The Beauty revolution is under way.
Why San Francisco is a rising ecosystem for beauty and tech.
I’ve worked in the Beauty industry for many years, traveling to Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai,… Living in Paris or New York. I believe I could be called a multicultural leader, open to all cultures and learning from each conversation and travel.
I’ve always been convinced that California is The place to build a brand. It’s where many iconic and global brands have been founded, and there is a reason for that. Inspired by the beautiful nature, a lifestyle where people take time to know who they are and take care of their impact in the world. Here, entrepreneurs in the beauty industry are at their best.
San Francisco, where I’m lucky enough to have lived for the last two years, is also the city in the Silicon Valley. Here, Tech trends emerge, and investors back mission & data-driven founders, and help them to scale amazing companies.
I believe the future of beauty is in our hands, here, in San Francisco. And I’m excited about the next few years to come.
In the last 2 years in the Bay, I have been lucky enough to meet many entrepreneurs, grabbing a coffee, or talking together in panels. Some of them are obsessed by computer vision : how to help people choosing the right video for a make-up tutorial or some clothes. Some want to use data and customer’s knowledge to have the exact ingredients for their daily routine. Some others think probiotics are the future for skin care.
Great founders, you need mentors, advisors, and investors you trust, people who understand your business model and what you bring to the market.
When you choose an investor, it’s like a partner in life, as you build a relationship with your VC at least for 7 years.
I had also the opportunity to meet many amazing investors, from seed stage to late stage, with a specific focus and a unique DNA.
Feeling lucky and grateful to have met all of you, it gave me the idea to create a community where entrepreneurs and investors could connect. Sharing their passion for beauty and new business models. And learning from each other.
The @BeautyTechSF community (created in April 2017) now gather 280+ members.
Entrepreneurs, investors, C-suite executives, in NY/SF/ LA/London/ Paris, all convinced that there are new ways to be a leader in the Beauty Industry and to impact people’s life.
We had a first meeting Sept 25 at my home, focusing on early stage startups, a lot of fun!
The second meeting was hosted by NextWorld EverGreen on January 25 and focusing on retail and fast growing « early revenues » stage startups. And first and foremost, inspiring Founders and leaders. We were 80 entrepreneurs and investors engaged in a lively conversation.
Let’s come back to key moments of the meeting, Let’s begin by the end, what learnings successful entrepreneurs could share with the next generation.
Let’s listen to their words of wisdom
«Great Founders : New Business Models and new Brands ».
- Tina Sharkey Founder CEO Brandless
- Melody McCloskey Founder CEO StyleSeat
- Brit Morin Founder CEO Brit +Co
- Brad Murray President and Co-Founder Tatcha
Following the questions answers from entrepreneurs attending the event,
FOUNDERS ADVICE TO FOUNDERS:
-BUILD A COMMUNITY: it’s about having people engaged, having an emotional connection with your brand and your products.
-CHOOSE YOUR INVESTOR: as they choose you, it’s all about Trust. Think of the long term, it’s like a journey. It’s a partnership.
- THINK LONG TERM FOR YOUR BRAND AND COMPANY: a great Brand takes 7 to 10 years to be built. Don’t grow too fast to avoid running out of money while dealing with your inventories, and thus diluting your part in the cap table.
WHAT CAN WE BRING TO THE WORLD ESPECIALLY IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY ?
- DIGITAL FIRST means « Simplifying », a lot of work to do on line !
-INSPIRE AND BEING INSPIRED
Other cultures are a source of inspiration : Asia, China, things are moving so fast.
Take the little nuances that come from different cultures, to give extraordinary experiences, digital and physical.
And each Founder personal message :
“Leveraging my own experience, applying it to a new business”… helped me to “Change the norm.”
Before being the Founder & CEO Brandless, (everyday essentials at fairer prices: non-GMO food, clean beauty, non-toxic cleaners and home goods, all for just $3), Tina had an experience as a famous investor (Sherpa capital), backing great founders in the beauty industry.
“Having built things, scaled things. Having met amazing entrepreneurs.
I didn’t want a company like a derivative or other products. I wanted to reimagine what it was to be authentic, being about goodness. With products speaking for themselves. I was helped by the community, people committed to change the norm.”
“We launched on July 11. In 48 hours, we just shipped in 48 states. We’re selling to people! We just try to democratize access to goodness.”
Melody Mc Closkey
«I wanted to solve my own frustation». My company is about “empowering professionals.”
Founder CEO StyleSeat, the largest digital marketplace for beauty services (founded in 2011 and raised $40 Million+). It enables people to book a haircut with your favorite stylist.
“We’re talking about entrepreneurs, hairstylists, they have a passion for what they do, but not the administrative work, booking or marketing.
We help them to double their revenues in a few months.”
“I wanted to start something on my own.
I like professionals because they’re that way.
I called many of them to better understand them and heard moving stories (such as single mothers struggling with two jobs). Styleseat helps them to have a better life and stay independent.”
“We empower people.”
Brit created Brit+co a digital media in late 2011 after having worked for Google and Apple. You actually obtained numerous awards like Forbes 30 under 30.
“People follow more people than brands on social media. So I’m the face of the company.”
“Photography, coding, digital design cooking. Learning how to apply an eyeliner. How to be creative. Millennials can learn with hundred of lessons on our platform.
“Giving the inspiration, the education and the tools women would like to use”.
Co-Founder Tatcha (founded 2009, private equity funding, with Vicky Tsai Co Founder and CEO), with the Japanese beauty, rituals and natural ingredients as a DNA.
« Inspired by Japan, we wanted to be timeless, global, based in San Francisco. In a crowded place, we focus on products, we are slow in the go to market compared to people that take them on the shelves. »
« We are customer focus and using the digital first, even if great partnerships including with Sephora.»
The beauty retailers’ view on current disruptive trends in beauty.
. Holy Siegel creative Director and Brand strategist for a global beauty retailer
. Frédéric Benqué Credo Beauty Board member
. Alain Revah VP Business Dev Poshmark
. Seth Goldstein Founder CEO Beauty Streamer
. Dean Flynn Founder CEO FoyerLive
OUR DIFFERENCE IN THE BAY AREA AS AN ECOSYSTEM ?
- PEOPLE : We take care of our customers natively, Our focus is on the people (not the tech part which is an enabler
- DESIGN Designing systems that could create the surprise.
- ON LINE EXPERIENCE it means a lot of challenges, we can be the best at dealing with it.
Holly Siegel about trends.
Trends in the beauty industry listening to customers.
« Selfcare, Generous brands, … Your brand just has to live it’s truth every day.
« First, self care. Self care went from niche and hippie to meaningful for a lot of us, therefore a continued rise in the organic market is at a high.
Now we must also strive for transparency and reliability. »
« Honest tone, minimal packaging. There is love for brands that feel like they are somehow benevolent and generous.
Influencers will stay, K-beauty will stay. »
« It shouldn’t be scary to be in a fragmented market. If you have a strong brand it will be effortless to stand out and cut through the noise. »
Frederi Benque about Credo Beauty as a retailer (organic brands)
« People want something good for them, they also want to be engaged. Organic means something in their life. »
« We choose brands that have a voice.
It’s nothing like a celebrity fragrance that could be a fade…
The voice chosen for a brand must resonate with a community. And grow with it. »
Let’s now talk about new platforms to emerge on the market.
Alain Revah about Poshmark and influencers (a reference in the fashion industry as a platform, peer to peer sales)
« At Poshmark, we talk about the « fashion democracy ». It’s about the people: people talking to other people, in a one to one basis too. »
« We can see the influence of thousands of people on line. They become seller when they have a voice, they convince other people. »
Seth Goldstein about Beauty Streamer and live video stream.
« I come from the music industry. I was also impressed by engagement on platforms, like Twitch (gaming). We think in terms of engagement, building relationships. »
« Looking at a make-up influencer they like, people will be able to watch a daily routine and open their camera at home to be seen, by someone they respect. »
« I hope it’s not only about Millennials and GenZ behavior, livestream could be. a new way to learn, shop and share experiences for all of us. »
Let’s come back to conclude that panel to the flawless experience we all dream of between in store and on line.
Dean Flynn (FoyerLive )
What are the opportunities for bringing digital interaction into physical retail stores?
« We have been lucky to have Nike as a customer.
On line, I can search, I can browse. We need the same in physical shopping. How do bring technology in the store for a streamlined experience. »
« Customers are looking for an experience in stores. Even on line brands are thinking about the physical experience, the chance to touch the customers. Bringing the digital into the physical experience is essential. »
The next @BeautyTechSF meeting is already planned June 25 and we should be able to welcome 100+ attendees. Stay tune !
Check out San Francisco Beauty&Tech meet up. Data&Mission drivenhttp://meetu.ps/c/39XtM/w4m3m/a
Thank you all. Odile