Ryan Kang and Natalie Brzezinski

In keeping Lady Gaga’s penchant to try never to do what’s been done before, her beauty brand, Haus Laboratories, aims to be pioneering.

“Not just in our direct-to-consumer website, but also in the interactions with our customers,” said Ryan Kang, head of business development and operations at Haus Laboratories, adding that’s on the brand, founder and product levels.

The coronavirus pandemic shifted people’s perceptions of online shopping. A new survey conducted by Klarna, the buy now, pay later platform Haus has partnered with, reveals that among the 41,000 consumers queried, nearly half now prefer mobile shopping and 87 percent expect their retailers to have mobile apps.

Haus, born a year-and-a-half ago, had to make some shifts during the health crisis.

“One of the key learnings from the pandemic was to really build for change,” Kang said. “And build processes that welcome change, because every single month that goes by there are changes in technology, culture, society as a whole around social constructs. None of these are foreseeable.”

Using data to inform strategy is crucial.

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“It’s hard to use data frequently, especially because so many parts of the business, as well as the industry, have such long lead times,” Kang explained. “One of the key data points that we were provided by Klarna early on was that when the pandemic hit over 73 percent of shoppers decided to make a more concerted effort to shop smarter. What that meant to us is: We need to meet consumers where the shopper is — in the middle.

“Hopefully, we can continue to do that over the next months and years, and create a business that consumers really look at and say: ‘Everything they’re doing aligns with how I’m trending, how culture is trending.’ That would make me the proudest of how we use data,” Kang continued.

Natalia Brzezinski, head of strategy at Klarna, noted that Millennials and Gen Zers invest with their values and hearts.

“[It’s] a trend that Haus Labs has totally inhabited and embodied,” she said.

Kang said Lady Gaga was intentional about the values needed to be put forward and lived out.

“One of those values, for example, is inclusivity,” Kang said. “[It’s] a big buzzword these days, but we try to be inclusive of anybody. Our mission is to really help consumers see the beauty within themselves, and beauty within someone really lies in the individual and not a general identity.”

Diversity includes gender and race, but also economic inclusivity.

“Which is part of the reason we teamed up with Klarna,” Kang said. “We wanted to make our products more inclusive and more affordable, and Klarna paying for product helped us to deliver that.”

Haus tries to give back on a daily basis. The brand donates a dollar per purchase made on its website to a mental health cause, for instance.

Looking ahead, in the near term, Kang sees the rise of livestreaming.

“[In] countries such as China, livestreaming has driven billions and billions of dollars in revenue,” he said. “We’re getting very close to seeing that happen in the United States.”

Looking a bit further out, depending on technical innovation and adoption, augmented reality should be increasingly used.

“We’ll see some really great innovations, especially in beauty,” said Kang, who explained the biggest takeaway from working at Haus has been that building a business, especially in the influencer space, is difficult.

“You have to build it in such a way that you can scale, but also be able to keep true to the values of the influencer that is ideally founding or cofounding the brand,” Kang said. “Luckily, we’ve been able to do that with the help of Lady Gaga.”

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