Beautiful Thinking.

Out & About: NYC Beautymatter Future50

Thursday 27th April saw the Future50 conference in New York, hosted by Beautymatter and what an incredible event it was.

Imagine the most inspiring and innovative beauty brands, investors, and founders in one space, generously sharing their learnings and experience in effective brand building. The agenda was packed with insightful interviews and panel discussions, each delivering their unique take on setting beauty businesses up for success. From technology, formulations, retention of the Gen Z audience and understanding the luxury consumer, through to gearing up for investment from a strategic and expanding into new markets, the breadth of knowledge and depth of experience shared was both collaborative and game changing.

Our key take outs include…

In preparing your brand for investment

you can’t be too single minded with your reason for being. You need to build your points of difference with layered benefits giving your brand space to pivot and elevate above the competition if needed, it isn’t enough to have a great name and identity to build longevity. Urban Decay was an incredible investment for L’Oréal as the acquisition brought with it expertise in digital that the business didn’t already have. Incorporating a mission, community aspect or social purpose that is true to your brand will also make you more attractive to investors.

Attitude not age

Jones Road Beauty launched in 2019, to the day that Bobbi Brown’s non-compete with Estee Lauder expired and they haven’t looked back. A discussion with Bobbi and her son Cody Plofker (CMO) was a masterclass in creating a modern heritage brand. importance of cross-generational, functional teams demonstrated how to maximise the strengths and experience of those around you. It’s all about attitude not age, a mission we live by at Free The Birds. We also heard about Foundation-gate, when What The Foundation launched and the impact going viral with 50+million views in 24 hours on TikTok had on its inventory and how by being agile they were able to keep supply going.

New expansion horizons

we all know China is lauded as the next frontier for beauty brands, however, Priyanka Gill from The Good Glamm Group opened our eyes to the scale and opportunity for growth in India, which was also reiterated by Carol Hamilton of L’Oréal. The Indian audience consumes the same content we see through global social media platforms and so embrace the same trends as the rest of the world. It isn’t about localising international brands, they are value conscious but demand the world in terms of product benefits, efficacy and kindness to planet. Omni channel is the way forward, online marketplaces are huge as well as bricks and mortar, especially with the acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart.

Where will beauty go next?

Humanoid, Luum Lash and Mintty Make Up are redefining the boundaries of beauty, through technology, robotics and true inclusivity. All pioneering brands in their own right they are challenging the barriers that hold back innovation whether they be physical such as time, money, resources or legislative. Junior Mintt’s story especially resonated by emphasising the opportunity for make-up to allow the true self to exist, with the power of its ability to transform, liberate, connect and most importantly, represent everyone in whatever form they choose.

Appealing to the luxury beauty consumer

And finally, a brilliant discussion around the luxury beauty consumer and how to reach them. It was especially insightful as this cohort do not respond to traditional digital outreach as they are not on social media. However, they do feel underserved and under cared for. So how can brands connect with these ultra-high net-worth individuals? What is clear, is that regardless of where they are based, they are a global tribe with the same outlook, concerns and frustrations.

They want to be related to as human beings – not because of the size of their investments. We also know they are looking for trusted experts, whether fashion, beauty brands (and how to use them), treatments or sleep health and wellness. Concierge services that deliver an incredibly personalised approach, that know their likes and dislikes and bring them distinctive pieces or experiences that are more about quiet luxury and less about the product itself have influence, especially through services such as Moda Operandi. Super-connectors within the group then share their positive brand experiences by word of mouth to others acting as the Mother Hen / Father Rooster.

In summary, if you’re in the beauty category, Future50 is an event not to be missed.

Selecting the key take outs for this write up was as difficult as choosing your favourite child but at least it goes some way to illustrate the calibre of the content and spirit of the occasion.

Written by Partner and Business Director, Sara Jones
FTB Free The Birds
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