statistics, alongside promises to improve, but for Chuter, "pulling up" also means being held accountable for that down the line -- every six months, specifically.
"In six months, some people won't have made much progress. That's reality. Especially right now in the Covid-19 era," she said. "So we want to establish two national days where all national companies pull up for the Black community and let us see."
The Black population makes up 13.4% of the country as a whole, but Black employees only account for 8.6% of Fortune 500 board seats and 3.2% of senior managers, according to data reported in The Economist. According to McKinsey & Company, only 1% of Black business owners get a bank loan in their first year of business, compared with 7% of white business owners. And The Washington Post found that only 1% of founders who have raised venture capital are Black; in 2018, 81% of VC firms didn’t have a single Black investor.
Chuter is ultimately optimistic. "I have to be," she said. By way of solutions, she urged companies to develop executive talent from within a company's ranks while putting out calls for employment at historically Black colleges and universities; to front ad campaigns and messaging with Black models and organizers even at the cost of alienating certain consumers (or investors) who don't understand the moral urgency; and creating diversity boards that exist outside a company's own workforce.
"Unless they're independent, they do not have power to implement change because they answer to you, so they're going to give you the answers that you want to hear," Chuter said. "And that's something that every big company should be thinking of right now."
Beauty companies that fail to bring diverse employees into their teams, for executive-level to entry-level roles, aren't just at risk of failing on a moral front -- they're also leaving money on the table, according to Mented co-founders KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson.
"Money talks. So maybe you don't understand why it's important that I have a lipstick that works for my skin tone, but you can understand that black women outspend their non-black counterparts by 80%," Miller said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "The smart investors got it and they are now investors in a really successful brand, and the other investors didn't. And that's on them"
Miller and Johnson graduated from the same 2014 class at Harvard Business School, and launched Mented in January 2017. Sales grew by roughly 400% in the following year, during which -- after pitching 80 VCs -- they raised a pre-seed investment of $1 million. In 2018, the company raised $3 million in further funding.
In Johnson's view, "Diversity in beauty has always been 'a trend.' Sometimes it's really up, sometimes it's really down. It depends on what models are on the runway, what's chic in a season," she said. "But the reality is people of color have always been around."
Regarding the killing of George Floyd and the protests that continue to sweep the country, Johnson acknowledged the gravity of the climate, especially as black founders and leaders.
"We’re making it," she said. "The thing that continues to brighten the day and push us forward is obviously, our families and our passion for the thing we’re building, but also our customers. We have had some of the most heartfelt emails and social comments over the last couple of months and weeks, whether it was about Covid[-19] or about social injustice, encouraging us to keep going, to keep fighting, that our company matters, that what we're doing is important. Sometimes just that one message is the thing that can keep you going in what is an incredibly difficult day."
The coronavirus pandemic has created more uncertainty for brick-and-mortar locations, but it's an opportunity for companies to ramp up the expertise and service stores were known for digitally.
"That is not going away," Unilever Prestige Group CEO and EVP Vasiliki Petrou said in regard to virtual consultations and other digital innovations. "It just will grow stronger. Being future fit is definitely taking that muscle to the next stage," she said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast of the group's brands such as Tatcha and Murad.
And while that aspect of a brand's presence demands evolution, Petrou thinks that conversely, consumers these days are especially attracted to hero products from the brands they know and love.
"In crisis people tend to go back to the bigger, credible, iconic products versus, let's say, the more 'discovery' ones," Petrou said. "Consumers want to go to a safe haven."
Petrou wouldn't confirm or deny rumors that Unilever Prestige was in talks to acquire British makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury, only teasing that "some [rumors] are true, some are not." But she did explain the company's overall approach to M&A.
"We're always about founder-led brands. We're always looking at new business models, new approaches, whether there's a big idea that's globally relevant, and definitely looking at all categories," Petrou said.
When Murad CEO Michelle Shigemasa turned the skin care company's focus to direct-to-consumer sales versus wholesale last year, it was with the goal of getting to 50% DTC within five years.
Now Shigemasa estimates a much faster timeline. "I think that'll happen in the next two years, max," Shigemasa said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
"We've seen digital sales that frankly surprised us. We knew that they would accelerate, but to this degree, I don't think we understood," she said. Sales on Amazon and Murad's own website have also at last doubled, Shigemasa added.
Like just about every company in the industry, the Unilever-owned brand is aiming to take as much customer engagement as it can online with the onset of Covid-19. Shigemasa called virtual events "One of the big challenges we have on our list that we're working on."
Virtual "skin check-ins," an effort that involved shifting personnel from frozen brick-and-mortar outlets -- including Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s and Nordstrom -- have led to 300-400 appointments a day, she said
Considering the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Shigemasa sees no reason to look back. "When we look forward at brick-and-mortar, I'm not sure they'll ever be the same, to be frank."
In beauty, Biologique Recherche is the industry's definition of a cult brand. The French skincare company's products are only available in a limited assortment of spas globally, despite regular inbound requests from retailers. And on partners' digital sites, product prices are at first hidden; viewers must log in to see what they're in for. That might seem like a tough sell in a world where brick-and-mortar is struggling or still shut down because of Covid-19, and every beauty brand is multiplying its online reach to keep customers engaged and purchasing.
But interest in Biologique Recherche's kind of beauty is on the rise, according to U.S. general manager Laura Gerchik. This is especially true online, where the the treatment brand has found a voice by leaning into virtual consultations and social media posts led by aestheticians.
"The online piece of the puzzle for us has always been about not diluting our brand equity, meaning that we really want online to be like a store experience," Gerchik said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Telemedicine visits may be up, but people have less usual access to their doctors and other hair specialists (like stylists and plastic surgeons) for less than urgent care.
Hair and wellness company Nutrafol works with more than 1,500 specialists, using them as their frontline to reach consumers with their clinically tested products. "We started to sell in doctors' offices, we started to sell in salons, because people trust their stylist," Tsetis said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "Their stylist is never going to recommend something that they truly don't believe in. They're not salespeople."
At least, that was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold and lockdowns around the world began. Nutrafol reacted by creating a platform for those experts on its DTC site. "We did this in about three weeks. And this platform really enabled product sales in the professional channel while salons and offices are closed," Tsetis said. "It's a typical drop-ship model."
A slump in customer acquisition costs "because a lot of other companies reduced advertising spending" has helped contribute to it. In April, according to Tsetis, Nutrafol's CAC cost fell 30% alongside a tripling of new customers.
Tsetis talked about the importance of treating hair loss, especially as stress is at an all-time hight, steady sales growth on Amazon and how the company has avoided Covid-19-related layoffs.
Biossance president Catherine Gore has always considered skin care as medically significant, and believes customers will be more inclined to share that thinking as coronavirus lockdowns continue around the world. "Our skin is our largest organ, and it's also our first line of defense against outside aggressors," Gore said on the latest Glossy Beauty podcast.
Education is a big part of Biossance's marketing strategy and value to customers. One of Biossance's central ingredients for skin care, for instance, is squalane, which it derives biochemically from sugar cane -- the larger cosmetics industry sourced a similar squalene (with an e) from a not-so-vegan source: shark liver.
That makes a big difference for the typical customer who has more time to do her research, according to Gore: "What's actually driving her is a curiosity to do better for her own skin and the planet and to make better choices," she said.
Korean-based and -inspired beauty companies expanded rapidly in the U.S. and globally in the last few years, but AmorePacific turned to e-commerce sooner than others, a saving grace in this coronavirus climate.
"E-commerce was already very top of mind for us. This just sped that up. Right now, our penetration of our own brand dot coms has already doubled for year to date," Jessica Hanson, the company's U.S. president and general manager said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "
In the U.S., Amorepacific sells its portfolio brands Amorepacific, Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Innisfree, Mamonde, Primera and IOPE. The company closed all 10 of its brick-and-mortar Innisfree stores in the U.S. on March 17, the same day as Sephora, where five of its brands are sold.
And though the pandemic has halted those retail sales, Hanson said that customer loyalty is strong enough to keep sales afloat, especially on the domestic front. "The biggest piece of the luxury business has been in that traveler. And that's what is lost right now," Hanson said. "The level of travel is just not happening anywhere in the globe. But domestic sales have not shifted."
Beautycounter isn't your typical beauty brand. Given its network of roughly 50,000 independent consultants marketing and selling its products, company founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew feels "an enormous sense of responsibility to make sure that we are operationally sound," she said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
"I say it's both our opportunity and our responsibility right now," she said of the company's place amid the current coronavirus' outbreak. "Because it may be just a three-month, short term gig for them." But for others, she added, it could be a way to "continue to pay their mortgages, their rent, when other things have dried up."
Renfrew said Beautycounter has seen a rise in younger consultants joining as a way not just to make money, but to find community in a time of frequent isolation.
Overall, she thinks the pandemic will amplify the advantage of direct-to-consumer businesses like hers. "I think the wholesalers in general are in a lot of trouble right now. I hope some of them weather the storm. I think some of them will not, unfortunately," she said.
RéVive Skincare CEO Elana Drell-Szyfer has been in the beauty industry long enough to weather past global crises. "I've lived through them all," she said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, in reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis.
But this is her first time at a smaller, independently-owned company. Drell-Szyfer was at L'Oréal and Estée Lauder Companies, respectively, during those past challenges.
"I think the measures are the same, you just feel them much more acutely, probably because your resources are much more constrained and the effects are much more immediate," Drell-Szyfer said of Covid-19's impact on RéVive
RéVive felt the effects of the pandemic early, because of its large customer base in China -- the company expanded to Tmall, Little Red Book and Taobao last year, and 15-30% of its customers in the U.S. are actually Chinese tourists.
"Even before the virus spread to the West, we were going to re-forecast our year based on things that were happening in China," Drell-Szyfer said. "And then of course March hit."
The company is adapting much the way every sector is: by taking previously offline efforts into the virtual world, from deskside promotions (where the company representatives present products to customers, influencers and reporters where they work) to meetings with retailers. "I don't think it's been a hindrance to communication at all," Drell-Szyfer said.
Despite the concept of luxury "revenge buying" RéVive is still anticipating lean times, projecting no domestic demand in April and May. "Domestically, we're essentially expecting no orders -- or that's how we're projecting our own cash flows, from a very conservative perspective," she said.
Sylvie Chantecaille has no illusions about the commercial difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Basically our business went dead overnight," she said of her eponymous prestige beauty company, Chantecaille, where she serves as president and CEO.
And whereas her industry competitors anticipate a run back to stores once the world-spanning practices of social distancing soften, Chantecaille isn't so sure.
"Before we could figure out 'Neiman's will buy this, Nordstrom will buy that, Saks will buy this.' Now we have no idea. We don't know what they're going to buy, if they can buy, if there's anyone to buy. And if they're going to be there!" Chantecaille said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
She added that the beauty business is now focusing on survival, and assumed that its revenue forecast for 2020 is down 30% (the company doubled its retail sales in 2018 to $200 million, and has grown since then, according to Chantecaille).
At the same time, the company's forced focus on e-commerce has seen that side of the business mushroom. "We did last month the amount of money we do in six months normally," Chantecaille said.
That focus concerns Asian markets in particular, where the company is working with KOLs in China and doing direct videos on Taobao.
Chantecaille talked about how she considers Amazon "the death of retail," her ideas for Chantecaille's future product direction and how people want to wear makeup even just for video calls.
Like many entrepreneurs, hair colorist Josh Wood has had to change how he does business in the midst of the pandemic.
"We have no salon operations at the moment, but boy oh boy, the DTC has gone crazy," Wood said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast, regarding product sales.
Wood founded Josh Wood Colour a year and a half ago, after 30 years of working as a hair colorist and 20 as the owner of a salon in London.
The company has transitioned its hair stylists and colorists to instead head up video consultations and live chats, and it soon plans to publish tutorials on finding the right hair color product and how to apply it at home -- which was always a big part of Josh Wood Colour's business.
"It's only through DTC that I can really have direct communication," said Wood.
Overall, Wood said the pandemic is "really giving me and the team great creativity and great bandwidth to be able to really think how we can best support our person at home with every element of what they need."
Wood joined the Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about the market gap he saw before starting his own color line, the emotional value of keeping to a beauty regime even while in isolation and his huge respect for competitor Madison Reed.
BeautyBio founder and CEO Jamie O'Banion describes part of her job as "always thinking through worst-case scenario and planning for it." With the coronavirus pandemic overtaking consumers' health and simultaneously slowing down the U.S. and global economy, that scenario is now -- with one respite, according to O'Banion.
"Most beauty brands are really seeing this hockey-stick revenue uptick, the back half of the year," she said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "So from a timing perspective, I think as an industry we're all grateful. If there was a time for this to happen -- which god forbid, we would never wish it upon anyone -- I think we're all really grateful that this is the time of year."
BeautyBio, which sells skin care products and a micro-needling tool, had been looking to expand considerably into brick-and-mortar this year. That included plans for 50 Sephora stores this month with the the remaining 400 Sephora stores in the U.S. by fall. It had also planned launches in Australia through Mecca and Sephora’s Southeast Asia in Q2.
Now O'Banion sees her company's omnichannel sales capability as a strength against the pandemic's devastating blow to physical retail. "That was a really important initiative to me in the last five years. My number one goal was making sure that we were never totally exposed by single-channel distribution," she said. "And I think [now] it's going to help brands really pause and think about their overall distribution strategy."
In the episode, O'Banion also talked about the importance of keeping the company's team together and the test of marketing and messaging in today's climate.
Sasha Plavsic is pretty clear that she picked the right beauty category to start a business in. "The clean category, as they're calling it now, is on an extreme growth pattern," Plavsic said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast, calling it "one of the fastest categories in Sephora, if not the market in general."
Plavsic founded Ilia Beauty in 2011, a few years after turning 30 and returning to her hometown of Vancouver. "I had left the guy, left the job and was really searching for something new," Plavsic said.
What started as a brand that sold mostly lip products soon became a hot newcomer for complexion and eye products. Though known for those products, lip sales went from 60% to 15% of Ilia Beauty's business after building on other clean product categories." That's not uncommon if you're growing in complexion, but what really took over for us was our mascara," Plavsic said.
Ilia Beauty is now carried across approximately 200 doors at Sephora, Plavsic said. Seeking to fuel continued growth, the company raised Series B funding in January, not long after its first funding round in 2018.
This episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast was recorded prior to the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for Ilia Beauty said in a statement that the company is "monitoring the situation daily regarding the coronavirus and will adjust accordingly as needed with our forecasts. Like many businesses in our position we believe it is very early still, and too soon to make an estimated guess on what to expect. We have not yet re-evaluated our 2020 revenue projections."
With ample funds for retail, marketing and product, Plavsic talked about what the white space she originally felt in the market and the broader demographic for clean beauty products.
When Kim Kardashian 'broke the internet' by way of a photo shoot in Paper magazine, Drew Elliott was its chief creative officer. Now a few months into his new role as global creative director at MAC Cosmetics, he sees continuity between the two roles.
"If pop culture could be a brand of cosmetics, it would be MAC. So to me, it was just a new kind of editorial challenge," Elliott said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Indeed the Estée Lauder Companies-owned brand has its own ways of working with influencers and driving shoppers' attention in the age of social media. Those include its latest collaboration with "Euphoria" star Alexa Demie and campaign ideas that come from influencers themselves.
Elliott talked about how the world of influencers is changing, MAC's mission and of course, that notorious photo shoot.
Lilli Gordon knew she wanted to start a beauty company before even settling on its place in the market.
"I was studying the landscape because I had this crazy idea that I wanted to start my own beauty company. You know, me and thousands of other ladies and men," Gordon said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
The niche that skin care brand First Aid Beauty would come to fill in 2009 was to sit between "very clinical" companies like Eucerin and Aquaphor and the prestige offerings that seemed to only address one thing: "the challenge of aging," Gordon said.
Gordon launched First Aid Beauty in 2009 with Sephora and QVC. Sans conglomerate support, the company's products are also now widely available at Ulta stores in the U.S., too. International expansion was made possible, Gordon said, by FAB's $250 million acquisition by Procter & Gamble in 2018.
Ahead, Gordon talks about beauty's white spaces, the reason she wanted to sell her company and the difference between Gen-Z and millennial shoppers.
Before co-founding Kopari Beauty with Kiana Cabell, James Brennan and her husband Bryce, Gigi Goldman was already using its star ingredient with abandon. "I don’t know if you’ve seen ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ where they use Windex to solve all their problems -- well, I was that way with coconut oil," Goldman said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
At the time she was a stay-at-home mom concerned about the best natural products to use while raising three children. After starting the company in 2015, the brand is one of the leaders in the body care category; Kopari products include deodorants, scrubs, toothpaste, masks and sexual wellness products.
These items are found at a number of retailers including Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters, but you won't find every Kopari Beauty product at each of these stores. "We tailor our assortment to each retailer, and we collaborate with them to see what's really going to be mutually beneficial for each," Goldman said. "You have to consider price point, you have to consider assortment, you have to consider if it's a lifestyle store."
Goldman talked about acquisition rumors, the company's recent foray into CBD, what makes coconut oil a hero ingredient and the company's efforts to build homes in the Philippines, where their coconuts are sourced.
"We've been in failed startups, we've been in tough times in early days," said The Inkey List co-founder Mark Curry. But Curry credited early business non-starts for the cautious and measured way he and co-founder Colette Laxton are stewarding their latest company, The Inkey List, a skin care line with products under $15.
"With The Inkey List, it was all of our learnings that we took of what worked [and] what didn't work," Laxton said. Curry, for his part, had a prior life starting a female feminine care line way before sexual wellness products were making a splash in beauty retailers.
Further trial-and-error was methodic. Laxton and Curry incubated several beauty lines via its umbrella company, Be for Beauty, before landing on its hitmaker.
Since debuting in the U.K. in late 2018, The Inkey List is available exclusively in Sephora in the U.S., as well as in select channels in Southeast Asia. As the brand has grown over the last two years, education is a big part of The Inkey List's awareness plans, even if consumers use said information to then buy the brand's products elsewhere or buy from other companies entirely.
"We want to be the brand that gives the consumer the right information to help them," Laxton said. The company plans on launching "Ask Inkey," a 24/7 chat service for anyone with a question or concern about skin care or ingredients. The brand is also in the midst of retooling its website.
Despite their insistence on careful growth, Curry said he hopes The Inkey List will "be a $100 million brand."
The founders joined the Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about properly educating consumers, biding their time and how past failures helped them finally succeed.
When E.l.f. Cosmetics went public in 2016 after a majority investment from TPG just two years earlier, it seemed like the sky was the limit for the millennial-minded beauty brand.
"E.l.f. has always been this brand that had the best of beauty, but made it accessible at these incredible price points," E.l.f. Chairman and CEO Tarang Amin said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
The company had just reached about $100 million in yearly sales when TPG invested -- in part by cracking how to sell $1 priced makeup online -- and was growing 20% annually, according to Amin. But 2018 saw a slump in both the company's sales and relevance online.
"For us it seemed like death," Amin said.
The year-long slowing of color cosmetic sales overall didn't help his outlook. E.l.f. closed its 22 standalone stores in February 2019. But freeing up $13.7 million in capital helped the company focus on e-commerce and wholesale via its "Project Unicorn" plan to turn the business around.
Thanks to a repackaging campaign (favoring colors, not just black); a renewed focus on fewer, but better prestige-level products; and a TikTok brand challenge, E.l.f. has seen four quarters of growth. And in many cases, the company has bested its competitors in the makeup segment.
Amin talked about the ongoing headwinds in the color cosmetics category, the white space opening up in India, the company's plan for incubation and M&A and his indifference, at first, to the rise of influencer-driven brands.
When Francesco Clark started experimenting with skin care formulas, it was to help himself. At 24, a diving accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.
That might sound like the beginning of Clark's Botanicals, the skin care company he founded, but it took a nudge from his former boss, Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey. She applied the contents of a glass vial that Clark's sister, Charlotte, had spirited away from the founder's home laboratory at a visit a decade ago.
"I got home and I was incredibly embarrassed because I was kind of like, 'Charlotte, this is not a brand.'"
Bailey called a few weeks later to insist that she feature the product in Harper's Bazaar's September issue. The ball was in Clark's court to package his homemade product ("'make it look chic,'") into something marketable. Clark's Botanicals launched in stores that same year.
Though the brand has been on roller-coaster ride the last four years -- Clark bought back his company last year after relying on private equity funding in 2016 -- he is feeling bullish about the future.
"You have to remove yourself from it, you have to look at the business holistically and how committed your customers will be to the brand after it is acquired," Clark said. "If the investment means the brand is growing in the right ways, then you should do it."
As a makeup artist for 25 years, Rea Ann Silva was intimately familiar with the pain points for those in her line of work. She tried to avoid bringing unwieldy airbrush kits on set when she could, and worked hard to create natural-looking makeup looks for high-definition video without much product.
"My main and number one concern was creating and making a product that was effective," Silva said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast of her hero makeup sponge, the Beautyblender. "I figured that my audience would be other makeup artists like myself."
Millions of product sales later -- and a reported $175 million in sales for 2019 -- Silva have proven her Beautyblender is anything but a niche product.
On this week's episode, Silva talked about how "retailers didn't really get" Beautyblender at first, learning from influencers and the critical opinions of her foundation launch.
Annie Lawless is on a mission to make clean makeup as luxurious as its classic counterparts.
"As a makeup girl who loves full coverage and wears a full face of makeup every day, I just couldn't find clean products on the market that performed the way a lot of the conventional makeup I was used to using did," Lawless said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Though clean skin care had trickled down to consumers, thanks to brands like Drunk Elephant, clean makeup was largely still unchartered territory.
"It seemed so crazy to me that I was spending more on clean skin care and then putting those ingredients right back on my face five minutes later with my makeup," she said. "We've all put on lipstick, and an hour later, it's off. Where did it go? I mean, we ate it, essentially," Lawless said.
In the latest Glossy Beauty podcast, Lawless talked about her brand founder story, what she thinks of acquisition and how why she's eager to get back to basics.
Scott Oshry didn't get into the beauty industry because of a life-long love of cosmetics or hair care. He, alongside his college friend Sean Brosmith, created the CD storage sleeve in the early 90s, which solved a basic need through design.
Still, as he put it on the Glossy Beauty Podcast, that experience of making a suite of successful products informed Oshry's work as partner and CMO of beauty brand incubator Maesa. Though Maesa has been in business for 25 years and helped build private label lines for Target, Zara and H&M, largely in the fragrance category, it has shifted its focus to get companies like Flower Beauty, Hairtage by Mindy McKnight, Kristin Ess and Believe Beauty off the ground.
Before starting Flower Beauty with Drew Barrymore, for instance, Oshry recalled the moment when he realized that "instead of building up other people's brands, we should be building up our own."
In this way, Maesa went from a hit-maker behind the scenes to one that has just started to flaunt its prowess publicly -- a majority stake from Bain Capital in 2019 certainly helped.
"We're a 25-year-old company, so we've constantly been growing," Oshry said. "We grew at about 50% just domestically last year, and we'll grow another 60% domestically this year," he added. In 2020, Maesa expects to reach $310 million in revenue.
Sarah Kugelman compares having her products dropped from Sephora stores to “being on a date with someone you really like and them not wanting to go out with you again.”
Sales at Sephora’s 200 stores represented 80% of Skyn Iceland’s business, until the beauty retailer cut the cord in 2010, a consequence Kugelman chalks up to the recession.
“There were a lot of big brands that initially didn’t want to be at Sephora that now needed the distribution, and so we couldn’t compete with them on a dollars per square foot basis,” Kugelman said on this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. ”
Today, Skyn Iceland has moved on. The company brought in $20 million in 2019, a 50% increase over its 2018 sales. Partnering with Ulta Beauty was a big part of the company’s rebirth.
“I heard ‘No’ so many times from Ulta, but I just kept trying and trying, and one day they said, ‘Yes, come in for a meeting.'”
This was back when Ulta wasn’t exactly seen as a prestige player, but Kugelman thought she was on to the next big bet.
“I looked around and said ‘What’s going to be the next frontier?’ ‘What’s going to be the next distribution channel that’s going to create that inflection point for brands?’ And I thought that was Ulta,” Kugelman said.”Luckily, I was right.”
On this week of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Kugelman talked about the difficult years between Skyn Iceland’s partnership with Sephora versus Ulta, the value of taking one’s business to an international level and why not everyone can become the next Drunk Elephant.
Most businesses start with an idea before getting the right resources to make a product. With Beekman 1802, it was the other way around. Founders Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge had bought a farm together in upstate New York in 2006. Once they lost their New York City jobs in the recession that followed, they had their mortgage to pay and a bevy of goats (owned by a friendly neighbor of theirs, grazing on their land).
"We Googled 'What can we make with goat milk?'" Ridge said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. The first thing that came up, unsurprisingly, was cheese. "But you have to become a Grade A certified dairy, and there's a lot of expenses with that. The next thing on the list was goat milk soap."
Ten years later, their beauty business is a successful one -- it accounts for 90% of company sales. This is in no small part thanks to the couple's skill at marketing it on air at QVC and HSN (by way of Evine, now ShopHQ), Facebook Live and YouTube.
"I always say TV retail is like door-to-door sales except you are knocking on 120 million doors at once," Kilmer-Purcell said.
Ridge added, "That's what unlocked the potential of the brand. Otherwise we'd have just kept growing very slowly, very organically."
The two joined the Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about starting the business with "less than zero" dollars, cold calling department stores and their interest in investment considering the very ripe beauty M&A scene.
8Greens founder Dawn Russell got the idea for her wellness business a painful way: by surviving a terrible diagnosis.
"I hate to start the conversation with cancer, but it really was what brought me into what I'm doing today," Russell said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. "I got a bone infection and couldn't do chemo or radiation. I traveled the world for many years trying to find treatments to compensate for that, just to end up back in my little apartment in the West Village going back to the basics of food. That's when greens really started to come into my life."
8Greens' first product, a round tablet of dehydrated greens is meant to be dissolved in a glass of water and debuted in 2016; the company recently rolled out its gummy format in October. Both products are not only meant for those facing health challenges, which is why 8Greens is available at retailers like Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Sephora and Amazon. However, its DTC subscription model brings in more than 60% of 8Greens' revenue, Russell said.
"I want it to be easy. Health should not be so difficult and intimidating and trendy," she said.
Russell joined the Glossy Beauty Podcast to talk about the product's numerous prototypes, her company's surprisingly smooth relationship with Amazon and plans to enter the U.K. in 2020.
Vintner's Daughter founder April Gargiulo is the first person to tell you that her product doesn't come cheap. Consider the brand's hero Active Botanical Serum, which retails for $185.
On the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Gargiulo insisted this price was despite leaner margins than what the beauty industry typically sticks to.
"They are criminal, as far as I'm concerned," she said. "If I priced the Active Botanical Serum based on traditional beauty margins, it would be well in the $400 range."
Gargiulo joined the our show to talk about how she started a single-product brand before it was the norm, her Asian market distribution strategy and the pressure to make sure her brand's second product just as much of a hit as her first.
Beach House Group has launched four companies in the last 12 months, including Millie Bobby Brown's Florence by Mills and Tracee Ellis Ross' Pattern Beauty. While it may seem fast and furious, when founder Shaun Neff joined the company in 2016 he planned to shake up Beach House's model, from a private label partner for Target to full-fledged brands that responded to a white space.
"I wanted to build more brands," Neff said.
Now Beach House Group's brands are on track to bring in $100 million by the end of the year, Neff said at a live podcast taping at the Glossy Beauty and Wellness Summit held in Palm Springs, California last week. With Glossy Beauty host Priya Rao, Neff discussed the importance of teaming up with (the right) celebrities, what's next for Beach House Group in 2020 and the simple way he comes up with new product ideas.
One nutritious meal doesn't mean a healthy diet, nor does going for something deep-fried once in a while mean you're will you be doomed. That's part of why Sakara Life, a meal and wellness delivery service founded by Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, doesn't tell you what you can and can't eat outside of its ready-to-consume products.
They're instead focused on what they ship to customers, including four to six cups of greens every day.
Tingle and DuBoise joined the Glossy Beauty podcast to talk about how they changed their stressful lifestyles by starting their company in 2012, how they grew it from a $700 investment into a team of 150 employees that brings in "many millions" in revenue, why Seamless isn't necessarily the cheaper choice and their recent launch with Sephora.
Serial entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore has no trouble calling out ineffective or unfair practices in beauty. "When you buy a $99 cream, you're probably getting something that's worth about $6," said the Bliss and Soap & Glory founder.
Tired of the markup that working with a retailer requires, Kilgore launched her latest project, Beauty Pie, a direct-to-consumer membership service. Customers pay monthly fees that then go toward buying products at prices much closer to manufacturing costs. "We're charging one-tenth of what a normal beauty company would charge," she said.
Kilgore joined the Glossy Beauty podcast to talk about her previous experience at Bliss and Soap & Glory, the typical Beauty Pie customer and the road to profitability.
Today, the Glossy Beauty Podcast turns 1. If you've been listening, you know that, every week, we speak with the people making change happen in the beauty and wellness industries.
For this special anniversary episode, we’ve rounded up three clips from the most popular interviews of the last year.
When Virtue Labs founder and CEO Melisse Shaban was first introduced to a new technical process for extracting keratin, which promised to upend the world of hair care, she was skeptical. "These guys sold me hard that they had a very unique piece of technology that would revolutionize the skin- and hair-care businesses," she said on the latest episode of Glossy Beauty podcast. "And I was sort of like, 'Hmm, I've heard that before in my lifetime.'" (Shaban was previously the CEO of StriVectin and Frederic Fekkai, the latter before it was sold to Procter & Gamble.)
But to her surprise, that technology lived up to the hype. Virtue Labs dedicates 15 employees to extracting keratin -- the protein integral to hair and nails -- from human hair before reintroducing it into shampoos, conditioners and hair masks. The result leaves customers' hair stronger, healthier and fuller -- all of which are adjectives being shouted by every beauty brand in Sephora, Ulta and CVS. "When you overdeliver on promises that people have heard for their entire lives, people are shocked. And they're thankful."
Shaban joined the Glossy Beauty podcast to talk about keratin, old school marketing and the technology her brand relies on, which was first invented by an Iraq War veteran seeking to treat battle wounds.
Amanda Chantal Bacon is often ranked alongside Gwyneth Paltrow when it comes to seminal figures in wellness. But that's not to say she's fully comfortable with it. "I try to stay out of the fray of what the wellness world has become, which is odd, because I'm smack dab in the center of it, and have probably contributed to a lot of everything that I shy away from now," Chantal Bacon said on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
"And so what can I do -- I do feel like I was there and helped create a bit of this beast -- to really stay true to the mission and to spread that to my team?"
Talking about it in earnest is one way to address the problem. Chantal Bacon also seeks to live out her values with Moon Juice, which opened its first shop in Venice, California in 2011 and carries products that offer more than what you'll find in just about any grocery store or gas station these days.
"What would be the difference between a Moon Juice with some type of pasteurization on it in a cute juice shop, and a juice for maybe $2.99 in a grocery store that's the same blend and organic?" she asked. "It would really be the difference of a label. So that didn't feel worthwhile. Herbs, though, that was something that when you scale it, it makes sense. Your costs go down. You're able to reach more people. Supplements are actually something that you need scale for safety reasons alone."
In the latest Glossy Beauty podcast, Chantal Bacon discussed Moon Juice's focus on research over marketing ("people are always surprised to find out that we really don't spend any money on marketing"), the company's use of Instagram and its move into beauty and skincare products.
Zoë Foster Blake, the founder and chief creative office of DTC-first company Go-To Skin Care, has found many opposing marketing dynamics between her home country of Australia compared to the U.S.
"In Australia, I say that we're not really taking customers from other brands, but instead, we're creating new skin-care customers," said Foster Blake. "These are women who have never tried a sheet mask or a face oil, or worn SPF. And we're saying, 'Hey, it's really easy, and it can be fun.'" Though coming to the U.S. has been more challenging given the competitive landscape, via its sole partnership with Sephora, 80% of the brand's U.S. sales are now through retail versus online. In Australia, it is an even split.
Foster Blake joined beauty editor Priya Rao to talk about the brand's potential for venture funding ("In Australia, it doesn't really happen," she said), the originality of the DTC model and the outsized importance of influencers in the U.S.
This week, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Bobbi Brown, the CEO of Beauty Evolution and founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Brown discusses her career's origin story in unwittingly creating the "no makeup" makeup look, her stint as Yahoo's beauty editor ("which was amazing for someone who doesn't know how to type"), and why 2016 was high time for her to leave Estée Lauder Companies.
This week, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Anne Maza, the co-owner and vice president of sales and marketing at hair brand Olivia Garden. Maza discusses evolving a 52-year-old brand for today's customer, walking the line between the professional and consumer hair segments, and protecting the company's top quality products against counterfeits.
This week, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Katia Beauchamp, CEO and co-founder of Birchbox, the company that sends monthly packages with a few samples of beauty products -- after that, it's up to the user to determine whether they want to take their relationship with this or that swatch of makeup to the next level. Katia discusses establishing Birchbox's appeal to the everyday beauty consumer, its recent partnership with Walgreens, and its plans for international expansion.
This week, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Nicola Kilner, CEO and co-founder of Deciem, umbrella company to cult-favorite skin-care brand The Ordinary. Kilner discusses why demand should lead product supply, why fashion retailers make good partners and how Deciem is faring following founder Brandon Truaxe’s removal from the company and subsequent death early this year.
In two short years, direct-to-consumer company Hims launched a sister brand Hers, raised nearly $200 million in funding and became one of few digital-only unicorns. And it all started with taking medicines like finasteride and sildenafil (better known by brand names Propecia and Viagra, respectively), and repositioning them with the end customer in mind. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Hilary Coles, cofounder and vice president of product development at Hims and Hers, sits down with Glossy's Priya Rao to discuss whether telemedicine is wellness, how Hims and Hers have evolved their out-of-the-box engagement efforts, and what the company is planning for retail.
Michael Bumgarner was not an avid beauty consumer before launching his CBD skin-care brand Cannuka in 2017, but he did have a history in rural farming that led him to see the power of cannabis. "Because of my background in farming, I got really interested in industrial hemp, and I wanted to create a brand that was very much approachable to the canna-curious consumer," he said. "Looking at the cannabis industry, we saw a big gap in products being developed specifically for that consumer, and so we looked at it as an opportunity to reintroduce cannabis in a different way." Shortly after the Farm Bill passed in December 2018, Cannuka ramped up distribution in nearly all Ulta stores, as well as at Free People, Anthropologie, Riley Rose and Neiman Marcus. On this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Bumgarner sits down with Glossy’s Priya Rao to discuss why betting on a direct-to-consumer strategy was not viable, why retailers are taking a risk on cannabis and how making a splash in skin care will open the door for cannabis wellness products and ingestibles.
When beauty influencer and content creator Jackie Aina got her start on YouTube over a decade ago, her very new, public persona wasn't something she necessarily wanted to shout from the roof tops. "If you were a YouTuber in 2009 you were a weirdo," she said. "People were like, 'You're literally talking to yourself' and you're recording the process, so it wasn't something that I was like, 'Oh guys, look what I'm doing.' Clearly, that has changed today as Aina has a 5 million-plus social following across platforms. Her take on beatuy extends to culture, which is why some of the most talked about brands in beauty, like Too Faced and Anastasia Beverly Hills, have come knocking on her door. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Aina sits down with Glossy's Priya Rao to discuss developing her social voice, the business of being an influencer and yes, the Kardashians.
Perfect Corp. is on a mission to transform the beauty industry through AR and AI innovation. For Alice Chang, the CEO of the Taiwanese tech company, it all started when she realized the power of giving someone the tools to make themselves feel beautiful. Founded in 2014, the tech company has launched a series of AR apps, like YouCam Perfect, which uses a 'beautify' function and other photo editing software to help users craft the perfect selfie. Perfect Corp. has also partnered with brands and retailers, such as Ulta, to create an in-store, virtual try-on experience, so customers can interact with cosmetics before committing to a purchase. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Chang to discuss how Perfect Corp. is marrying tech and beauty, how it's individualizing in-store AR experiences for each brand, and how AI could revolutionize a consumer's beauty experience.
Unlike those suddenly hopping on the bandwagon, Robert Rosenheck has been working in cannabis for years. Growing up in a conservative family, Rosenheck avoided the recreational drug until finally sampling it with some friends during his senior year of college. He found it gave him a temporary release from the depression he had been struggling with for years. A few short years later, after a rock climbing accident left him with a broken ankle and chronic pain, he discovered that topicals infused with cannabis helped alleviate some of his suffering. In 2013, Rosenheck and his wife, Cindy Capobianco, decided it was time to create a brand of their own that celebrated cannabis. Thus, Lord Jones was born. Over the past six years, Lord Jones has garnered endorsements from celebs like Mandy Moore, entered retail partnerships with SoulCycle and Sephora, and most recently, announced a $300 million acquisition from Canadian pot company Cronos. But with all of the brand's success, Rosenheck said the stigma and confusing regulations surrounding CBD and cannabis remain big challenges. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Lord Jones founder and CEO Robert Rosenheck sits down with Glossy's Priya Rao to discuss what makes a quality CBD product, what makes SoulCycle and Sephora the perfect retail partners, and whether the brand will branch out to THC.
Since its launch in 2012, Violet Grey has made a name for itself among multi-brand beauty retailers, thanks to a carefully curated selection of products that helps consumers cut through the clutter and get straight to the good stuff. As the company continues to grow and develop its offering, it's making a big push toward content and storytelling, to help consumers learn what Violet Grey is and what it stands for, said CEO April Uchitel. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Uchitel to discuss how Violet Grey differentiates itself from other retailers, how it's using editorial content to make luxury seem more accessible and how it's strategizing to build brand awareness.
John Demsey has spent over 13 years working at the Estée Lauder Companies, and throughout that time, he has seen the beauty industry go through massive changes. He's come to realize there's one thing about beauty that will never change: It will always be a good business opportunity, because people will always want to look good. For Demsey, the focus of the company has always been luxury products and authentic relationships with consumers. As consumer behavior has shifted in favor of digital, the company has had to find new ways to translate the personal connection and keep customers coming back. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with group president of the Estée Lauder Companies, John Demsey, to discuss how Estée Lauder strikes the perfect balance of product and brand identity, blurs the lines between cosmetics and skin care, and remains a pure-play in luxury beauty.
When Esi Eggleston Bracey began her career nearly three decades ago at Proctor & Gamble, she wanted to find a way to help brands solve the problems their consumers were experiencing in their everyday lives. When she began working with Covergirl, she realized that not only did she love the industry, but also that it was chock-full of problems for her to solve. Now, in her position as evp and COO of beauty and personal care at Unilever North America, and faced with the rise of independent beauty disruptors, Eggleston Bracey is finding ways to keep the CPG giant modern and competitive. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Eggleston Bracey to discuss why she wanted to be at a company that puts beauty at the forefront, how a shift in consumer values has impacted her brands, and how she decides between the incubation, acquisition and pivoting of brands.
In 2013, Patrick Starrr was working as a makeup artist at MAC, but when the company started cutting his time at the counter, he found himself searching for a way to share his looks with the world. That's when he decided to start a YouTube channel. Now, six years and over 4 million subscribers later, Starrr has turned his hobby into a successful career as a beauty influencer and content creator. Part of this growth has come from expanding his content to all major platforms. According to Starrr, he's able to maintain a successful cross-platform strategy by creating excitement for each. Starrr has also earned numerous brand partnerships, his most recent being a five-collection launch with MAC Cosmetics. Recently, he started his own influencer management agency called The Beauty Coop. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Starrr to discuss why he looks at brand partnerships like any other relationship, why he thinks a successful influencer is one who's brand agnostic and what the driving force was behind The Beauty Coop.
When Stacy Panagakis took the helm as CEO of LimeCrime just over a year ago, at the same time it was acquired by Tengram Capital, she was thrilled by the untapped potential of the brand. Since stepping into the role, Panagakis has helped the brand expand its product offering into new categories, such as hair, as well as into new markets in the U.S. and beyond. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Panagakis to discuss how LimeCrime is partnering with Ulta, how it's utilizing AR to transform education, and why it's putting partnerships and collaborations at the center of its marketing strategy.
On this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Drunk Elephant Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Tiffany Masterson sits down with beauty editor Priya Rao to discuss building a clean brand before that label existed, the challenges of fostering community on social media and what she would need to sell her company.
When Tom Seery started content and reviews site RealSelf in 2006, he wanted to create an honest and accessible resource for people seeking information on cosmetic aesthetics and plastic surgery by focusing on user generated content. Twelve years, 2 million reviews and a fresh round of funding later, Seery saud RealSelf is positioning itself as the Yelp of "modern beauty." On this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Seery, the founder and CEO of RealSelf, to discuss his approach to experiential marketing, the casualization of injections and the plans for the company's latest round of funding.
When Rob Robillard, vp of integrated beauty at QVC and HSN, started his job eight years ago, he knew there was a lot of untapped potential for modernizing these legacy retail brands. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Robillard to discuss some of the ways he's contributed to giving the brands new life, including relaunching Beauty Bash, introducing private-label brands and introducing a clean beauty standard.
The world of beauty is rapidly evolving due to the impact of popular indie brands, and the hair-care category is no exception. Niche hair-care brands are finding success by sticking with one focus, whether it's a hair texture, color and or style. The secret, according to DevaCurl CEO Robert Schaeffler is being small and nimble, which allows the brand to adapt to its customers in a way the larger players simply can't. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Schaeffler to discuss the perks of being a niche brand, the benefits of experiential events, and the differences between influencers and brand ambassadors.
When Katherine Power co-founded fashion and lifestyle brand WhoWhatWear in 2012, she wanted to democratize fashion. Now she is taking on clean beauty with a new brand, Versed. Just this week, Versed launched in 1,400 doors around the country, with an assortment of 19 different products, all under $20. The brand is currently sold both in Target stores and on a direct-to-consumer brand site, which according to Power, will be focused on replenishment orders and education. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Powers, the co-founder and CEO of WhoWhatWear and Versed, to discuss the impetus for launching the new beauty brand, the way consumer data played a role in its development and the reason Target is the perfect wholesale partner.
When Dino Ha first founded Memebox seven years ago, he wanted to find a way to bring K-beauty to new audiences, especially in the United States. But as time went on and his company grew, he realized that there was a disconnect between the brand's product offering and the consumers it was trying to reach, so he decided to do something about it. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Memebox founder and CEO Dino Ha sits down with Priya Rao to discuss why he is not afraid to evolve his business model, how he is tapping into pop culture to push discovery and why he decided to launch the first K-beauty line of color cosmetics.
The role of the analyst in any industry is to monitor how that industry is evolving and track the movement of some of its most major players. Larissa Jensen's industry of focus is beauty, and she has spent nearly 15 years following everything from the rise of social media and consumer empowerment, to the explosion of digitally native brands and what she calls "the Kardashian effect." Now, as executive director and beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group, Jensen has become the go-to resource for all prestige beauty insights and trends. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Jensen to discuss some of the latest trends, like CBD and adaptogens, the rise of extreme transparency and the current drivers of the fragrance market.
When Charles Denton took over Erno Laszlo in 2011, the massive legacy brand was flailing. Now, eight years into his role of chairman and CEO, Denton has big plans for the brand, including new efforts in clean products and sustainability, and continued global expansion. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao and Denton discuss why failure is a good thing, how he differentiates American and Chinese consumers, and what his company is doing to earn an "environmental credit."
After a seven-year career at Goldman Sachs, Nancy Twine decided to try to make a company out of the curly-hair products she'd made for herself for years. So she presented her products at a trade show, received her first round of purchase orders from companies like Urban Outfitters, and six months later, Sephora called. Now, six years after launching her clean hair-care brand, Briogeo, Twine is taking on new challenges, like expanding into new categories and finding offline ways to engage directly with her customer. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Briogeo founder and CEO Nancy Twine to discuss how she's cultivating a diverse consumer base, educating her customer on product price points and making a play for wellness.
When Moj Mahdara took the role as Beautycon CEO, she wasn't particularly interested in beauty. To this day, she doesn't wear makeup herself. What she was attracted to was the unique community and fandom around Beautycon, and finding a way to take it to the next level. In the years since, Mahdara has continued to push the boundaries of Beautycon, expanding into new markets with Beautycon POP, moving into larger venues and continuing to find ways to make the event more inclusive and community-driven. For this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sat down with Mahdara days before Beautycon NYC to discuss the not-so-average Beautycon attendee, the emerging competition in the space and the plan to scale through retail.
Before starting Hum Nutrition, Walter Faulstroh was a beauty junky with some frustrating skin problems. He had always had a passion for skin care, but no matter what he did, he couldn't seem to get rid of his breakouts. It wasn't until a nutritionist showed him the connection between health and beauty, that he finally found relief. Seven years ago, Faulstroh decided to share his personal discovery with the world with a DTC beauty supplement brand called Hum Nutrition that was quickly scooped up by Sephora. The brand now offers a wide range of products, which claim to address everything from dark circles to PMS to problematic skin. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Walter Faulstroh, the founder and CEO of Hum Nutrition. The two discuss the costs and payoffs of clinical trials, the way his brand is making a newer beauty category more digestible, and the reason he decided to sell direct to consumer.
In the last few years, there has been a boom of investments in the world of beauty. Brands like Glossier continue to receive massive rounds of funding, and join the elite club of beauty brands that have received valuations of over $1 billion. According to Rich Gersten, a partner at Tengram Capital Partners who has been investing in beauty companies for over two decades, these success stories have created a flood of money and attention from private equity investors. In this week's episode of The Glossy Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Gersten to discuss what he looks for when investing, why being a clean brand is no longer a differentiator and whether massive valuations on the regular are the new norm.
When you look at Melanie Whelan's career path, it doesn't exactly point to SoulCycle. Prior to landing at Equinox and SoulCycle, Whelan held positions at Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Virgin USA. For Whelan, the through line of all of these companies was a core focus on hospitality and building meaningful relationships with customers. Now serving as the CEO of SoulCycle, Whelan sees the opportunity to expand the consumer-focused, experiential brand on a global scale. The company's first London studio is set to open later this year, in sync with the brand's expansion into events and new retail products. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Whelan to discuss how to scale a boutique experience, how to move from a fitness to a lifestyle brand and why SoulCycle decided to make the move into wholesale with Nordstrom.
It is no secret that with the rise of direct-to-consumer companies and e-commerce shopping, legacy retailers are struggling to maintain massive flagship stores and retail footprints. While some retailers are closing their doors, others are searching for ways to reinvigorate their spaces to keep customers coming back. Earlier this year, Bloomingdale's unveiled a completely renovated flagship experience featuring a brand new beauty and fragrance floor. The new space features interactive technology, expanded beauty services, shop-in-shops and event programming. For Stacie Bortek, Bloomingdale's vp and divisional merchandise manager of beauty and fragrance, the updated experience is all about evolving to meet the needs of the modern beauty consumer. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Borteck to discuss the major changes to the Bloomingdale's beauty and fragrance experience, the unique events the customer has come to expect and the way beauty is expanding throughout the company's flagship.
If you're starting your day with lemon water or a turmeric latte, or practicing meditative breathing, you're practicing Ayurveda. Although the concept of Ayurveda is relatively new to most Americans, aspects of it have become commonplace among those pursuing healthier lifestyles. Uma Oils hopes to capitalize on these entry points, using them to introduce consumers to the larger world of Ayurveda and its practices. Uma Oils has been around for less than three years, but in that time, it has successfully launched retail partnerships that are integrated into experiences, such as in Equinox classes and through spa treatments at Four Seasons hotels, and launched in several new product categories. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Glossy beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Holecek to discuss how she carefully designed the retail strategy for Uma Oils, why she's not interested in influencers and why she's making the move toward more nuanced products like naval oils.
For over three decades, Rose-Marie Swift was one of the most sought-after editorial makeup artists in the world. But then, her health started to change. Once she started to dig into the industry, and the ingredients that were in the products that she was using everyday, Swift decided she needed to make a change, and that she was going to do it herself. Thus, RMS Beauty was born. Since it's launch in 2009, RMS Beauty has released lines for face, eyes, lips, skincare and more, and can be found in roughly 1600 retail doors. But as the company continues to grow and create new products, Swift has little interest in following down the paths of other growing brands, because she is much more interested in doing her own thing. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, RMS Beauty's founder and CEO, Rose-Marie Swift, sit's down with Priya Rao to discuss greenwashing, the myth of fast beauty and why you won't see an RMS Beauty store anytime soon.
When Sarah Lee and Christine Chang joined forces to start Glow Recipe in 2014, they wanted to find their own way to introduce the US consumer to Korean beauty. Now, fast-forward five years, Glow Recipe features 30 different brands, Chang and Lee have created their own private label products and their brand is preparing for international expansion. "I think a lot of brands are discovering Glow Recipe's skincare, and they don't realize that we're K-beauty inspired, or a K-beauty brand" said Chang. "They just discover us as a fun skincare brand that they see on social, or they heard about us through Sephora. Because of that approach, I think we've grown to a place where we're reaching a very diverse customer base. K-beauty, for us, is always something that will be a part of the approach in that holistic, enjoyable approach to skincare, but we've kind of expanded past being defined as a K-beauty brand." On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, the co-founders and co-CEOs of Glow Recipe, to discuss creating their own products, their plans for expansion into Germany and beyond, and how they turned an LA mattress store into an influencer activation.
If you asked her 10 years ago, Hillary Peterson would tell you she was not all that interested in beauty. With a background in marketing, and an interest in beauty that didn't extend much further than her own personal skincare, Peterson never thought she would become the founder and CEO of her own natural skincare company. However, following a thyroid cancer diagnosis in her 30's, she became much more interested in living her healthiest lifestyle, specifically with the products she was consuming. It was from this interest that Peterson created True Botanicals. The company, which features a wide range of products from facial serums to shampoo and conditioner, touts a MADE SAFE certification, and uses independent clinical trials to test efficacy of each product. True Botanicals has also started to expand its retail strategy, opening it's flagship store in California at the end of 2018, and hopes to continue that expansion through a mix of temporary and permanent retail settings. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Hillary Peterson, the founder and CEO of True Botanicals, to discuss starting a new business in a crowded market, leveraging a direct connection with your customers and how she hopes to expand their retail strategy.
Before Alex Friedman decided to dive into the world of feminine hygiene and sexual wellness, she was a businesswoman and a mom with a problem to solve. Everywhere she looked, people were talking about ingredients -- in food, in beauty products and even in diapers. But when she looked at the side of the box of tampons she had been using all of her life, the possible ingredients included a list of words she didn't recognize, and that scared her. She reached out to her friend and future business partner, Jordana Kier, and they decided that something needed to be done. "We were horrified," said Friedman. "So we decided to start a business to bring ingredients transparency to the tampon industry. Over the course of 3 years in business, what we learned was that every life stage is the same, from your first period, to when you start having sex, to thinking about fertility, to pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and beyond.It's all stigma, no ingredients transparency, and not enough conversation." On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Lola co-founder and co-CEO, Alex Friedman, to talk candidly about sexual wellness and feminine hygiene products, the importance of ingredients transparency and how education has played a vital role in building the brand.
Divya Gugnani was motivated to launch Wander Beauty when she realized there were no beauty brands speaking directly to her -- a woman who loves beauty and maintains a fast-paced lifestyle. Now, three years into the business, Gugnani and her team are taking a strategic approach to scaling the company by implementing technology like chatbots and text communications, and pairing that with a strategic distribution that brings them directly to their customer, wherever she is. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Glossy's beauty editor, Priya Rao, sits down with Wander Beauty's Divya Gugnani to discuss how Wander Beauty is learning about its core customer, how it's using that information to further connect with her and what's on the horizon for the brand.
Flamingo, a DTC company focused on women's grooming needs, was the first brand to emerge out of Harry's Labs, in October of 2018. Since Harry's launched in 2013, it's seen a lot of success with female customers, at one point boasting over 1 million female subscribers. It finally decided to take advantage of the built-in fanbase of women and create a brand specifically for them. Allie Melnick, who's worked at Harry's since its launch and now serves as gm for Flamingo, saw saw the opportunity to connect with female customers by serving them with both a suite of products specifically designed for how they use them and honest, approachable education surrounding hair removal. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Allie Melnick to discuss how Flamingo is humanizing hair removal, educating consumers and evolving.
In 1992, Laura Slatkin had no interest in home fragrance. She had spent 12 years building a successful career for herself working on Wall Street, where she met her husband. After they were married, her brother-in-law had an interior design business that was booming and was looking for partners to help him expand, when Slatkin and her husband signed on. Together, the three went on to create Slatkin & Co., which launched in Saks Fifth Avenue and was one of the first luxury home fragrance brands on the market. In 2005, Slatkin & Co. was acquired by Limited Brands, leaving Laura in a position to choose her own destiny. Saddled with a non-compete clause, she spent the next three years helping high-end designer brands develop fragrances on their own. These projects were successful for the most part, but Slatkin felt like there was a missing piece of the puzzle. It was with that notion that Nest Fragrances was born. Since its inception, the brand has expanded its offering of home fragrances and moved into new categories such as fine fragrance and, most recently, personal care. As the brand continues to grow, Slatkin hopes to turn her luxurious, yet approachable brand into an all-around lifestyle for her customers. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Glossy beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Laura Slatkin, founder and executive chairman of Nest Fragrances, to talk about the brand's beginnings, its expansion into new categories and its plan to turn fragrances into a lifestyle.
Josie Maran has a long history with beauty. From the time she was just 12 years old, Maran was working as a professional model. Six years into her career, which included spending hours in the makeup chair on most days, she noticed the routine was taking a toll on her skin. Raised in a family that emphasized the importance of a sustainable and natural lifestyle, she decided to seek out makeup that met that criteria. So, in 2004, she decided to fill that hole in the market. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with model, actress and founder of her namesake beauty brand, Josie Maran, to discuss how her early career informed her work in beauty, what challenges she faced when starting her brand, and where she sees Josie Maran Cosmetics going next.
About 10 years ago, Vicky Tsai chose happiness. After years of working in corporate, she slowly realized that she didn't know what she wanted to do with her career. She had also been struggling with an increasingly bad case of dermatitis that shook her confidence in her appearance and in herself. So one day, she decided to quit her job and travel the world in search of something to believe in. Somewhere along the way she found herself in Kyoto, in more ways than one. After returning to the United States, Tsai looked everywhere for the products that had saved her skin with no luck. Determined to share these secrets with the world, she sold her engagement ring to buy 10,000 blotting papers, and from there Tatcha was born. In this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Tsai, founder and chief treasure hunter for Tatcha, to discuss the difficulty of introducing foreign beauty concepts to the US market, skincare as self-care and why you can't rush amazing products.
When Frederic Fekkai was a young man, he had no intention of entering the beauty space. In fact, he didn't even know it existed. Shortly after this discovery, Fekkai quit law school, moved to Paris and threw himself into the world of beauty. He began to work fashion shows and photoshoots, and establish meaningful connections with some of the top players in the industry. Over the course of the next four decades, Fekkai would go on to establish and sell his own namesake company, buy and rebrand Côté Bastide to Bastide, and, most recently, buy back Frederic Fekkai. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao talks to Fekkai live at the Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit about how he got his start in the industry, what it was like to build and sell his namesake company, and why he says up-and-coming brands should stop ripping off Chanel.
Kate Oldham has spent most of her life working at Saks. Her first job with the company, a sales associate at their flagship store, was supposed to be a short term way to make money while she searched for a more formal job in marketing. However, she quickly fell in love with the company, applied for their training program, and would spend the next two decades working her way up. As she moved up the company food chain, she began to work more in the beauty and cosmetic categories, eventually landing her current role as the senior vice president and general merchandising manager of beauty and jewelry. Throughout her time she has watched these categories grow and evolve, but nothing, according to Oldham, has had as much impact as social media. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao talks to Oldham about the ever-changing beauty category, re-designing the Saks beauty floor and why Saks is betting big on hair.
When Jill Scalamandre first started her career, she wasn't interested in beauty. She had spent some time after college working in a fashion house in Paris and was trying to figure out her next steps when someone suggested she give the beauty industry a try. She accepted an opportunity with Revlon and quickly fell in love with the industry. In the decades since, Jill has built a long, successful career in beauty. In her current role of president of BareMinerals, Buxom and global development for Shiseido makeup, she has overseen the relaunch of the Shiseido and BareMinerals brands, and revamped BareMinerals' brick-and-mortar retail strategy. In this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Scalamandre to discuss the challenges of overseeing such different brands, the benefits of working with influencers and the future of technology in beauty. Below are excerpts from the conversation, edited for clarity.
Zak Normandin is a problem solver. Back in 2009, he founded Little Duck Organics because he was having a hard time finding healthy snacks for his kids. After selling off a majority of that company, he set out on a new mission: to create a fast, easy way to deliver beverages that are good for consumers and, at the same time, shake up an industry that has been untouched for almost 100 years. In 2015, Normandin co-founded Dirty Lemon. From its text-to-order model to its uniquely flavored, health-boosting products, Dirty Lemon is on a mission to do things its own way. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Glossy beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Normandin to talk about how the brand launched on Instagram, why the products can only be ordered through text message and what challenges come with making wellness trends into beverages.
From the time Carol Hamilton was a little girl, she knew that she had a passion for beauty. What started as a love for lipstick would eventually blossom into a long, successful career in beauty. Now serving as the group president of acquisitions for L'Oréal, Carol has seen the industry from every angle and through massive evolution. In this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sat down with Hamilton to discuss what she looks for in the brands she acquires, how she stays ahead of the rapid changes in the industry and why authenticity is key when connecting with younger audiences.
When Peach & Lily founder and CEO Alicia Yoon moved to the United States from Korea to attend college, she would often share her love for Korean-based beauty via products and facials. Still, she often found it difficult to find those products in the U.S. Then, in 2012, Yoon had her "a-ha moment. "Seven years later, Peach & Lily is largely credited with bringing Korean beauty in the U.S., both curating and creating products that feature a unique cast of ingredients and uses. On this week's episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, Yoon discussed why partnering with larger companies expanded the Korean beauty footprint, why good skin-care products take time and how Korean consumers are driving innovation.
Since former Allure editor in chief Linda Wells landed at Revlon as chief creative officer in February 2017, she has had a busy last 21 months. Not only has she renovated all of the consumer touchpoints, like packaging and the digital and social presences of the heritage company’s portfolio of brands, such as Elizabeth Arden, Almay and Revlon, she also launched Flesh Beauty. In this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Wells discussed how the industry has become “unrecognizable” because of social media, the shift in power in beauty and how incubation is the future for big beauty companies.
We're only a few short days away from the release of our first episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast! Here, we're giving you a sneak peak to some of our conversations that we will be sharing this season. We hope you enjoy, and don't forget to check out our premiere episode with Miranda Kerr on Thursday, November 8th!
In the first ever episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, Kerr talks about self-funding her business, her dedication to bringing organic products to the world, and achieving an 800% growth since Kora Organics' launch.