Beauty Business Then & Now: Beauty Industry Evolution

Like all other consumer-based industries in recent decades, the beauty industry has undergone an enormous change. There are a lot of reasons for this. The internet has impacted every possible business on the globe. This is partly to blame for the changes within the beauty industry. But I think the beauty industry is also very cyclical. It goes through periods when larger brands and corporations are very powerful. Then it switches to periods where small businesses dominate the industry. Until around a decade ago, the beauty industry was all about the big companies. We’re all familiar with Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Avon, and Revlon. They’re the most well-known beauty brand across the world. But we’re now at a point in the cycle where the beauty industry is much more consumer-driven and customers are much more excited about smaller businesses. And it’s not just the beauty industry. It’s also the fashion and food industries too. The small players aren’t faced with the same challenges that they use to be. The Internet has enabled any business, no matter how big or small, to become global. They can create a stunning website and build their social media accounts to grow an audience quickly. The internet has given businesses the chance to grow but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will have the resources to keep up with this growth. But this is much less challenging than it used to be. It’s less expensive and requires fewer resources. The barriers to entry are much smaller but you usually need a large volume of resources to keep your business going. The biggest shift in the industry is the move towards smaller businesses. The second biggest shift is the shift in consumerism. The beauty industry is now more personal and consumer involvement is tenfold what it was just 15-20 years ago.

Formulation Process: Highlight: Giuvidan – Celebrity Baby

At Givaudan, we work with several different clients, including fashion brands, celebrities, and haircare brands that want to create a fragrance or fragrance that goes into a shampoo. For example, a celebrity asked for a fragrance that smelled like her baby. The Brief of a Celebrity Baby We agreed and set up a brief to understand what her baby smells like. When we asked what her baby smelled like, she replied, “Well, my baby smells like my baby.” The brief is used to obtain the specs for the fragrance. However, it was tough to obtain the specs because we had no idea what her baby smelled like, nor would we likely meet her baby. We began pulling information from a client that wants a brief that smells like a baby. How does the celebrity want to use this? Is this fragrance in a bottle? Or a lotion? The Process of Cruelty-Free Beauty How our perfumer builds that product will depend if the product is going to be a body lotion, which requires less amount of fragrance that must be mixed differently than a product in a bottle. Typically, products in a bottle have an alcohol base, which requires a different concentration and different amounts of ingredients. She wanted the fragrance inside of a bottle, but she wants it to be very safe and very soft, stating, “You know, I want it to be cruelty-free.” We went back and we pow-wowed. We figured what the baby smelled like by the only evidence she provided: it’s how it comes out of the bath. We made sure the norms or regulations went through the regulatory department that tells us what ingredients we can use to make the product cruelty-free. By the way, all our ingredients are cruelty-free. Just to put that out there. We considered that she may want it made vegan. Most ingredients in fragrance are vegan, but there are a couple that isn’t because, believe it or not, you can’t use beeswax. Beeswax isn’t vegan, right? For example, many people say, “I want a honey fragrance, but I want it to be vegan.” To honor their requests—we use our pow-wow. For our celebrity, we found the regulatory pieces we want to hit, the ingredients that smelled like a baby coming out of the bathtub. We also had to ask ourselves how much did she want to spend? How much fragrance do they want to put into the product and all the other regulator pieces? From there, our evaluator and our perfumer get together and talk about how they are going to build the fragrance. It is usually made through the computer.

Beauty Industry Perspectives: How to Be Successful in this Industry

The beauty business is quite competitive and fast-paced, but there are three important traits that will help you succeed. Jihan Thompson, the co-founder and CEO of Swivel Beauty, believes persistence is number one. Persistence means not giving up, whether you’ve heard no a million times or you’ve tried and failed. Keep figuring out solutions, advance your online beauty education, hone your craft, and keep improving. This level of persistence and not taking no for an answer is incredibly important. Number two, be a risk taker. Be willing to say yes when others say no. Be willing to put yourself out there, even if it feels a little bit scary. Your willingness to take risks helps get you to that next level in your beauty career. It will put you in a position for massive opportunities for growth. Put yourself out there. Take those calculated risks. No matter how scary they are, those are the ones that are going to really help grow your career. Lastly, Thompson says to focus on being business-minded. While the beauty industry can be such a creative field, it’s also super important to have business acumen. Think about how you’re going to strategically grow your business and invest in your ongoing beauty education. Contemplate how you’re going to get from where you are to where you want to go, your dreams and goals, and the steps you’ll need to take to get there. Don’t be afraid to think about the business side of things too at the start of your beauty career. When you put all of those traits together – you’re persistent, a risk taker, and understand the business side of what you’re doing – it creates a triple threat and helps you grow in your business.

Formulation Process: Highlight: Holifrog

When it comes time to formulate products, you can certainly hire someone to come up with your product concepts and a general ingredient brief to pass off to a chemist to formulate, but you don’t have to go that route. To find a lab, you can Google contract manufacturers and cold call them to set up intro calls. “We found the lab we launched our first four products with through an ingredient supplier who supplies some of the best natural and organic oils and extracts to labs around the world,” says one beauty product producer. “We said, ‘Listen, you work with all these labs. If you were creating your own product line, which lab would you partner with?’” “I wasn’t looking to go to a big box lab that everybody uses, because then I was going to get formulas that everyone else has,” adds the producer. Each lab has its own product brief form that includes the ingredients you want to use, the ingredients you don’t want to use, specifics about the percentages you want in your formula, marketing ingredient callouts, and the viscosity—whether you want it thin, like a serum, or whether you want it thick. The lab asks about the packaging components you’re going to be using for that formula because they can’t create a dense cream if it’s going to need to come out of a pump. You’ll send the completed product brief to your chemist. Then, you’ll have a call with your chemist and you’ll pay a fee for the product development. The fee is usually quite small. Labs aren’t charging $50,000 to formulate a product. They’re charging more like $1,500. Where labs make their money is when you place your order for 10,000 units or 100,000 units or a million units, explains the producer. “The one thing I found to be extremely helpful was having a contract right out of the gate with the lab that specifies formula ownership,” says the producer. “You want to own your formulas. Most brands don’t know this, so they launch their brand without owning their formulas. And if you don’t own your formula, the labs don’t ever give you the recipe.”

Beauty Writing for Online Media: Creating Headlines for Digital

Writing a headline for digital is very different from writing a headline for print. [INSERT SPEAKER HERE] believes that was actually probably one of the hardest things about switching over to digital after about four or five years in print. “When you’re writing for the magazine, a headline needs to get your point across in two to three words. You’re looking at idioms, and song lyrics, and movie titles to find a witty, kind of fun way to express the story in such a succinct manner,” explains [INSERT SPEAKER HERE]. When it comes to digital, the headline needs to do a number of things. It needs to draw the reader in, and it needs to make it clear what they’re about to read. The story online is only as strong as the headline. No one’s going to read it if it doesn’t have a great headline. “Think about all of the things that you see on your Facebook feed or your Twitter feed daily, and what you click on. It’s the headlines that draw you in, it really is,” says INSERT SPEAKER HERE]. [SPEAKER] explains the process of choosing a headline for digital copy, “At Allure, our process for a story is we submit three headlines for each story. One that’s super straight across, saying this is what you’re about to read. Then one that’s a little more vague. It kind of leaves the reader wondering, ‘what am I about to read? This is really interesting.’ Then the third can be a little bit more fun, funny, or witty. We actually have four or five editors from the social team and the editorial team weigh in on which headline we should use.” Choosing a headline for digital is a real process. “There was definitely a transition of before, when we used to just-the writer used to just submit a headline that’s what went up, to when we put this process in.” [SPEAKER] believes this process has really strengthened the content and traffic numbers. “I think brainstorming a couple headlines is always super helpful for me when writing one for digital. And again, think about what would make you click, and that’s what you want to write.”

Industry Perspectives – Beauty Media: If Your Team is Winning, You are Winning

A lot of people have this idea that fashion, beauty and editorial is this hyper competitive industry, where stepping on people is the most strategic move to propel your career. When in actuality, that is one of the most detrimental things you can do to your career. Sam Escobar, Digital Deputy Editor of Allure, says about workplace relationships, “People who are your interns, if you’re not very nice to them and you don’t facilitate them to learn more, they’re not going to like you later on. And maybe they won’t be your boss, but they might know somebody who might hire you and they might say something.” That’s obviously not the only reason that you should be kind. In general, it’s bad for your career to think of everything as this huge competition. In business there is sometimes a belief that if someone else fails, you win. That’s not the case. Escobar explains, “If your team is winning, you are also winning. And that’s amazing.” Escobar believes the key to success is being reliable, consistent and hardworking. “I think if you are very capable of being communicative and working on a team well, those are all things that are going to work so much better than if you gossip about people or devalue other people’s work. Because that’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to your team no matter what the ranking is seniority wise.” Escobar advises everyone to develop relationships. Whether it’s in a workplace, internship, or even school, get to know the people you’re working with. “That way you can actually feel a connection to those people. And they will blossom into natural friendships, which is also wonderful. Because who doesn’t want to be able to commiserate at the end of a really long day with somebody who actually understands it?”

Beauty Writing for Online Media: The New Language of Beauty

 “The most important point I’m going to talk on is mastering what I like to call the new language of beauty. I say ‘new language of beauty’ because the way we used to speak about it when I started seven or eight years ago was very different than it is today- especially online. When I was an editorial assistant first starting, we wrote about beauty in a way that hit at women’s fears- especially with aging. We talked about how to fix things and what you’re doing wrong,” Says Sophia Panych Today you can’t speak like that. It’s a very different world. You need to talk about beauty in a way that’s less scary and more celebratory and fun because beauty is fun. Makeup is fun. Perfume is fun. It’s lighthearted. We’re also much more inclusive than we’ve ever been. Inclusivity is a huge buzzword in the beauty industry right now, and for a very important reason. Magazines left out a big group of people, cultures, and races, and that’s something that we’ve been trying to be very aware of these days. “For example, when you’re writing about hair and curls, we used to speak about curly hair as white girls with ringlets when there’s-that’s not the case at all,” Explains Panych. “Thinking about making sure you include all cultures and all different types of hair is important.” We want to be more aware of age positivity and talk about skin care as you would fitness or health. Not talking about skin care like have a wrinkle, it’s awful, and your life is over. Instead, talk about it in a way that’s not so dire and scary. When writing about beauty online, it’s really important to speak about beauty in a modern way that focuses on positivity, that doesn’t focus on fear and negativity, one that focuses on health and wellness, and one that’s inclusive of all different types of beauty.

Beauty Writing for Online Media: Write Like a Real Person

Writing about beauty online is similar to writing about beauty in print. You never want to sound like you are regurgitating the facts laid out in a press release. It is still essential to be a strong writer, able to craft a story. While there are many fundamental similarities, there are vital points to consider when writing for a digital publication. Much like writing in print media, sounding authentic and relatable is crucial. And as you would in writing in any medium, be sure your content is reliable and accurate. The first key to writing for an online publication is for your words to feel natural to the reader. One way to do this is to write as though you were having a casual conversation with a friend. It can help to read each sentence aloud. You can even pretend your friend is in the room with you. If the sentence sounds the least bit forced, cheesy, or as though you are just listing facts directly from a press release, then it’s probably time to stop and rework that sentence. People gravitate to digital content similar to the type of beauty advice they would find on social platforms like Reddit. People today want to feel like they are getting beauty advice from real people in the same real-world situations they might find themselves in. Thinking in these terms while writing will keep your article sounding genuine and lend to your relatability, which is the second key point to remember when writing for an online publication. You don’t want to sound too dictatorial. Gone are the days of the royal “we” in beauty writing. Try to avoid using “beauty speak” that you would find on a press release. In digital beauty writing, you want to let your personality shine through so people can relate to you and to the story you are telling. Still, beauty writing online is often like walking a fine line. It’s important not to sound as though you are superior to your reader. While you want to speak to your reader like a friend, be wary of using “internet speak.” It’s easy to say the latest trending phrases, to sound cool and in the moment. It’s good again to stop here and decide if what you are writing is something you would say in a real-life situation. If you write anything that would be an actual hashtag or a trending phrase, it’s best to make the change. No one goes around saying “LOL” instead of actually laughing, right? If you suddenly realize you just wrote “all the feels” or “brows on fleek,” it’s no longer conversational; it’s just cheesy and sounds unnatural. Writing about beauty online isn’t very different than writing for a print publication. The transition is easy if you keep these key points in mind and remember to be yourself.

Beauty Writing for Print Media: Beauty Writing is Hard!

When compared to the exciting and timely stories generated from the front lines of global conflicts, beauty stories can seem tedious and not newsworthy. How can a writer take a story about makeup and make it compelling, engaging, and captivating? 10,000 Words vs. 500 words One beauty writer found incredible struggle trying to write a simple story on mascara. Her husband, also a journalist, reports from the front lines of conflicts around the globe. While he is off doing exciting things, she is struggling to make mascara interesting. “I was working on a mascara story,” the writer says, “And I had to find a way into this story that was interesting. I had to find a way to make mascara compelling and captivating, and I had to raise the stakes. And I sat there with these tubes of mascara at my desk trying to think, like, how can I make this interesting?” When her husband returned from the war, they had an ongoing debate about which was harder to write. Is it harder to write 10,000 words about a conflict in the Middle East or 500 words about a tube of mascara, which nobody really wants to read about? They just want to wear it, and they want to feel good. And this debate has gone on for ten years. Even her husband eventually agreed that beauty writing is hard. A man who goes to the front lines of war and writes 10,000 words describing it, could not get five words out about why mascara was interesting or exciting. Bottom Line: Beauty Writing is No Small Feat Writers who are looking to pursue or upskill their career in the Beauty industry, take note. Beauty writing is one of the most challenging fields.

Beauty Writing for Print Media: Is It Ad Copy?

The biggest mistake new writers make in the world of beauty is sounding like they’re writing an ad. Say you’re given one shampoo and you have to write about this shampoo. How are you going to make that different from the advertisement for that shampoo? You’re not paid by this company. You are paid by your readership. Your job is to be an editor. It’s the single biggest edit you’ll make in your career as a beauty writer. If it’s a product that you absolutely hate but you have to write about it for the story, you have to acknowledge that maybe you hate it, but maybe there’s somebody who doesn’t. Maybe you have fine hair and somebody has long, thick, coarse hair. There’s always a way to let the reader know that an editor had her hands on this—that it didn’t come out of a factory; that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. “You have to speak truth to power,” says Danielle Pergament, “and the power, in this case, would be Procter and Gamble or Estée Lauder. You have to say, ‘This is the most amazing eye cream I’ve used all week, but at the same time, this one thing happened.’ Or, ‘I didn’t love the smell.’” You have to be honest. It’s the most important thing you can be as a beauty writer.