Beauty is in the throes of a youthquake. Millennials are driving innovations in product development, communications, commerce and creativity—from both an industry and a consumer point of view. Here, WWD Beauty Inc’s guide to 50 people under 40, both entrepreneurs and execs who are part of established companies, and are leading the industry forward into ever new and uncharted territory.
Jessica Alba, Founder, The Honest Co.
While The Honest Co. has been in the news lately for all of the wrong reasons, fighting allegations that its products aren’t all natural and its sunscreen doesn’t work, sales haven’t been materially impacted say analysts, thanks to Jessica Alba’s star power. (Honest Co. says that the charges are without merit.) Meanwhile, the company, said to have sales of $250 million to $300 million, rolls, on, launching Honest Beauty in Ulta in 2015. Reports also abound that Honest Co. is shifting into sell mode or planning an initial public offering. Execs have remained mum, but the consensus is that whatever happens, Alba will remain as a key spokesperson for at least the next few years—and her popularity with the public shows no signs of waning.
Lora Arellano, Cofounder, Melt Cosmetics
Dana Bomar, Cofounder, Melt Cosmetics
Four years ago, Lora Arellano and Dana Bomar met behind neighboring beauty counters at Nordstrom and bonded over their mutual love of makeup. After bemoaning the lack of matte lipsticks in bold, funky colors, they made their own. Thus was born Melt Cosmetics. In May 2013, they launched with five colors — all of which sold out on day one. Today, there are 18 shades of lipstick, plus eye shadows, pigment sticks and two million Instagram followers who have propelled the brand to cult status.
You May Also Like
Jen Atkin, Celebrity Hairstylist, Founder, Ouai Haircare, Founder, Mane Addicts
Jen Atkin may tend to the tresses of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebs—Kardashians, J.Lo, Gwen Stefani and Barbie to name just a few—but she herself is one of hair care’s brightest stars. A social media star, Atkin created the online educational platform Mane Addicts, which has branched into Mane University live events. Earlier this year, she launched Ouai hair care, and worked with Dyson to develop their recent hair dryer. In the world of hair, Atkin is a cut above.
Katia Beauchamp, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, Birchbox
Katia Beauchamp set her sights on beauty while still a student at Harvard Business School—and she hasn’t looked back. A concept that started as a pioneer in the sample subscription box space, Birchbox has since evolved into a multifaceted retail platform and brand developer. The driving force behind it: Beauchamp’s keen ambition and unflappable willingness to experiment and see what resonates with her Millennially-minded customer base.
Cara Bonilla, Creative Director, Ulta Beauty
Cara Bonilla oversees all in-store and print design for red-hot beauty retailer Ulta, the fastest-growing store chain in the U.S.—in any category. She oversaw the look and feel of the chain’s successful 2015 makeover, including creating a new visual identity for Ulta, rebranding Ulta’s Ultamate Rewards loyalty program and integrating the retailer’s Salon branding into the whole.
Frederick Bouchardy, Founder, Joya Studio
Frederick Bouchardy founded Joya almost a decade ago as a scented candle concern. It has since blossomed into a staple of the category, with a thriving private label business, too, for clients like Billy Reid and Nike. What makes Bouchardy really stand out, though, is his penchant for creating experiences to enhance Indie brands, whether it’s creating the Elements tradeshow for emerging beauty companies or Joya’s recently opened 10,000 square foot studio in Brooklyn which combines production facilities, retail space and consumer-oriented workshop spaces.
Dan Brenner, Chief Executive Officer, InstaNatural
Dan Brenner helms InstaNatural, one of the biggest beauty vendors on Amazon you’ve never heard of. Only 27, his ambitions for the company, which had estimated sales of $17 million last year, are fully grown up: to make it a $100 million business. To that end, Brenner has nearly quadrupled the size of the workforce over a 10-month period and he’s harnessing the power of data to move quicker than the competition in one of beauty’s hottest categories.
Lauren Brindley, Group Vice President, Beauty & Personal Care, Walgreens
After making her mark at Boots, this Brit transplant has set her sights on catapulting Walgreens from the second-largest beauty and personal-care retailer in the U.S. to the top spot. Lauren Brindley’s vision: To capitalize on Walgreens’ scale and convenience by elevating its entire beauty operation, from brands to service.
Stacie Brockman, Cofounder, Métier Creative
Erin Kleinberg, Cofounder, Métier Creative
Stacie Brockman and Erin Kleinberg met at The Coveteur, where Brockman was a cofounder and oversaw editorial and advertorial projects and Kleinberg drove creative and art direction and brand development and relations. In July 2015, they launched Métier Creative, a full-service digitial and social media marketing and branding agency, where they’ve already racked up an enviable client list, including Ouai hair care, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Moda Operandi and MAC Cosmetics.
Hannah Bronfman, Founder, HBFit
Consider her the Millennial answer to Gwyneth Paltrow. “It” girl/DJ/entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman’s latest venture, HB Fit, is a multifaceted platform dedicated to health, beauty and fitness. Bronfman’s musings on matcha tea, coconut oil and funky manicures have attracted a broad audience—and the attention of brands like Clinique and Adidas, who have enlisted Bronfman as brand ambassadors.
Tim Coolican, Deputy General Manager, L’Oréal Paris
Tim Coolican, a Canadian by birth, has had a meteoric rise at L’Oréal. He’s been with L’Oréal USA since 2004, and before coming to the States, notched up a wealth of international experience, including as general manager for consumer products in South Asia-Pacific and general manager of Garnier, Maybelline New York and Essie in London.
The Clarins cousins—sisters Virginie and Claire and twins Prisca and Jenna—are helping positioning the family company for the next generation of growth. Prisca runs global spa operations, Virginie oversees the Mugler fashion business, Jenna oversees consumer trends and sociocultural influences and Claire just launched her own company called C-Juice, working with Clarins’ ethnobotanist Jean Pierre Nicolas to bring the pressed juice craze to France.
Sam Cheow, Chief Product Accelerator, L’Oréal U.S.
As L’Oréal’s chief product accelerator, Sam Cheow scours social media, photo shoots and fashion week (and everywhere else) for beauty bits that could inspire the next big thing. Recent wins include Lancome’s Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Makeup, , inspired by customization, personalization and a need for shade diversity in makeup; a blow-dry primer for Redken and Essie vending machines created in response to the rise in on-demand convenience.
Grace Choi, Founder, Mink
Grace Choi made headlines in 2014 while still at Harvard earning her MBA when she unveiled her 3-D makeup printer, which can turn any image into wearable makeup. More recently, she launched the Mink Pen, a digital custom color tool which can re-create any color, and a retail cosmetics line is set to launch sometime this year, according to the company. If Choi’s track record is any indication, count on off-the-charts innovation.
Maggie Ford Danielson, HSN Account Director and Global Beauty Authority, Benefit
Annie Ford Danielson, Guardian of the Brand DNA and Global Beauty Authority
Daughters and nieces of Benefit brand founders Jean and Jane Ford, Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson are carrying on the family legacy with brio. Maggie launched the brand on HSN back in 2009 and has since quadrupled business on the home shopping channel and catapulted Benefit’s mascara to the top spot. Annie oversees Benefit’s brand culture and philanthropy programs, most recently launching the global Bold Is Beautiful project, which is expected to raise more than $4 million for programs empowering women and girls.
Michael Dubin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dollar Shave Club
What happens when an ace marketer with killer comedic timing turns his attention to a seemingly impregnable category? Look no further than Michael Dubin, whose Dollar Shave Club has skyrocketed from first-year sales of $4 million in 2012 to $150 million last year with a 16 percent market share of blades overall and 69 percent share of the online market. Sharp mind, indeed.
Isamaya Ffrench, Makeup Artist
Makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench is represented by Streeters and also serves as the beauty editor of i-D Magazine. If that sounds familiar, it’s no surprise—Pat McGrath, too, built her career with Streeters and held the same position at the trendy Brit mag. Frenchs’ work is as distinctive as McGraths’. A graduate of Central Saint Martins—she studied product and industrial design, pretty is beside the point; provoking thought isn’t. French has hinted that she is working on a line to bring her point of view to a wider audience.
Tara Foley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Follain
Call her the queen of clean: A keen interest in fitness and nutrition led Tara Foley to investigate skin-care ingredients, and thus the idea of Follain was born while Foley was in business school. Rather than opening right after graduation, Foley researched ingredients by interning on an organic lavender farm in France and with a private label company in Maine. Launched in 2013, Follain currently has four brick and mortar stores and a thriving e-commerce site—with more to come.
Kristy Frivold, Director of Innovation, Sephora
If Sephora is beauty’s ultimate playground, Kristy Frivold is the queen of fun, responsible for scouting out new technologies and creating new digital retail experiences for shoppers. In the last year, Frivold launched Sephora Virtual Artist, enabling women to try on thousands (over 3,000 to be exact) of lipsticks in an instant and resuling in over two million women downloading Sephora’s To Go app, according to the retailer.
Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Founder, Olive and June
After a decade in finance, Sarah Gibson Tuttle moved from New York to Los Angeles, where she was unable to find the kind of nail salon that she had become accustomed to. Her solution was to open her own. Olive & June launched with a Beverly Hills outpost and has since expanded into three West Coast locations. Tuttle has set her sights further, however, with plans for more locations, an educational arm and products.
Ben Gorham, Founder, Byredo
Despite his relative youth, Ben Gorham is one of the founding fathers of the niche fragrance market. His brand, Byredo, helped usher in an era of olfactive excellence combined with a super chic esthetic. Gorham isn’t content with fragrance counter domination, however. He recently expanded his range to include beautifully crafted leather bags.
Cassandra Grey, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Violet Grey
Hollywood insider Cassandra Grey tapped into her industry connections (hubby Brad runs Paramount Pictures) and innate sense of style when creating Violet Grey. Combining content and retail—both online and brick and mortar—Grey has ushered in an era of curated commerce that has resonated far beyond the confines of Tinseltown. To wit: in the past year, sales have increased 200 percent.
Adina Grigore, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, S.W. Basics
Adina Grigore is a wellness expert, whose experience as a private holistic nutritionist and personal trainer led her to skin care. Driven by the desire to create natural products for sensitive skin, Grigore launched S.W. Basics and wrote a book, Skin Cleanse. Her idea was spot-on: In the last year, sales have grown 300 percent, as the brand has jumped from 500 doors to over 2,000, including Target, Urban Outfitters and indie retailers.
Eric Gruen, Associate Brand Director, Olay
Eric Gruen has been tasked with leading all digital efforts for Olay—and to help return the beleaguered skin care giant to growth. Thus far, Gruen has delivered by revamping Olay’s digital strategy from the ground up, focusing on fundamentals, creative executions and consumer engagement across seach, social media and e-commerce. The numbers thus far are promising. Olay reports a 30 percent increase in ecommerce sales for Olay and a 50 percent increase in click-through.
Beth Hayes, Vice President & Divisional Merchandise Manager, Sephora Collection
Over the past eight years, Hayes has been responsible for some of Sephora’s largest launches, including Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara, Sephora’s collaboration with Pantone and the initial Color IQ test, which helps users discover the best foundation match for their skin and has since been rolled out to all stores. No surprise then, she was given oversight of the retailer’s private label business, which has become an increasingly prominent part of Sephora’s merchandise mix.
Huda Kattan, Founder, Huda Beauty
Makeup artist and blogger Kattan has the strongest social media following in the Middle East, with 13.9 million Instagram followers and counting. She has parlayed online success into retail gold, launching a collection of false lashes and lip contour at Sephora in Dubai that sold more per unit on day one than any other brand ever. Earlier this year, she expanded into lip products, which, along with her lash line, are sold at Sephora stores in the U.S. and are growing internationally, including launches in the U.K., Australia and France.
Christine Luby, Cofounder, Pinrose
Erika Shumate, Cofounder, Pinrose
Luby and Shumate met at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2011 and launched Pinrose three years later. Their concept: Create a Millennial-oriented scent experience that combines art and science, using a proprietary quiz that results in a personalized scent wardrobe. The idea worked: In the past two years, Pinrose has blossomed into an award-winning fragrance house whose scents are sold online as well as at Sephora and Nordstrom brick and mortar locations and on QVC.
Natalie Mackey, Founder, Glow Concept
From finance to fashion to beauty entrepreneur: Natalie Mackey created Glow Concept in 2015 after falling in love with the beauty category during a licensing negotiation for a fashion business. Since then, she has launched Winky Lux, an Instagram-driven makeup brand that launches products every 15-30 days and drives sales through collaborations with digital influencers, and more recently acquired the nail and lip brand, Laqa & Co. Mackey’s mantra: Deliver newness—and do it quickly.
Mita Mallick, Director, Diversity Outreach and Inclusion, Unilever
Alan Jope, Unilever’s president of personal care, has been quite clear that brands without a social purpose have no place in the company’s portfolio. Mita Mallick is a key lieutenant in the effort. After leading the launch of the Vaseline Healing Project in the U.S., in which the brand donates products to disaster relief efforts, she was recently tapped to head up the company’s diversity efforts, including co-chairing GALvanize, Unilever’s internal women’s organization that supports the growth of female executives.
Josie Maran, Founder, Josie Maran Cosmetics
Model-turned-mogul Josie Maran kicked off the craze for Argan Oil and she hasn’t looked back. Now almost a decade old, the brand is a leading force in the natural beauty sector, expected to ring up more than $125 million in sales. A staple of Sephora and QVC, Maran is the undisputed green queen of the indie beauty scene.
Stephi Maron, Founder & CEO, Blushington
At just 21 years old, Stephi Maron had an “ah-ha” moment after realizing there were no professional, yet affordable makeup service options available on the market. Thus was born Blushington Makeup & Beauty Lounge, which opened in West Hollywood in 2011 and has since expanded into Dallas, Newport Beach and New York City, using and selling brands including Becca, Julie Hewett, Laura Geller and Kevyn Aucoin.
Melody McCloskey, Cofounder and CEO, StyleSeat
There are no shortage of bookings apps on the market, but StyleSeat has powered forward with first mover advantage. The brainchild of Melody MCloskey, a former TV exec, StyleSeat is now the largest marketplace for beauty bookings, powering $2.3 billion in appointments since its launch in 2011, with a customer base reaching almost 10 million.
Candace V. Mitchell, Cofounder & Chief Executive Officer, Techturized Inc.
Computer scientist Candace Mitchell founded Techtuzied to bring technology to hair texture. The company’s first product, Myavana, is an online-based personalized hair care service that recommends products and services based on a scientific analysis of a consumer’s hair type and texture. And this is just the beginning for Mitchell, who was chosen as one of the first entrepreneurs by Sephora for its Accelerator Program, which helps grow the next generation of female-led beauty start-ups.
Michelle Phan, Cofounder, Ipsy
While her namesake line with L’Oréal didn’t work out as planned, Michelle Phan has come roaring back with Ipsy, the sample subscription service she co-founded which closed $100 million in series B funding last September. Phan, the makeup artist turned digital pioneer, still commands a sizable audience, with a global community that numbers seven million strong and growing.
Beth Pickens, Managing Director, William Blair
Investment banker Beth Pickens has an eye for beauty and the decidation to match. As a managing director at William Blair, she’s the one who sold men’s grooming business Harry’s its German manufacturing facility, and who handled the sale of Mio Skincare to The Hut Group.
Jessica Richards, Owner & Founder, Shen
Unable to find a replacement for her favorite skin care cream in Brooklyn, Jessica Richards took matters into her own hands and opened Shen. It turns out Richards wasn’t alone. Stocked with hard-to-find niche brands like Amanda Lacey, Ilia and Suman, Shen quickly became a must-shop for hip locals and beauty afficionados as far afield as Europe and Asia. Richards has also attracted the attention of nonendemic retailers—including Free People, where she is overseeing the brand’s first foray into beauty.
Gina Ritchie, Buying Director, Beauty & Accessories, Liberty of London
This retail superstar has built an enviable resume with stints at Harvey Nichols’, Harrods and QVC UK, but it’s at Liberty of London where Gina Ritchie really shines. Under Ritchie, beauty has become Liberty’s number one division (up from number five when she joined in 2009), accounting for 26 percent of overall sales. The retailer is the top global door for such brands as Le Labo, Byredo, Hourglass and Frédédric Malle. As for the retailer’s second largest category? That would be Accessories—which Ritchie also oversees natch.
Dianna Ruth, Chief Operating Officer, Milk Makeup
In a year of cool makeup launches, Dianna Ruth made Milk Makeup a true standout. The product developer—who’s clocked time at Hard Candy, Benefit and Laura Mercier—created a slew of first-to-market must-have items like Lip Markers, Weekend Lash Stain and Hydrating Oil Stick.
Julia Sloan, Vice President, Global Communications & Fashion Relations, Nars
Buzz builds brands but breaking through the clutter is tougher than ever. Nars’ Julia Sloan has catapulted Nars to a prime position by creating strategic relationships with fashion designers, celebs and makeup artist and being an early adaptor in the digital realm, where she oversees the brand’s ecommerce, digital media buying and social media efforts.
Jill Stutzbach, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Prestige Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty
Thanks to Jill Stutzbach and her team, Ulta Beauty has become a major player in prestige beauty, which is now the retailer’s largest sales volume business and is leading the chain in comp store growth. She’s the point person for brands such as Urban Decay, BareMinerals and It Cosmetics, and helped drive Ulta to unprecedented growth in the color cosmetics category.
Tristan Walker, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Walker and Company Brands
Silicon Valley star Tristan Walker harnessed his background as director of business development at Foursquare and entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreeson Horowitz when creating Walker and Company Brands. His vision is to become the P&G of personal care products for people of color; its first brand, Bevel, a shave system, launched as a subscription service and has since expanded into select Target stores.
Emily Weiss, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Into the Gloss and Glossier
A pioneer in translating content into commerce, Emily Weiss has tapped into the Millenial mindset with her pitch perfect Website, Into the Gloss, and growing product line, Glossier. In less than 24 months, she’s managed to create a cult following for myriad products like Boy Brow and Balm Dotcom. Both personally and professionally, she defines the gestalt of a new generation of beauty consumers.
Alicia Yoon, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Peach & Lily
Alicia Yoon didn’t create the K-Wave. But this Korean born Harvard Business School grad has successfully parlayed it into a multiplatform business combining content, retail, and soon, products. A self proclaimed product junkie, Yoon’s company brings the best Korean skin care brands to retailers like Sephora and Macy’s, and has just announced plans for a product line of its own to boot.