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Clean Beauty Is Under Fire, But That Hasn’t Stopped Clean Brands And E-Tailers From Multiplying

Beauty Independent | Claire Mccormack

As the clean beauty debate rages on among beauty industry cognoscenti—i.e., what does the term “clean beauty” even mean?—unfazed entrepreneurs continue to swell the clean beauty and wellness ranks with new brands and services that tick every possible box: approachable pricing, thoughtful formulations, and effective products in beautiful and eco-conscious packaging. Here are five new beauty and wellness companies we at Beauty Independent have our eyes on.

  1. Botanic Affair
  2. Memore
  3. House of B Fragranced
  4. Sudtana
  5. Sundree
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Americans aren’t cutting back on spending — even with rising inflation

Market Watch | 2 August 2021

It’s been months since most Americans received their third stimulus checks, yet fewer Americans are cutting back on spending. In fact, they’re doing just the opposite. Some 32% of U.S. consumers splurged on a vacation in the second quarter of this year, up seven percentages points from the first quarter, according to a survey published Thursday by The Conference Board, a membership-funded nonpartisan think-tank. Another 19% of consumers bought tickets to concerts, movies and sporting events, up six percentage points from the first quarter of this year, according to the survey which polled more than 500 U.S. consumers. In contrast, consumers are spending 6% less money on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes compared to October 2020 when much of the economy was closed. The uptick in spending on vacations and out-of-home entertainment has helped bring inflation to decade-high levels. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell believes that the surge in prices U.S. consumers are paying overall will dissipate as more Americans adjust to the new normal.

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Online Tutorials Can Drive Premium Beauty Sales: GlobalData

GCI Magazine | 29 July 2021

A new survey from GlobalData notes that beauty tutorial videos appealed to high-income consumers aged 16 to 44, most notably in Asia (Indonesia and the Philippines, particularly) and Latin America (Colombia). These videos were a boon to beauty brands amid the pandemic, which may persist amid new surges of COVID-19. The age cohort most influenced by these videos are 25-34 year olds. Across age groups, one third of high-income consumers find online beauty tutorials very appealing.

These platforms will be most important to the makeup category, per the analysis, powering a market that will grow to $63.7 billion globally by 2025. Brands that have already leveraged tutorials and virtual try-ons include Lancôme and Bobbi Brown.

The Q1 2021 survey asked consumers: “How appealing are online/video product tutorials from beauty and grooming industry experts?”

“Online beauty tutorials are an excellent tool to reach out to shoppers directly and seem like an authority in the field,” said Amira Freyer-Elgendy, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData. “It serves to illustrate how a product looks/ functions as well as creating a more approachable reputation. Beauty tutorial videos are appealing to near a third of the global population (27.5% to be exact). Innovative beauty products are especially common in Asia and South America, and so, naturally, tutorials are especially welcome in these regions.”

She continued: “Younger people are highly familiar with technology and the online world, often turning to the net for advice and guidance. Beauty advice is well within their reach, with a wealth of different instructional videos available. Further, the immensely popular TikTok has recently made allowances for three-minute videos on the platform – instead of one minute – making it easier for non-professionals to share beauty and cosmetics tutorials.”

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How BoxyCharm is betting on ‘the shift toward glamming up’

Glossy | 15 July 2021

Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, BoxyCharm launched its first-ever full brand takeover box with Fenty Beauty. Fast-forward to nearly a year and a half later, and it has debuted its second one with Anastasia Beverly Hills as it bets on the return to glam. The beauty box e-tailer launched its Anastasia Beverly Hills full beauty box takeover this month for its $35 premium box, offering the brand’s colorful Novina makeup palette hydrating oil, liquid lipstick and brow definer, among other products. The launch comes as brands are seeing makeup on a rebound with the lifting of mask mandates and return to in-person events. BoxyCharm’s No. 1 commerce category in the first quarter of 2021 was skin care, but that shifted back to makeup in the second quarter.

Kristy Westrup, svp of merchandising and consumer insights at BoxyCharm, said, “We’re definitely seeing in our consumer insights the shift toward glamming up. During Covid-19, we definitely saw a slight decline in makeup overall — mostly in lips for the obvious reason and a slight uptick in skin care. But we’ve always stayed pretty consistent with eyeshadows, eyebrows, complexion products,” she said. The e-tailer increased its skin-care and wellness offerings during the pandemic. But in the past 2-3 months, BoxyCharm has seen a return in demand for lip products, as well as an increase in other makeup categories such as brows.

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Alpaca VC’s Aubrie Pagano: ‘The future of brands is omnichannel’

Glossy | 21 July 2021

Now, “The future of brands is omnichannel,” said Pagano. “It’s going wherever your customers are, whether that’s live commerce or retail, or online through a traditional PDP.” As Pagano has shifted from founder to investor with Alpaca VC, she’s also found that tenacity and magnetism are key traits when gauging a founder’s potential. “Alpaca is an early-stage fund focused on the intersection of the digital and physical worlds, where people are using technology to transform daily life,” she said. Pagano was drawn to the firm because of the team’s understanding of “the entrepreneur journey” and its “research-driven approach to how we invest in companies.” One of the areas that Pagano has invested in at Alpaca is the “re-commerce space,” or the reuse of goods. It has to do with the fact that “consumers, especially Gen Z, are saying, ‘There’s too much stuff,’” Pagano said. Live commerce, returns and cross-border commerce are also areas that Pagano deems worthy of investment. “The internet has allowed culture to atomize in such a way that you can speak very specifically to a very vertical audience,” said Pagano. “Speaking to a specific audience and having an affinity and community who you speak to is paramount.”

What makes a founder worth investing in —

“So much of early-stage investing is about the people, at the end of the day, and about the founder. There are a couple of things that I look for … One of them is this tenacity and grit. Have they shown ingénue, in terms of setting up a pilot, in terms of finding customers in non-obvious places, in securing partnerships through interesting networking angles? There are ways to, even at the early stages, get under the surface and understand how someone is motivated and driven. The second thing is pairing that with magnetism … which is a catch-all for [asking], ‘Is this person compelling to other people?’ And then the third is what we call founder-market fit. Is this person uniquely put on this planet to run this business?”

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