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Beauty Inc @20: The Top 10 Takeaways

The top 10 takeaways from the Beauty Inc @20 virtual conference.

Beauty Inc has always been about what’s next — about the people, the products, the ideas and the innovations that make the industry so dynamic. This year marks our 20th anniversary, and as we thought about how best to celebrate this milestone, we knew we had to look forward — not backward.

To that end, Beauty Inc @20, held virtually May 19 to 20, brought together a diverse and eclectic group of leaders who are forging a path in the most transformative time in history. From pioneers in biotechnology to the twentysomethings who are — literally — changing the world; from cross-generational chief executive officers to the sellers that are reinventing themselves in real time — the speakers represented a multiplicity of viewpoints. As diverse as the lineup was, though, a number of key themes emerged throughout the conference.

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While the coronavirus pandemic and the social justice moment have had a profound impact on how people think about their inner and outer beauty, so has the ascendance of Gen Z, both in the workforce and as consumers. They may be young, but it’s clear that people in the their teens and early 20s will continue to be a powerful catalyst for change. Here, the top 10 takeaways, and on the pages that follow, an in-depth analysis of the forces that are reshaping beauty in the 21st century.

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  1. The Value of Purpose: More than anything, people today want to support brands and companies that reflect their values and beliefs across a broad swath of issues that are important to them.
  2. The Human Connection: Gen Z founders are eschewing the term consumers, instead approaching their communities through a much more personal lens.
  3. The Golden Rule: Total transparency is table stakes today.
  4. The EQ of Beauty: Beauty isn’t about how a product makes you look. It’s about how something makes you feel.
  5. IRL: Brick-and-mortar is coming back — but make it fun.
  6. Leadership Is Listening: Listen to the consumer. They will tell you exactly what they want.
  7. The Future of Makeup Lies in Skin Care: Expect the blurring of categories (and channels) to accelerate.
  8. Full Circle Sustainability: Addressing environmental impact extends far beyond packaging and process. It’s about actively participating in securing the long-term health and wellbeing of people and planet.
  9. Room Where It Happens: Gen Z is used to having its voice heard — and wants to play an active role in the decision-making process.
  10. All for One: Look for the industry to come together to clarify terms like “clean” to clear up confusion from a consumer point of view.