Beautycon is branching into pop-ups.
The business, which throws beauty festivals attended by tens of thousands of beauty enthusiasts and hundreds of brands, is launching a new format — Beautycon Pop — intended to bring the Beautycon experience into new cities and countries. The new format includes eight themed rooms that beauty fans can Instagram their way through, plus a store that will sell primarily lip products from between 20 to 30 beauty brands.
“The convergence between commerce and content is officially happening,” said Moj Mahdara, Beautycon’s chief executive officer.
According to Mahdara, the rooms at Beautycon Pop are “along the lines of curated galleries” that express Beautycon’s viewpoints on social and brand issues. “Each [room at Beautycon Pop] is a highly social moment. None of them are what you’ve seen at Beautycon in the past, in terms of those very large branded booths….It will feel a lot more mood and emotionally driven,” Mahdara said.
Beautycon Pop opens Nov. 16, at 333 South La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, and will stay open for 30 days. It is closed on Thanksgiving. Mahdara declined to comment on specific themes for the rooms, but did note Beautycon is committed to the wellness space after testing it last year. A spokeswoman for Beautycon said the rooms will center around self discovery, and one will include a confidence runway.
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Experiential commerce has taken off in a big way for beauty brands over the past few months. Beautycon’s Winky Lux opened a ticketed New York Experience store that features Instagrammable rooms, and Maybelline recently experimented with a branded room at the Color Factory exhibit, also in New York. In Australia, Mecca launched Meccaland, a three-day shoppable beauty festival, in April. Beautycon Pop will hit Los Angeles shortly after Sephora’s Sephoria, a two-day beauty festival with themed rooms, Oct. 20 and 21.
For Beautycon, the new format is meant to allow for expansion into new markets.
“Everyone knows what we’ve been experimenting with over the past few years is a ginormous retail pop-up,” Mahdara said. “If you go online and look at #beautycon, you’ll see requests to bring this property everywhere….The best way for us to do that is to reinvent the best of the festival and…create a new format that we can take to [new] markets.”
After Los Angeles, Beautycon Pop is looking at Miami and Atlanta for 2019, as well as Chicago. Internationally, Singapore, Japan, China and South Korea are on the list, Mahdara said. Today’s retail climate — where real estate owners are looking for experience to drive foot traffic — is part of the reason Beautycon Pop will be able to grab prime real estate, Mahdara noted.
Tickets, which cost $35 for Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $45 for Fridays, Saturdays an Sundays, go on pre-sale Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. PT. Pre-sale is only to those on Beautycon’s mailing list and those who have already attended a festival. Sources said about 20,000 people are expected to go through the LA space, which could put ticket sales at around $800,000.
Beautycon Pop is part of the company’s overall business strategy to expand from sheer experience into retailing.
“At this point, we’re like a 400,000-square foot pop up,” Mahdara said. “Now, we’re making that pop up even more specialized and getting focused on a long-term retail execution. From there, it makes total sense that experience moves through digital channels and social selling.”
Beautycon plans to roll out its retailing strategy over the next four to six months, and will be testing social selling. The average Beautycon consumer has 1,500 followers on social channels and acts as an expert within their community, Mahdara said. “Things we will be looking at are peer-to-peer, but also are really harnessing the power of the microinfluencer community,” she said.”We’ll get into what an always-on commerce experience looks like for us in 2019.”
“There’s no where to go with these big digital footprints but to essentially create new commerce channels for people,” Mahdara said. “If you’re a retailer at this point and you’re not using your digital footprint for social selling…you will be revising that strategy in the next months.”