Brand Startup: Setting Brand Culture

It’s critical to consider various customer scenarios, situations, and lifestyles while planning future launches. In this article, we will use clean products as a branding example. It’s critical to consider the whole scope of what clean and sustainable really entails. Clean is more than just a list of ingredients to avoid—it involves much more than that. You’ll have clean formulation requirements. You will list out what ingredients you like to use and what you prefer not to. It’s more of an educational opportunity than a condemnation of any ingredients. Essentially, you’ll choose not to use certain ingredients because you believe there are better alternatives out there. But what about the formulation process? How are your ingredients incorporated? What methods do you use to take customers behind the scenes? Also, how are you involving customers in the testing process to ensure that goods are truly appropriate for a wide range of skin tones and textures? As a company, how do you think about language? Because businesses must be conscious not only in terms of visual diversity but also in terms of language. Some brands have pledged not to use phrases like “poreless” or “flawless” in their marketing. And, more lately, anti-aging or ageless has been added to the list. This is because they want to ensure that the language and imagery are truly driving a positive customer experience. These brands are normalizing things that should be normalized, such as skincare and self-care. This open debate about sustainable, clean, and conscious beauty is extremely important because the customer deserves to know. They also need to know which brands are they buying into—which organizations they are supporting. The industry will continue to evolve in this direction. It is more vital than ever for brands to be as transparent as possible about who they are and what they stand for so that their customers are not confused.

What Is The Beauty Department Like at Allure Magazine?

Are you familiar with the beauty department in print and digital media? If not, you might not be alone. The beauty department, sometimes called the “lifestyle department,” is a subsection of a magazine responsible for covering topics (like makeup tips or fashion) connected to women’s lifestyles. Since it deals with weighty subjects like cosmetics and beauty trends, the people working there are usually presentable and outgoing. Learn about the different levels and careers in a beauty media department.

Beauty Director

A typical beauty department is structured with the beauty director at the top. The beauty director is responsible for ensuring everything within the department runs smoothly.

Beauty Editor

Under the beauty director is the beauty editor. There can be multiple beauty editors for a given department. They’re in charge of individual sections of the magazine. For instance, at Allure magazine, one beauty editor is in charge of the reporter section, the “News” section, containing all the newest products and industry news.

Associate Beauty Editor

Below the beauty editor is the associate beauty editor. Like the beauty editor’s role, they also do a little writing and editing. In addition to writing and editing duties, they coordinate market work. Attending multiple events in a single day isn’t uncommon. Some days, there may be ten events for the associate beauty editor to attend, which means they’ll need to know how to prioritize and decline events at times.

Beauty Assistants and Beauty Interns

Next are the beauty assistants. They’re mostly in charge of the administrative stuff. Interns also work on the administrative level. In addition, interns organize productions. For example, if there’s a story about sunscreen, the intern has to email every major company to gather information on the newest sunscreens.

Getting Started in Beauty Media:

The vast majority of people in the beauty industry begin as assistants, including the top-of-the-class Harvard graduates. It’s a common misconception that a great college education and writing courses will land you an editorial job fresh out of college. You can’t become a beauty editor without putting in your dues and working your way up the ladder. You’ll file, go through press releases, go to events, answer the phone, and do the scheduling. If you do the tasks you’re presented with really well at the administrative level; eventually, you can pitch story ideas. If your ideas get picked up, you can write the article. It’s all part of the process.

The right attitude along the way can help you rise to the top faster. Remember, there’s always room to grow. So don’t get discouraged by starting at the bottom. It’s just the nature of the beast, and nearly every editor started there, too.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in beauty media or related beauty careers? Download The Ultimate Beauty Career Guide to match your perfect dream job and learn how you can take your next steps. 

An Introduction to Beauty Industry Essentials Module 7: Beauty Media

There are many different career paths and areas of interest in the beauty industry. The seventh module of Yellowbrick’s Beauty Industry Essentials online course takes a deep dive into beauty media. During the course, students will learn about the challenges faced by beauty media professionals, learn about the skills and knowledge needed to write for print and online publications, explore the impact of social media on the beauty industry, and get an overview of the career opportunities available.

Be a Journalist First

Danielle Pergament, a contributing editor and former executive editor at Allure breaks down what students can expect to take away from the course. Pergament is well-versed in all things beauty writing. However, there’s more to the beauty business than it may appear. Thorough beauty education and journalistic research skills are critical to accurately writing and reporting on beauty developments.

Beauty Media

“When people hear that I work at Allure, their first or second question is always about beauty,” says Pergament. “What comes up a lot is beauty as journalism and how that’s not a contradiction in terms. This is something Allure has pioneered for 25 years, the idea that you can report on an eye cream, that certain products are more efficient and effective than others, that there is real journalism to be had in there.”

Skepticism is Necessary in Beauty Media

As a beauty media writer, you have to dig deeper — you can never trust a press release at face value. “I tell our reporters and writers to believe that everything is a lie. Believe every press release you get is completely untrue,” says Pergament.

Beauty Media

She suggests going to an impartial third-party source, getting double-blind studies, and digging deeper into online beauty education. “You have to find the story and why it matters to people in beauty,” she advises. Why should somebody spend $30 on a product? Why should somebody get a cosmetic procedure? If they’re going to spend this money, it’s your job to deliver that information and make your reader a satisfied consumer.

Pergament states, “it’s an exciting time because we’ve moved on to a place where there are no beauty rules. Now, having blue hair is not shocking, nor is it men experimenting with makeup.” As beauty media members and journalists, it’s your job to report on trends factually and truthfully, not judge them, and share what readers need to know.

Are you interested in the aspects of beauty writing and the careers surrounding beauty and media? Check out Beauty Industry Essentials online course, or download The Ultimate Beauty Career Guide.

Industry Perspectives: Danielle Pergament on Beauty Writing for Print

Danielle Pergament’s expertise in beauty writing is second to none. Her work has been published by New York TimesCondé Nast Traveler, and Marie Claire, and she has served as an Executive Editor for Allure and Editor-in-Chief of goop.com. As one of the mentors featured in Yellowbrick’s Beauty Industry Essentials online course, she spoke with us about the tools necessary to be successful as a beauty writer and editors.

Find Your Own Voice

I recently interviewed somebody for a job, and there was a long discussion about what the job entails. This person would have to go to beauty events, organize products, and so forth. I said, “the only thing I care about is that you can get me from the beginning of a sentence to the end of one; that you don’t use cliches, and that you don’t write in magazine speak.” By that, I meant a generic woman’s magazine voice. You want to surprise the reader.

Separate Yourself as a Beauty Writer

When I started off as an editor, the internet was a nonentity. Now, everybody has such a strong social presence. There are so many voices out there. So, for print to rise above, we have to speak like humans. There’s no place in the world anymore for generic, cliched voices. I want every sentence to be compelling, clever, pithy, and engaging. To become a beauty writer, you have to care more about writing than beauty. Take whatever space that is given —  whether it’s 200 or 2,000 words, give me and make me feel something. As cheesy as it sounds, you want to elevate the human spirit. Your only loyalty is to the reader. You want to make that reader feel engaged, hang on to every word, and not just flip through. There’s no place for that “yay, just between us gals” voice anymore.

Find the Right Publication for Your Voice

The voice of Allure, if we do our jobs right, is nonjudgmental. It’s a little snarky, but not sarcastic. It’s never cruel; we never talk about envy. I hope that we are a judgment-free zone that makes people feel fun and engaged, and that the sentences are pithy, alive, and cliche-free.

Relax a Little Bit

I have no problem with broken sentences. I have no problem with stories that start with “OK, here’s the thing” because that makes me want to find out what the thing is. I think that men’s magazines have been — and I hate to say this — more successful over the years than women’s magazines. I don’t know if they have more free reign or if the writers just have more stuff they can say. But women’s magazines tend to be over-edited and the voice can be watered down. When you have 10 editors, you never make things more creative. So, I always encourage my writers or the people I’m interviewing to just let it out. Talk like you’re talking to your best friend after a cup of coffee or after a glass of wine. What makes you feel most creative? That’s what we want on the paper.

Greenwashing 101: Identifying Ethical Fashion

Sustainability and ethical fashion have been among the most discussed topics in the fashion industry over the last ten years. For decades, fashion has contributed to environmental harm through mass production, has exploited workers, and decimated natural products. As the effects of the fashion business have become more evident, some within fashion have embraced change. More companies and designers are searching for innovative ways to create fashion without destroying the environment. Brands have committed to using natural dyes instead of synthetic ones, reducing their carbon footprint, or limiting water waste.
sustainable fashion
Brands have committed to using natural dyes. Photographer: Ethan Bodnar | Source: Unsplash
Although many brands are forthright in their intentions and goals, others are more interested in the appearance of being sustainable. This approach — known as greenwashing or greenvertising — allows companies to use deceptive tactics to retain environmentally-conscious consumers without having to put any effort into the causes they claim. As a consumer, how do you know your money is going to companies that share the same values as you? Likewise, how do you know you’re aligning yourself with transparent brands if you’re a fashion enthusiast? Below, we take a look at greenwashing and how to decide which brands are right for you.
Companies use greenwashing tactics to retain environmentally-conscious consumers without having to put any effort into the causes they claim.

What is Greenwashing?

It wasn’t that long ago that sustainable fashion was considered a fad. The fashion industry has been allowed to operate without regard for the environment, and some believe things will never change. Gatekeepers often dismissed concerns about fashion’s detrimental effects on the environment, pointing to an impractical and overly sensitive younger generation that didn’t see the benefits of capitalism. However, Gen-zers have come into their spending power, and they’ve made it clear that ethical fashion will become a pillar of the industry. Still, some brands are hesitant to let go of old ways.
Greenwashing is a marketing tactic in which companies provide false or misleading information in their advertising that suggests their products are environmentally safe. For example, a company may publicly claim that their clothing is made from recycled materials, but only a small fraction of the product uses recycled fabric. In contrast, the other materials are sourced from synthetics. In this instance, the brand is withholding information from consumers, thereby leaning into the idea that their products are green.

Why Do Brands Use Greenwashing?

Greenwashing isn’t a new practice, and money is typically the root cause. The term was first introduced to the masses by Jay Westerveld in a 1986 essay. In it, he exposes the “save the towel” movement used widely in hotels at the time. As part of the movement, hotels placed signs in hallways and suites that encouraged patrons to reuse towels to limit water use. Westerveld posited it as a scheme for hotels to improve their bottom line by reducing laundry costs. The demand for sustainable fashion and green products has risen dramatically. Some brands have struggled to keep pace with shifting consumer expectations and looked to fashion marketing to close the gap. To preserve the time and money that would go towards overhauling their sourcing and manufacturing, they deploy deceptive advertising campaigns to capture a segment of a lucrative market.
Sustainability and transparency often go hand in hand. Companies that are serious about the environment are typically excited to share their initiatives.

Looking Beyond Marketing Tactics

Greenwashing is meant to deceive consumers, so it may be challenging to determine which brands are green and which are pretending. However, here are a few tips to spot greenwashing.
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  • Search brand sites for reports. Sustainability and transparency often go hand in hand. Companies that are serious about the environment are typically excited to share their initiatives. Brands like The Classic T-Shirt Company have detailed reports on their current and projected carbon footprint and water waste.
  • Are these brands certified? There are many groups and committees dedicated to holding brands accountable. For example, B-Corporation measures both environmental and social impacts from participants. To be certified, brands must undergo the B Impact, which evaluates a brand’s impact on its workers, consumers, community, and environment.
  • Do more research. Several laws and government actions exist to protect the environment. For Example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tracks brands that violate laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
To learn more about the importance of transparency marketing for sustainable fashion, explore Yellowbrick’s Fashion Industry Essentials course. For a deeper look into fashion marketing careers, download Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Fashion Career Guide.