Remember when Coty bought a 60% stake in Younique in 2017 and the world of beauty stopped in its tracks to ask WHY???? They paid $600 million for it back then and sold it last year – to the original founders – for a reported $78 million citing the ‘different nature’ of the two companies business models. I’m no mathematician but even I understand that water + drain = money all gone. I don’t know how I missed it before and now I’m wondering whether L’Occitane is eyeing its acquisition of Limelife by Alcone, another MLM company, nervously.
L’Oreal’s at-home personalisation device, Perso, that allows you to customise your skin care and make up at home sure does sound complicated. Consult Breezometer geo-location for your day’s environmental skin needs, as well as your hydration levels, colour preferences and so on. Snap a selfie, send the picture to the app along with your target preferences and let the device deliver your perfect daily skin care recipe from the internal cartridges. Hope you don’t have to leave in a rush. It’s due for launch in 2021. I have to admit I am tempted by the idea of personalising lipstick for the day – you know when you inexplicably just don’t have quite the colour you want despite having 700 lipsticks? The industry always gets hyper-excited about new tech and gadgetry which doesn’t seem to translate to the same enthusiasm in consumers (other than in China) – who is still using their Lidl Face Mask Maker now?
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Proctor & Gamble is making plans to buy Billie, a US start-up personal care brand that sells women’s shaving products – razors, body lotions and shave foam (including a matte finish body lotion which I’ve never come across before). It’s not so long ago that P&G offloaded 43 of their brands to Coty. Possibly the bigger story here is perhaps a projected decline in waxing and lasering.
A brand that jumped into my mind recently is Revlon’s Flesh Beauty – a younger, cooler and more directive arm of Revlon created by ex-Allure editor Linda Wells (also creative director at Revlon). It’s not really done anything since it launched aside from losing Linda as creative director because she left quite quickly after the Flesh launch. She continues in an advisory capacity. I really had thought that it would cross the pond – initially it was sold in Ulta stores exclusively but the brand now has its own website for direct sales. The alarm bell is that the brand didn’t divulge their first year sales and usually, if there is something to shout about, they do. Speaking of Revlon, last August they hired Goldman Sachs to ‘explore strategic options’ which likely means they’re looking to sell at least part of the company (Elizabeth Arden (bought in 2016), Almay, Cutex to name a few) if not the whole lot.
As we know, the job of a marketer is to find the things you are most worried about and scare you witless just before selling you all better again. So, look out for fragrances for sleep – I don’t mean a pillow mist, but blends to wear as a bed perfume to supposedly help you slumber all night. All those hours we sleep, we aren’t shopping…and that’s good spending time wasted, right? 😊
Another micro trend that has crept out of nowhere is Stick Masks. Basically, mask blends in stick form. Great for portability and travel. I’ve spotted them on Japanese and Korean sites as well as at Sephora – and surprisingly, from Olay.
Bobbi Brown didn’t hang about once she’d left her brand in the hands of ELC. She brought out a supplement centred ‘wellness’ brand, Evolution_18 in the US and it’s now available here. If you look on the US website, it seems nicely affordable at $13 for Beauty Grow Capsules for hair, skin and nails – it’s £15 here which isn’t too much of a price disparity but the $13 Beauty Gummies are £20 in Boots which is a big hike and doesn’t seem consistent (wondering if it is a mistake).
A little note I picked up from Vogue Business is that at Net-A-Porter, 40% of their beauty sales come from 3% of their customers. Wow.
I’ve only got the Leeds and Oxford Street John Lewis branches to draw experience from but my goodness, when did it get so hectic? This week’s profit news from the store doesn’t feel like a surprise (JL had a pre-tax loss amounting to £26m in the six months to 27 July whereas the previous year they took a profit and Christmas sales were down),– the Oxford Street beauty hall barely has room for customers because it every inch is jam packed with stuff. The marketing boss has gone – very shortly before starting her new roles as Joint Head of Brands for both Waitrose and John Lewis. My feeling is that John Lewis customers don’t want the chaotic atmosphere that greets everyone peeling in off Oxford Street – I can’t wait to get out of there and yet, there was a time when I couldn’t wait to get in. It would be good to see a return to slower shopping – space to think and move would keep me, and I suspect, other shoppers, there for longer and therefore spending more. There needs to be a much tighter edit on the beauty floor – dump some of the classic brands that demand too much space and allocate it to combined counters (such as a multi-brand hair counter) with impartial consultants that know their field. It’s miserable news for the John Lewis staff who possibly, for the first time, won’t get their bonus but have still put the hours in. I feel certain that a marketing stance that talks better to the customers they already have will bring new consumers in a ‘if you build it they will come’ kind of way. I just don’t know if they’re brave enough to break from the herd.
Another rumoured imminent sale is Tata Harper – no news of the buyers but there is a lot of speculation that one of the big players will pick up this brand to add to their inventory. It has Unilever written all over it.
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