LONDON — Online beauty retailer Cult Beauty wants customers to know exactly what they are putting on their skin, and in the name of transparency, it has partnered with the blockchain technology platform Provenance.
“When I launched Cult Beauty, we were already writing out every single ingredient that was in a product. And now that the claims are much broader and trust is being somewhat eroded, we wanted to take it to the next level with an independent proof point transparency,” said Alexia Inge, founder of the beauty product web site.
These “proof points” vary from product to product, and brand to brand. Prior to launch, Cult Beauty surveyed customers to find out what was important to them. They also asked the 10 brands the site launched with what their key differentiators were, such as being coral reef safe in the case of the sun-care brand Darling.
“When we did the survey, our customers wanted to understand ingredients, the process of creating the product, materials in the packaging and recyclability. So there is a consumer-driven demand. We also asked what the brands are proud of and we are allowing for that flexibility because we didn’t want to put brands in a box,” said Bettina Wonsag, executive chair of Cult Beauty, adding that they received 11,000 responses from its customers.
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As of now, 10 Cult Beauty brands will be using Provenance’s blockchain technology including Ren, Omorovicza, Oskia and Sana Jardin. Inge and Wongsag hopes to open this up to 25 brands in the first year and plans include being able to filter by specific proof points on the site.
“It was a little bit harder than we thought it would be, we had to educate the brands on what it meant, the platform requirements and have the conversation about which proof points are important,” said Wonsag, who added that brand’s don’t have to participate, but it’s strongly encouraged.
The enhanced information will be added onto the details and information section to the right of the product image on the page.
Most importantly, the partnership is a way for brands and consumers to speak to each other with universally standardized terms about what’s important to them. And for Inge, the partnership will help Cult Beauty position itself as a digital trust leader.
“I think we are providing bite-sized chunks of information that you can trust because it has a third-party stamp associated with it. It’s powered in blockchain which is basically incorruptible. We’re hoping that ultimately we are going to be contributing to the standardization of proof points within the industry,” Inge said.
Cult Beauty stocks a number of brands ranging from skin care to makeup and hair, including Drunk Elephant, Huda Beauty and Laura Mercier. According to media reports in the U.K., the site has hired J.P. Morgan to explore a possible sale. Inge declined to comment.