Beauty Is in the Eye of These Beholders


Aveda also handed out coupons for 15 percent off a shopper’s first online order if placed by the end of the month and offered 20 percent off all purchases on site, a rarity for the brand. “We don’t discount very often at all,” said Cydney Strommen, director of marketing communications for Aveda-North America. Unlike the fashion world, which has been plagued by pricing pressure and rampant discounting, beauty brands very rarely go on sale.

Nearly three-quarters of BeautyCon’s target audience — Gen Z-ers and younger millennials that Ms. Mahdara calls “pivotals” — say they are influenced more by “content creators” than traditional celebrities, according to Beautycon’s research. Many of the digital stars that were the original draw have catapulted into massive, and massively profitable, operations, some boasting major sponsorship packages with five-figure appearance deals.

“For regular people, you are like, ‘Who are these people?’” said Ukonwa Ojo, chief marketing officer for consumer beauty at Coty, which had booths for CoverGirl, Rimmel London and Sally Hansen at Beautycon in New York and Los Angeles this year. But beauty junkies “know them and they love them,” she said.

Coty sees Beautycon as a rare chance for consumers to experiment with its products. The three showcased at Beautycon are primarily sold in drugstores and big box chains without a testing option. “For a lot of people it’s the first time they ever been to a place where they could try all of our products before,” Ms. Ojo said.

These beauty-obsessed consumers are particularly valuable resources for companies, she added, as they are more open to fashion-forward looks and willing to experiment with new products that have yet to go to a wide market.

In Los Angeles, Rimmel London introduced 14 new shades of its Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour, as well as the Wonder’Fully Real Mascara. “If they love it, you’ve won an advocate,” Ms. Ojo said. And winning an advocate, she added, means that that shopper will share it with his or her followers, who may then want to try it themselves. Every one, after all, is an influencer.

‘I Feel So Amazing Here’

From his perch in a hall conference room, one floor up and overlooking the mazelike scene below, Beautycon’s executive vice president, Tripp Mahan, smiled. He considers himself the event’s “conductor,” with the stated goal of “curated chaos.”


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