I hate to say it but the Sephora-in-the-UK rumours are back. We have been here so many times before but it looks like it’s scheduled for 2019/2020. If it happens at all… I’m past caring. Speaking of Sephora, they’ve confirmed that the reason the UK can no longer access their US site is data protection.

You wouldn’t want to be Lush in Australia right now – due to a ‘payroll error’, they’ve been underpaying their staff since 2010. But, once the mistake was realised (although…. eight years!!) they reported themselves to the relevant authorities so that it can be put right through the correct processes.

In the latest round of acquisitions, P&G has snapped up First Aid Beauty. If you don’t know First Aid, it’s quite a cool, mid-price, problem-solution brand that’s a good fit for the P&G portfolio. The brand has been quiet for some time now (presumably while negotiations take place) but it’s ready for some new creative thinking and investment.

Pat McGrath’s own beauty brand has allowed private equity firm Eurazeo to take a minority stake. As far as I can see, it’s their first beauty acquisition – they’ve got investments in Moncler and Desigual on the fashion side. The bigger question is when might Pat McGrath come here other than via Net A Porter? Everyone is chasing it. Part of the statement from Eurazeo about their stake alluded to joining the brand on its ‘global journey’. We’re ready!

Iconic London has been acquired by private investment firm Blue Gem (also see QMS Medicosmetics, Jack Wills and Dr Vranjes to name a few) who plan a US roll out. I don’t think Iconic made much of a ripple here – it’s a very, very average make up brand – so not sure how well it’s going to do over in the US where there is even more ‘high street’ make up competition.

Chanel lawyers are on the warpath (rightly so) suing an eBay seller for 56 million dollars (yikes) for selling their beauty and fragrance products unpackaged and unauthorised.

Look out for Tarte Cosmetics’ diffusion line – Awake, having a relaunch. I never knew it had launched in the first place so perhaps you could say it’s due!  They’re both owned by Japanese company Kose (Jill Stuart, Decorte, Addiction and the Japanese Rimmel licence) so Awake is bringing some steady and reputable skin care and make up to the millenial party. It’s not available in the UK yet and Tarte in the UK is mainly from QVC so perhaps that’s where we’ll see Awake first.

If ever there was a stronger indication that brands are exerting zero tolerance over mega-influencers, it’s the (awful) story of Kuwaiti beauty blogger Sondos al Qattan who posted an Instagram live video bemoaning the fact the her Filipino maid was now entitled to four days off a month. Previously Filipino workers had few rights and often had their passports taken from them. She worried about how she would get a refund if her maid returned to her home country and on that basis didn’t want a Filipino servant any more.  Within a few hours of the inevitable backlash, Max Factor severed their ties with her, as did fragrance brand M. Micallef. Also, MAC has announced no further activities (they have nothing in progress currently with Sondos) with her will ever happen, apparently even unfollowing her on Instagram, and French hair brand Phyto has pulled their partnerships with her. It’s unlikely she’s work with global brands again. We could go back only a couple of years and brands might have tried a diplomatic approach rather than the blanket, quick fire withdrawal of partnerships. If you’re a mega-influencer it’s time to realise that it’s not about you all of the time – if you enter into professional contracts and partnerships with brands, whatever you say and whatever you do represents them too. This beauty blogger has ruined her own professional reputation and potentially damaged her partnering brands’ reputations too…. it’s a warning shot.

Sources & Resources: Theguardian.com, globalcosmeticnews.com, aljazeera.com, thefashionlaw.com

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