I’m going to start with some influencer news (or ‘tea’ if you follow influencers!). Chiara Ferragni (aka The Blonde Salad) is a HUGE Italian blogger/businesswoman (her own description and very nice to see the word blogger leading the way) with various businesses of her own. She turned her blog into a multi-million pound empire yet is now facing criminal charges of fraud. There have been rumblings for some time but things came to a head late last year when she claimed sales of a pink pandoro, designed by Ferragni, would raise funds for a children’s hospital in Italy. The reality turned out to be somewhat different – the ‘donations’ were already pre-arranged by the producers of the pandoro to the tune of EU50,000 and Ferragni’s companies (two of them) made around about EU1million from the collaboration. Italy’s consumer watchdog felt the pandoro had been falsely advertised and violated consumer codes. The manufacturer of the pandoro was also fined – EU420,000. It’s not just the fine which has pinched at the accounts – various brand deals (one of them Coca Cola) have been scrapped by the brands. It’s a lesson in growing an empire too big to manage (I don’t think for a moment that Ferragni sat down and wondered how she could screw a charitable initiative for a million euros) and how quickly the tides can turn. It’s been keeping Italy riveted for months now despite the fact that she has now donated EU1million to the hospital in question.

Remember Cover FX? When it launched in the UK several years back, much was made of the fact that it was co-founded by Lee Graff and Victor Casale, the latter being a founder of MAC which was sold to Estee Lauder in 1998. However, the recent sale of Cover FX to AS Beauty (who own Laura Geller, Mally Beauty and Julep Beauty) erases Victor’s involvement, claiming the owner is Lee Graff. Looking at the company’s Bloomberg profile, Victor is still listed as present with the company as Chief Innovation Officer and while Lee is listed as co-founder, Victor is not. What happened here? Victor has a new company – MOB beauty – but this reminds me of when Rumiko was totally erased from the history of RMK make up which was named for her.  CoverFX has a strong presence on QVC but otherwise, is not particularly a player in the UK market.

The Body Shop at Home is closing as of the end of February 2023. It’s not really something that enters my sphere so I forget about its existence at all, but in fact, there are thousands of TBS at Home consultants who make a living from hosting TBS parties. I’m a big fan of TBS product but I can see why it has been outgrown by digital. Just as we are at a time when ‘real world’ social interactions are the lowest they’ve ever been thanks to having our heads in our phones all the time, it feels so much like an indicator of how we live now. However, TBS will be offering their At Home consultants the opportunity to pivot to digital consultants. The shape of this is as yet undisclosed. Additionally, TBS new owners, Aurelius, is apparently about to digest itself of parts of their international business, selling their mainland Europe and parts of Asia arms.

Speaking of closures, the Kinder Beauty Box, specializing in clean, vegan and natural beauty products has shuttered. Subscription boxes in general are struggling. Once the pandemic ended people assessed just how much beauty product they’d accumulated but at the same time, wanted to get out and about into shops rather than relying on on-line, causing a double blow to the subscription market. Supply chain issues (still ongoing) didn’t help either. In an attempt to pivot, Kinder developed their own skin care line KND so whether that will strike out on its own, I don’t know. It’s not the only subscription box in trouble – THG bought Glossybox in 2017 and closed its USA arm in July 2023.

We need to be looking at L’Oreal’s investment in sustainability. All the big brands are obsessed with saving water (quite rightly) and the best way to enable the consumer to join the water saving initiatives is to serve it in salons. It’s hard to save water in a domestic situation other than the obvious (shorter showers, using waste water in the garden) but a water saving technology company called Gjosa, and specifically, their water saving shower head, caught L’Oreal’s eye and after initial investment it has now bought Gjosa in full. Look out too for L’Oreal’s newest hair tool, the AirLight Pro, using infra-red technology to dry hair faster and use up to less than 31% of the energy consumption of a regular dryer. It’s designed currently for salons, but it won’t be a more than a minute until a consumer version comes along.

It wouldn’t be a BBN without a juicy class action story – this time, it’s Neutrogena facing the music in an action that alleges the brand’s T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo is being marketed as preservative free when it does, in fact, contain preservatives. The sticking points are that the product contains citric acid which is commonly used as a preservative but on the shampoo labelling, it is listed as an inactive ingredient. My understanding of this is that Neutrogena has labelled the product preservative free because the citric is inactive, but of course, it’s not preservative free if it contains citric acid whether its purpose is to preserve or not. According to trends, there’s likely to be an uptick in class actions aimed solely at the ‘clean’ beauty arena.

The Hut Group (THG) has announced its intention to make 160 redundancies across marketing, sales and warehousing.  A proportion of redundancies are because of warehouses becoming automated. This, after reports of £597.9m of sales last quarter. They’ll be the first to use AI marketing I am sure of it – a lot of marketing, particularly what I receive on Instagram feels like AI as it is – if all social media outreach becomes so homogenized that a machine can do it, then social media agencies need to watch out. If ever there is a time to be more individualized and tailored, it’s now.

Puig has acquired a majority stake in skincare brand, Dr Sturm, while Barbara Sturm retains a minority stake. Puig acquired the Charlotte Tilbury brand in 2022. Other brands in the Puig stable are Byredo, Penhaligons, Dries Van Noten, Caroline Herrera, L’Artisan Parfumeur and Christian Louboutin (licensed).

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All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.