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Marcia Kilgore’s Latest Startup, Beauty Pie

Serial entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore has been talking about her fifth startup, Beauty Pie, following on from Bliss, Soap & Glory, FitFlop and Soaper Duper, some of which she has since exited, including selling Soap & Glory to UK retailer Boots, and a majority stake in Bliss to LVMH. Beauty Pie is a members’ club in the UK for buyers of leading luxury beauty products without asking them to pay normal retailer markups. Kilgore said that the consumer’s best interests are lost as soon as companies try to wring a bit more margin from each transaction. She said Beauty Pie wants to avoid this and deliver the best possible products at the price the brand pays for it. The revenue comes from the memberships, and she doesn’t believe that high prices for beauty items are justified simply because of celebrity endorsements. 

"Marcia Kilgore, Founder Of Beauty Pie, On Disrupting Everyone From Estée Lauder To Glossier", Forbes Media, December 08, 2018

Vaseline Is Giving Away Dry Skin Rescue Kits To Help US Residents Deal With The Winter

Unilever’s Vaseline brand in the US is giving away 1,000 free #SaveMySkin# kits to help people deal with skin problems in the coming winter. The limited period offer, in collaboration with Fooji, an experiential technology platform, invites people in the US to Tweet a custom hashtag and emoji in order to get a kit comprising two Vaseline products – the new Clinical Care™ Extremely Dry Skin Rescue, and well-known Petroleum Jelly – together with a mug, and family games. The brand is also taking to the streets to give away free products. 

"Vaseline® Delivers Free "#SaveMySkin Kits" To Consumers Nationwide", PR Newswire, December 06, 2018

Glossier Insider Henry Davis Is Seeking Pastures New

Direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier is losing its President and chief financial officer. Henry Davis, who has been with the company since its early says, is leaving to pursue his own business interests. The company now has some 200 employees and is reportedly targeting $100 million in revenue in 2018. Glossier has also grown beyond its online origins to open a flagship store in New York City, but it has so far refused to explore retail partnerships as a means to scale. It has extended internationally, with a move into the UK and Canada last year, and with launches in Ireland, France, Sweden, Denmark this year. Davis, however, is so far keeping quiet about his plans post-Glossier.

"Glossier President and CFO to Depart Company", The Business of Fashion, December 05, 2018

L’Oréal Creates New Innovation Fund To Invest In High-Potential Startups

L’Oréal continues to look outside of its walls for innovation opportunities with the launch of a new venture capital fund for taking minority stakes in high-growth-potential startups. The BOLD Business Opportunities for L'Oréal Development fund will consider investing in new business models across a range of functions, from supply chain to retail and marketing. It will support the investments in a number of ways, including mentoring and financial assistance. The fund will build on its external innovation efforts run through partnerships including Founders Factory and Station F. Its first investment will be a minority stake in a French customized fragrance startup, Sillages Paris, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

"L'Oréal creates a corporate venture capital fund dedicated to accompanying innovative startups", L'Oréal, December 05, 2018

SoHo Startup Helps Men Keep Their Bathrooms Well Stocked


Brian Jeong and Phil Wong are the co-founders of a soap, body wash and deodorant startup based in SoHo, New York. The brand, Hawthorn, recommends products to male buyers based on their body type and lifestyle. It sells the products direct to consumers on the website and aims to leverage the personalization trend to compete with and beat traditional brands like Colgate-Palmolive’s Irish Spring and Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice. Its early days for Hawthorn, which has secured $2.2 million in seed funding, but it has been doubling its customer numbers each month. The subscription model uses an algorithm to analyze answers to an online quiz before recommending products.

"Deodorant Targeted for Disruption by Two 29-Year-Olds in SoHo", Bloomberg , December 05, 2018

Birchbox Still Leads The Way In A Growing Beauty Subscription Field

Subscription services are continuing to grow in the beauty category, offering customers time and convenience benefits. Birchbox is the most high profile of them, claiming some 2.5 million active customers and operating in six markets, but there are now many more, including Scentbird, Ipsy and Facetory. There is still plenty of room to grow the market, with 27% of US households saying that they intend to join a subscription beauty service in the next six months, according to one survey. Millennials represent the largest group of subscribers, with over half of the beauty and grooming market. Gen X customers contribute 25%. Across all 14 subscription categories, just over half of subscribers are men. In beauty/grooming, 44% are male.

"Boxing Days", HAPPI.com, December 03, 2018

New D2C Brand Used Gen Z Influencers To Promote Makeup For Kids

In a trend that is bound to split opinion, beauty influencers are getting younger, aimed at enticing kids to try makeup. Petite ‘n Pretty, a makeup brand for Gen Z, has been launched on Instagram, using school children, typically kids with blogs or YouTube and Instagram followings, as models. Founder Samantha Cutler said there are talented makeup artists (MUAs) as young as 12 years old. One young influencer for example has almost 700,000 YouTube subscribers and over 700,000 Instagram followers. The brand launched in July and has so far generated over 30,000 Instagram followers, targeting the mini MUAs and parents that shop at Sephora or Ulta and want their kids to have cool stuff. Petite ‘n Pretty sells direct through its web site, but is exploring pop-up opportunities and specialty beauty retail stores.

"Petite ‘n Pretty Taps Social Media Influencers to Sell Makeup to Kids", Brandchannel, November 30, 2018

bioClarity Is Now Offline Too, Through Urban Outfitters

Skin care brand bioClarity is just one of the brands making the journey from e-commerce to physical retail, extending its sales channel beyond its own site and on Amazon, with distribution in some Urban Outfitters stores in the US. CEO Rick Sliter said the decision was made because the two brands appeal to similar consumers and distribution in stores like Urban Outfitters adds credibility for bioClarity. Sliter also said that bioClarity liked the way Urban Outfitters curates products offline and online, and the deal allows the skin care brand to reach a larger share of its target demographic. bioClarity has new innovations planned for the next 12 months, including the January launch of Zen, a new serum. 

"What Online-only Brands Should Look for in a Brick-and-Mortar Retail Partner", Global Cosmetic Industry, November 30, 2018

Digital Brands Are Shaping The Physical Retail Of The Future

Physical retail is fighting back, although with more than a tinge of e-commerce about it. Digital innovation is being used by brick-and-mortar stores to attract customers, partly because the direct-to-consumer e-commerce startups are opening physical stores. Brandless and Glossier have opened pop-up stores, and Glossier now has a New York flagship outlet. Traditional retailers are bringing D2C startups into their stores: for example, Harry’s Razors in Target and Birchbox in Walgreen’s. Other retailers are using a range of digital initiatives. Macy’s is rolling out a ‘store within a store’ in several locations, branded as Facebook and showcasing best-sellers on Instagram. Digitally-native brands have also been using their online experience to bring new approaches to physical retail, such as online fulfillment to minimize in-store inventory and real estate space.

"How Digitally Native Brands Will Shape Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2019", eMarketer , November 29, 2018

New Study Finds Many D2C Brands Need To Improve Their Shopper Experience

A new study found that two in five direct-to-consumer brands overestimate how many ‘friction points’ consumers are willing to accept in a transaction. The Brightpearl report highlighted issues that consumers find frustrating, such as the online basket losing items, difficulty finding products, unsuitable delivery and payment options, a poor delivery experience, and a lack of product information. Over 60 per cent of respondents experienced issues in the last 12 months when buying online; 69 per cent said a poor experience would stop them using the site again. The results show how brands can quickly lose out to D2C brands that offer seamless and friction-free shopper experiences. 

"Direct-To-Consumer Brands Overestimate Patience Of Online Shoppers", Kam City, November 27, 2018

Oral Care Brand quip Is Going Omnichannel, Closed $40 Million Funding Round

Oral care subscription startup quip has announced venture funding of $40 million, supported by its debut in Target, bringing its total funding to date to more than $60 million. The brand has sold over a million of its electric toothbrushes via its direct-to-consumer site in the three years since its launch, and added nationwide distribution in Target in October 2018. It has also acquired Afora, a New York dental care membership plan, in order to offer a less expensive alternative to dental insurance. The acquisition was made by quip Labs, a venture arm for new oral care opportunities. quip’s co-founder and CEO, Simon Enever, said the brand has been working closely with its dental professional network to provide patients with full access to dental products and services in a simpler and more enjoyable way. quip is also looking at other ways to grow subscribers, such as the launch of “Practice program”, in which providers can join quip’s free network to offer quip products and ...  More

"quip Raises $40M to Support Upcoming Consumer Product and Professional Service Launches", Business Wire , November 27, 2018

Customized Hair Care Brand Prose Secures $18 Million Series B Finance

Prose, a direct-to-consumer hair care brand selling customized products, announced closure of a $18 million Series B funding round. The brand launched earlier this year and offers products that address specific hair and scalp requirements, on the basis of a consultation covering the customer’s hair characteristics, lifestyle, environmental exposure, stress, diet, and preferences (such as vegan, gluten-free and fragrance-free). The products are available on prose.com and in some salons. Prose has posted double-digit growth each month and is developing an automated customization system, which should be available by the middle of next year at its new production plant in Brooklyn. The online consultation facility has to date captured half a million customer profiles, each with 135 data points, including customer selfies. 

"Prose raises $18 Million Series B Funding to Expand Custom Hair Care", PRNewswire, November 26, 2018

 
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