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Adam Sandow Creates Beauty’s New Matchmaker

If the entrepreneur has his way, new Web site BeautyDNA.com, launching to the public in early June, will become the Netflix of beauty.

A sample beauty report from BeautyDNA.com

If entrepreneur Adam Sandow has his way, new Web site BeautyDNA.com, launching to the public in early June, will become the Netflix of beauty.

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“BeautyDNA is a game changer in that it will evolve how women discover beauty products,” said Sandow, chief executive officer of the company that bears his name, which also counts retailer Fred Segal and magazine NewBeauty in its portfolio. “It’s similar to Netflix with movies and Pandora, which matches listeners to the right songs and artists for them. BeautyDNA is a beauty matchmaker, connecting consumers and brands like never before. It will empower women so that they aren’t making the same beauty mistakes time and time again. Imagine a warehouse full of thousands of products, it’s completely overwhelming. One person comes and hands you the perfect product for you from that warehouse — that is BeautyDNA.”

“Launching an online service matching women with the right products was a natural evolution for our company,” added Yolanda Yoh Bucher, chief creative officer of Sandow. “When we looked at Pandora, Netflix and online dating sites that use sophisticated algorithms to match people with music, movies and mates, we thought, ‘Why not create something that powerful for beauty?’”

The key to BeautyDNA’s ability to match its customers with products lies in its proprietary, detailed survey process, Sandow explained. From specific beauty concerns to scents to key ingredients a member prefers or dislikes, BeautyDNA’s survey addresses every preference that goes into product selection. Members are also provided with detailed diagrams and descriptions throughout the survey to ensure they understand the questions posed throughout the process. “What they don’t want is just as important, whether it be they don’t want certain ingredients like sulfates or parabens or they don’t like certain fragrances,” Sandow said. “They will never get a product which contains something they’ve stated they don’t like.”

Consumers pay $25 per month for the service, which includes shipping, handling, one full-size product (occasionally, the brand will throw in a second as a freebie) and a customized beauty report that explains how exactly the product matches up with the user’s personal beauty profile. The profile also includes information about the product’s key benefits, directions for use, suggested retail price and retail channels where it can be purchased.

Sandow noted that the assortment of products include mass, prestige and derm brands, mirroring the way most women shop. Brands include Ahava, Dr. Brandt, Moroccanoil, Natura Bisse, Skinceuticals and Orlane Paris. As of the end of April, 20 brands were already in the system, and more are coming.

Sandow spent two years developing BeautyDNA, first working with a team of chemists, dermatologists, beauty editors and algorithm experts, including spending a year working with a Wall Street algorithm whiz, Farshid Tafazzoli, to create the methodology that forms the base of BeautyDNA’s system. The company has been quietly beta-testing the concept over the last few weeks. While Sandow executives declined comment on revenues, industry sources estimated that the site could generate $25 million in its first year on counter.