PALM BEACH, Fla. — The WWD Beauty CEO Summit hit an emotional high point Tuesday night with an appearance by Drew Barrymore, who is known as the Hollywood icon but thinks of herself as a beauty manufacturer.
When beauty first came knocking at Barrymore’s door, she didn’t immediately jump at the opportunity, remembering some advice she received from Steven Sepielberg when she was seven years old: “If you want to have a long career, you should be incredibly selective.” So she was. That, coupled with her desire for project ownership meant she only said yes to Cover Girl when the brand offered her not just a spokesmodel position, but the opportunity to be co-creative director.
“I just really love being involved,” Barrymore said. “I don’t see me and the word model in the same sentence…I’m not that girl. I like to dance in my giant underwear in my closet.”
When Cover Girl called, Barrymore wanted to channel that side of herself — that 30-minute window before a date when a woman is getting ready. “The date doesn’t even matter, it’s that moment that everything is possible,” Barrymore said. After seven years with Cover Girl, Barrymore went on to create her own cosmetics line, Flower Beauty, a partnership with Wal-Mart. During the development phase for the products, Barrymore reduced her share in profits to upgrade the formulas and make the products more appealing. She also discussed the possibility of taking the brand overseas, potentially giving Wal-Mart affiliates first right of refusal to carry the brand.
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Wednesday morning began with a jolt, as Anastasia Soare, founder and chief executive officer of Anastasia Beverly Hills opened her talk by announcing, “I work for Anastasia Beverly Hills and she’s a tough boss.” She then told the story about how she emigrated from Romania in 1989, grew the brow product category and was saluted by Oprah as the embodiment of the American Dream. Her remarks were enlivened by her characteristic spunk. “I own 100 percent of the company…and I’m not selling the company,” Soare said. “If you see me talking to an investment banker, it’s because I like to make conversation.”
Also on Wednesday, Aurelian Lis, chief executive officer at Dermalogica, underscored that there’s an urgent need to recruit more young people to be licensed beauty professionals — makeup artists, hair stylists, aestheticians and skin therapists. Yen Reis, founder of Skin Laundry Holdings Inc. detailed how she built her one-service, 14-location laser therapy spa business. Cofounder and ceo of Rebecca Minkoff Uri Minkoff gave a dazzling view of how to modernize the beauty shopping experience using everything from virtual reality to drones. He said his sister Rebecca has signed on as the color director for Essie, however she will let the possibility of a Minkoff beauty collection “sit for a year.”
Walgreens group vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty and personal care, Lauren Brindley, outlined the merger between Boots and Walgreens and discussed the possibilities of taking the 8,000-door drugstore chain into the prestige beauty market. BeautyKind ceo Hil Davis said the business plans to do free product sampling as part of the its rewards program. In the course of discussing the creation of his fragrance company, Kilian Hennessy raised penetrating questions about the essential nature of the business, such as “how to increase the perceived value of perfume” at a time when kids are spending $348 on ripped-up jeans. Along with Hennessy, Marla Malcolm Beck, cofounder and ceo of Bluemercury, provided a strong finish to the summit. Beck suggested a number of opportunities to innovate around things such as tech-based skin care and 3-D printed skin care, noting that young Millennials have fallen in love with more conveniently designed makeup items like BB and CC creams. “I predict the death of foundation in a jar,” Beck said. “[It] will go the way of the girdle.”