When Kirstie and Aisling McDermott chatted about blackhead-busting Silver Powder by Mario Badescu, stores in Dublin, the sisters’ hometown, ran out of the product quicker than you can say “zit zapper.” Of course, the fact that the siblings, who founded beauty blog Beaut.ie, were “chatting” with about 130,000 visitors to their Web site certainly helped.
The McDermotts are part of a new breed of beauty mavens who, because of their close contact with end consumers, are increasingly garnering attention from brands. “We treat many of them as we would any member of the beauty media,” says Nina White, deputy general manager and senior vice president of marketing for L’Oréal-owned Lancôme.
“We consider them journalists,” concurs Simone Carneiro, Internet director at Brazilian brand Natura. Like Lancôme and Natura, firms from Jean Paul Gaultier Parfums to Sephora send bloggers products, invite them to launches and sometimes sponsor their sites. The McDermotts receive up to 20 products a week and attend industry events, including L’Oréal’s Color Awards ceremony in May. For brands, blogs offer low-risk financial investment (advertising can earn blog authors between $2,000 and $3,300 a month) with potentially explosive sales results. “We had endless e-mails from men asking where they could buy it for their girlfriends,” says Kirstie McDermott, of Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream after it was featured on Beaut.ie.
“Our products have more value if they’re recommended by somebody else,” says Natura’s Carneiro. According to tracking firm Ipsos, more than 25 million adults in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have changed their minds about a company or its products after reading comments or reviews on a blog. “When a blogger says that a product is good, it’s much more valuable than a simple ad,” says Paris blogger Delphine, whose site, deedeeparis.com, scores 4,000 hits a day. It also has attracted sponsorship from L’Oréal-owned Garnier to film bimonthly podcasts with various celebrities.
“Faced with thousands of product launches, women are looking to help themselves by going online,” explains Alisa Beyer, president of The Benchmarking Co., based in Washington, which published a report dubbed “Beauty and the Blog” in April. “They’re asking each other: ‘What did you buy? What do you think of this product?’”
The report found that 22 percent of American women visit an average of six beauty blogs, join three and post comments on at least two. With more than 50 million blogs and message boards talking about beauty, blogger networks have a broad reach, meaning that brands can have an instant hit after receiving the thumbs-up from cyber critics. “There’s a general tendency to lemming behavior,” says Meg Greenhalgh, whose Faking Good Breeding blog attracts 1,000 hits daily. “The mascara I reviewed yesterday gained cult status. After one blogger reviews it, other bloggers want to try it.”
Bloggers attribute their influence to perceived independence. “People really need specific recommendations that they can trust—we’re not paid by anyone, so we can be honest and talk about the products we love, buy and recommend,” says Kirstie McDermott.
“Blogs are becoming more influential as people consider them to be real and not swayed by massive advertising spends,” agrees Lindsey Kelk, who started a blog called Beautymecca.blogspot in January.
Lianne Farbes, of Themakeupgirl.typepad, summed up: “Being cute is expensive. You may as well let someone else be your guinea pig before you spend your hard-earned money, right?”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye