The revolution will be globalized. Such is the rallying cry of Sephora, the recipient of the 2016 WWD Beauty Inc Visionary of the Year award. As our editorial team debated this year’s award winners—which, as always, are editor’s choice, business-to-business awards, recognizing the year’s outstanding innovations—the choice for our top honor was a relatively easy one. In a year when Indie brands became the beacon of tomorrow, when digital dominance determined
retail resonance, when the rallying cry was “Engage the consumer!” Sephora led the pack, harnessing the prevailing forces of change to become beauty’s most dominant global retailer. And, as chief executive officer Chris de Lapuente told WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, in a rare and candid interview, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
“Sephora has the potential to be in every country on this planet,” he said. “The desire for prestige beauty is universal and our opportunity is to keep driving Sephora globally.” The goal goes far beyond selling beauty products, though. De Lapuente is after nothing less than the hearts and minds of women all over the world. “The driving ambition is to create the most loved beauty—not retailer—community,” said de Lapuente. “If we can be a place where people go to learn about beauty and to explore, to share ideas, to cocreate trends with our brand partners and then to do that all over the world—that would be fantastic.”
It’s a safe bet to say that all of the winners of this year’s Beauty Inc awards are well-acquainted with the power of Sephora. Our honorees are an eclectic group, ranging from leaders who are reinventing beauty’s biggest companies to an Oklahoma-born, University of Michigan finance-major-turned-Hollywood makeup artist who made it big globally in Dubai to myriad products that embody the marriage of art and science. To select them, we consulted retailers, industry analysts and our own news coverage throughout the year. The winners were the standouts in what was one of the most dynamic years in the history of the beauty industry and we salute them. Like Sephora, they are an inspiration—and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the year ahead.