Perelman highlighted the changing nature of the beauty industry, saying it may be “the most exciting time the industry has ever seen.”
She credited the beauty innovators who came before, noting that people still like to wear Elizabeth Arden’s red lip. And that she remains inspired by Revlon founder Charles Revson, who used the money from selling his then innovative nail enamel to fund schools and hospitals, and Jan Arnold, the founder of CND, whose “attention to detail and innovation with technology to find gel nail enamel, with our brand shellac, revolutionized the pro nail business and is found on runways around the world.”
She also credited Ashley Graham, who she said has taught people to appreciate themselves for who they are and not who they are told to be.
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“A lot has changed, and a lot will continue to change. One thing will remain the same, and that is there are always opportunities every day to develop and build something better,” Perelman said.
“We must transform beauty. We must focus on doing that not only once, but constantly, in order to engage the consumers of the here and now,” Perelman said.
That idea forces people to answer questions like what and if there is a definition of beauty today, and how and why does that matter. “We have come a long way from a time where beauty came in one size and one look,” Perelman said. “But frankly, have we come far enough?”
With the unprecedented transformation companies need to update the ways they do business and how they engage with consumers. “It forces us all to face business questions and issues such as what is the future of retail? Will my phone replace my local mall? And maybe it’s happening now with some of you even shopping — and as I heard from the Facebook presentation, we’re on our way.”
The shifts indicate that beauty now has to operate with a conscience, Perelman said.
“What does that mean? It means clean products. For Revlon, that means sustainable forward. It means more than just safe ingredients for the consumer it means safe ingredients and sustainable packaging for the environment, and this is here to stay,” Perelman said. Corporate social responsibility programs are now mandatory, she said.
“We need to be leading the issues of our time,” Perelman added, ticking off equality, gender fluidity, environmental protection. “We need to be connected to the consumers who are buying and understand what’s important to them.”
Before Perelman took audience questions, she asked one: “What does beyond beauty and transforming beauty mean to you?”
Francesco Clark, founder of Clark’s Botanicals, said he would be “interested in a crowdsourced product from customers by Revlon.”
“We have actually not attempted that today, but it doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t in the future,” Perelman said.