The scene at Beautycon Festival London.


Ashley Tisdale, Tyra Banks and Sofía Vergara are participating in Beautycon Festival Los Angeles, and it’s not just because they’re fans of Kandee Johnson.

The star wattage at the upcoming fourth annual L.A. edition of the party/convention/entertainment program/community meet-up that connects digital content creators with their fans demonstrates the importance beauty brands today place on commanding eyeballs, likes, clicks, shares and sales on social media. In addition to the celebrities, which include Amber Rose, Olivia Culpo and Christina Milian, the event’s roster boasts around 85 brands, 230 influencers and the pop music duo Jack & Jack performing live.

“At the c-suite inside any beauty brand, they would tell you the landscape has changed. That traditional celebrity endorsement they might have solely counted on in the past is now a multipronged approach. I don’t believe digital replaces magazines or TV, but I do believe that rather than digital being a small percentage of a brand’s budget, it will be 50 percent or more,” said Moj Mahdara, chief executive officer of Beautycon Media, the company spearheading Beautycon on July 9. “My office is filled with people in their early 20s, and they don’t even have a TV. I don’t know if they would see much difference between Michelle Phan and Katy Perry. One of them has built a $1 billion brand, but hasn’t had a half-time show.”

As the power of digital influencers has surged, so have Beautycon’s crowds and footprint. It’s expected to draw 15,000 attendees this year to the Los Angeles Convention Center, a new venue for Beautycon that allows it to occupy 200,000 square feet, up from roughly 3,000 attendees when it made its debut. Within five years, Mahdara predicts Beautycon will reach at least 50,000 attendees and expand from one day of festivities to a packed weekend.

Celebrities, influencers and brands are involved in Beautycon to interact with those attendees — and an audience far greater than them. On the Friday preceding the festival, Banks will host a breakfast for a group of 15 or so content creators and, in the afternoon, Vergara will introduce her latest fragrance to 75 to 100 of them. During Beautycon, Banks will be the focus of a fireside chat and invite guests to Tyra Beauty’s booth, and Tisdale will greet fans to promote her collection with BH Cosmetics called Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale.

Among the key influencers appearing at Beautycon are Teala Dunn, Angel Merino, Tana Mongeau, Alisha Marie, Mia Stammer, Claudia Sulewski, Adelaine Morin, Chelsea Crockett, Vivian Vo Farmer, Kayley Melissa, Shaaanxo and Johnson. Some retailers and beauty brands taking part are QVC, Perfumania, Milani, Tarte Cosmetics, Maybelline New York, Garnier, NYX Cosmetics, Shea Moisture, Lime Crime, Pixi Beauty and 100% Pure. Beautycon has branched beyond beauty into health and wellness with a Wellness Village housing the brands Nike, Gardein, The Edible Apartment, Conscious, L.A. Fresh, Feather and Bone and Califia Farms.

Befitting an event that owes its existence to social media, Beautycon is harnessing social media networks to spread its message outside of the Convention Center. In partnership with Garnier, it will rev up interest in Beautycon globally via Snapchat’s Live Stories platform. During the event, Facebook Live broadcasts will capture the excitement. For Instagram, Beautycon will be producing 30-second and one-minute videos featuring select content creators.

“I love living in a world where people who are important on these platforms are not from traditional backgrounds. The content is so much better now. It’s really a creative time in publishing and commerce,” said Mahdara. “Four years ago, people thought our commerce and digital content [concept] was silly. Four years later, it’s amazing retention and engagement tool, opportunity to collect data and create entertaining content. People are spending the time and energy to go festivals, parties and events. People want a sense of community, and that’s what we’re creating offline and online.”

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