The Stella Rising team recently attended Beauty Accelerate and the Glossy Forum: The Age of E-Commerce, both of which offered some strong insights into brand building, e-commerce, and retail. Here, a few of our top takeaways that will be most influential for growing strong brands.
- Beauty: What Specialty Retailers Look for From New Brands
- As our own research indicates, 86% of women shop for beauty both in-store and online; the beauty consumer is highly omni-channel. Increasingly, in order to scale and connect with consumers IRL, indie beauty brands are establishing physical retail, whether through wholesale, a pop-up, or their own brick and mortar solution. If wholesale is a part of the strategy, what are retailers seeking when they incorporate a new brand? Speaking at Beauty Accelerate, Heather Connelly of upscale retailer Cosbar said her team focuses on packaging, formulations, and distribution when considering new brands. Her co-panelist, Credo Beauty co-founder Annie Jackson said that Credo seeks to bring in brands with strong founder stories, where the reason for being is readily apparent. Jackson believes that Credo has been successful at retail because they understand their consumer so deeply: “our customer is conscientious and seeking brands that she aligns with.”
- Beauty: Staying in Retail
- As Jackson noted, “the real work comes after the P.O.” With an intense scrutiny on what the brand will do to assist in-store sales, Credo and Cosbar both expect educational content, in-person training, testers, samples, and a collaborative approach. Those launching into retail need to prepare to hustle, and once you go into distribution, exiting is difficult. Once consumers expect an omnichannel experience from your brand, they will likely be disappointed with a regression to DTC. Pulling out of retail can hurt credibility with consumers and other retailers.
- Fashion: Founder Brands and Authenticity
- Female-founder and leader of the eponymous womenswear brand, Rebecca Minkoff described at the Glossy event that she firmly believes that video is the opportunity for authentic storytelling. Expounding on authenticity, Minkoff described rooting her company in digital to connect with consumers and control the environment. Feeling that one-to-one connections with consumers are of critical importance, Minkoff has just launched a podcast as well as the Female Founder Collective, a logo that denotes female-led companies. Minkoff said that she purposefully features herself in most of the creative—not due to vanity—but because she views it as the most authentic way to tell her story.
- Beauty: What White Space Do Retailers See in the Beauty Market?
- One: Tools
- Two: Luxury clean beauty
- Three: Innovation in color cosmetics
- Four: Clean hair care
- Apparel: On DTC Brands Opening Brick and Mortar
- Launched in 2016 by former Vogue editors, French-girl-inspired La Ligne has become a buzzy womenswear DTC brand. Speaking at the Glossy Forum, co-founder Valerie Macaulay said the brand is now 80% DTC, though they wish it were more so. Similarly to Minkoff, Macaulay feels that digital is best for maintaining control. Still, the brand recently opened brick and mortar, creating a living room-like experience (rosé included). Within the new space, the brand finds that consumers are willing to experiment more, purchasing additional items they might otherwise not have. DTC brands are increasingly turning to retail so that consumers can connect with them firsthand. Lest we forget, only about 11% of all U.S. sales happen online. Customers want to partake in brands everywhere—online, in-store, on social media, through search engines—and forging an offline experience allows brands to meet them on their terms.
Powered by a deep understanding of the marketplace, at Stella Rising we recognize how brands need to evolve in order to continue scaling. Ensure that your strategy is a smart one by connecting with us.
Additional Sources: eMarketer 2019