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Beautycon New York Attracts Thousands to See Celebs, Sample and Shop

Influencers shared the stage with celebs as beauty fans flocked to Brooklyn for fourth annual Beautycon.

The squeals in Brooklyn on Saturday could be heard through the five boroughs.

More than 9,000 beauty enthusiasts trekked to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for the fourth annual Beautycon Festival. The sold-out event offered the chance to catch a glimpse of celebrities, content creators and beauty entrepreneurs. Attendees proved that influencers stop the hearts of young beauty fans as much as Hollywood celebrities as they crowded the “pink” carpet for selfies and makeup tips from the social media stars.

Experiences such as Beautycon along with the expanding list of music festivals are changing the face of marketing beauty, with more brands shifting dollars into these experiences. In fact, Beautycon is morphing into a big focus group as wristbands with codes, along with purchase trends and exit interviews, provide data to track the return on investment of the more than 80 major beauty brands in attendance. Among those were L’Oréal, Revlon, Milk Makeup, Flower by Drew Barrymore, Pixi by Petra, Sexy Hair, Kiss and Yes To.

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“Retail is in a period of significant change, and younger consumers in particular now demand that their [real-life] retail shopping be rooted in experiences,” said Moj Mahdara, chief executive officer and cofounder of Beautycon Media. So popular are the IRL meet-up events for social media faces and beauty lovers that Mahdara said the New York Beautycon was moved to the Brooklyn site to add 55,000 square feet for a total of 188,000 square feet.

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: (L-R) Beautycon CEO & Founder Moj Mahdara, Actress Gabrielle Union, and Allure Founder Linda Wells attend the Beautycon Festival NYC 2017 on at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal May 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Beautycon)
Moj Mahdara, Gabrielle Union and Linda Wells attend the Beautycon Festival New York 2017. Getty Images for Beautycon

The one-day event — Beautycon will be two days in Los Angeles in August — offered those who paid anywhere from $49.99 for general admission to $449.99 for early entry, the tutorial lounge and a VIP swag bag to see new items, get tips and tricks, hob knob with beauty experts and shop the brands. Headliners included Drew Barrymore, Gabrielle Union, Jenn Im, Jordyn Woods, Sammy Wilk, Chantel Jeffries, Julia Kelly, Anastasia Karanikolaou, Lauren Scruggs, Bryshere Y. Gray and Dove Cameron. Bella Thorne came out in support of her sister, Dani, who served as a celebrity DJ helping create a clublike experience.

The expansive terminal featured art installations and live tutorials such as Revlon’s Show and Tell Stage hosted by Kandee Johnson along with makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. (Those with a question got to pop up on stage.) At Milk Makeup there was the #LiveYourLifeCampaign where Beautycon guests had the opportunity to be cast in an upcoming campaign. Barrymore used the opportunity to host a Facebook Live and to share a sneak peek of Flower Press, a large format magazine she’s launching. A contest is being held to be featured on the cover. There was also a contest on site to meet Barrymore and get an all-access private tour backstage and in the VIP area. The star and beauty entrepreneur certainly made a huge splash at Beautycon, further supporting her dedication to the cosmetics business and building her Flower brand, which is reportedly having its best year yet at Wal-Mart.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Influencer Kandee Johnson attends the Beautycon Festival NYC 2017 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Beautycon)
Kandee Johnson Getty Images for Beautycon

The unicorn theme was seemingly everywhere, including demonstrations of Wet ‘n’ Wild’s new Unicorn Makeup Collection and an art installation of unicorns at the entry to the floor. Innovations such as at-home light therapy devices from Revive also attracted attention, especially with the Millennial and Generation Z dominated audience. Soap & Glory installed its beauty garage called the Soaper Station (created for music festivals) as a showcase for its items and a hub of sampling activity. Kiss Products offered free applications of its new faux mink eyelashes. There were also fireside chats, one hosted by Linda Wells, chief creative officer at Revlon, who interviewed Union, along with panels such as one dubbed “Love and Relationships.”

The major brands influencers mentioned as they strolled the pink carpet were Tarte, MAC, Benefit, Becca, Nars, Flower and Too Faced. “Dance Mom’s” Nia Sioux showed off the glow she creates with her favorite Becca highlighter. Sephora was the go-to retailer with a few shout-outs to Target.  The social media darlings were more than willing to hug and take selfies with fans. Several grabbed fans’ cell phones for selfies and videos offering makeup tips.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Nia Sioux attends Beautycon Festival NYC 2017 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Beautycon)
Nia Sioux Getty Images for Beautycon

Beautycon was founded in 2011 by Marina Curry and Jonathan Burford. At first it was an industry-only conference then opened up to the public and has become a big part of beauty marketing efforts.