Call it beauty’s big blur.
From retail partnerships between competitors in different channels to the intersection between product categories (also known as the skinification of everything), the traditional rules of the industry are being rewritten.
WWD’s Allison Collins sat down with Deepica Mutyala, founder of Live Tinted, and Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peach & Lily, to explore the key consumer forces driving the new direction — and how the future of beauty is being rewritten.
“As an emerging brand, we are redrawing the lines,” Mutyala said. “We don’t have to play by the rules.”
As an example, she noted that she launched her line with a color product, the Huestick, designed to camouflage dark undereye circles. But instead of following up with another makeup product, which would have been the more expected route, Live Tinted’s second launch was Huegard Mineral SPF 30, formulated so that it wouldn’t leave a white cast on darker skin tones. At launch, it had a 10,000-person waitlist.
“We asked our consumers, what is your number-one priority and they said hyperpigmentation. It would have been natural to launch more makeup, but I followed up with SPF,” Mutyala said. “My point is that breaking the traditional rules paid off.”
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For her part, Yoon has spent much of her career breaking down barriers. A Harvard Business School grad who is also a trained aesthetician, Yoon launched Peach & Lily as a retail platform selling Korean beauty products, then launched the Peach and Lily product line in 2018, kicking off the glass skin trend. She following that up with the introduction of Peach Slices in 2020, an acne-oriented brand.
Today, Peach & Lily is a top 10 prestige brand at Ulta Beauty, Yoon said, while Peach Slices is a top 10 mass brand there in the acne space.
“The lines between mass and prestige are starting to blur,” the entrepreneur said. “Everyone shops across price points. Now, no matter the price point, people are looking for value.
“Trading up is increasingly irrelevant,” Yoon added. “It’s about hyper-targeting solutions consumers are looking for.”
Yoon said value is top of mind for consumers today, who want to know they’re getting their money’s worth for a product, rather the price is $10 or $200. When it comes to skin care, delivering results is “table stakes,” she said, but true interest is sparked by in-depth information about products, even down to what makes one vitamin C molecule different than another, for example.
The brands are differentiated so that cannibalization isn’t an issue, and Peach & Lily sales consultants, whether online and in store, are trained to find the best solution for shoppers, regardless of price point.
“We’re most interested in bringing consumers into the ecosystem, where each brand has its own point of view,” Yoon said. “For example, both lines have a hyperpigmentation product, but a dark spot caused by aging is very different than one caused by acne.”
Mutyala has crossed retail channels, too, from d-to-c to retail distribution in Ulta Beauty, and she envisions a time when categories in store start to blur, as well. “Storytelling needs to come through more,” she said, when asked what the future of beauty looks like.
Yoon agreed, noting that experiential retail in South Korea is “next level.”
“For brands, your competitive peer set is not just brands in our price range. It’s about providing differentiated brand solutions.”