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Nudestix, Dr. Dennis Gross Among Brands to Grow Millennial Audience on Beauty iQ

The new beauty-only network from QVC will allow brands to move product in a talk-show-like environment, with a focus on social media.

QVC’s Beauty iQ is angling for the attention of Millennial shoppers — and to accomplish that, it is placing much of the creative direction in the hands of its vendors.

The new beauty network will launch Oct. 31 with a slew of brands already under the QVC umbrella, including It Cosmetics, Tarte, Givenchy, Dr. Dennis Gross, Nudestix, Tatcha, Peter Thomas Roth, Mally Beauty, Edward Bess and Laura Geller. And while the lines featured are familiar to QVC, the new show formats— individually developed with the authenticity of each brand in mind, and social media feeds integrated into broadcast — will be unchartered territory for QVC, as the company abandons its hard-sell tactics in favor of a more organic process.

“We want to [create] this immersive experience [and] get out of the rules we have to follow on the big 24-7 network and give this a much more personal experience integrated across platforms,” said Mike George, president and chief executive officer of QVC Inc. He noted that the network will also serve as a platform on which to launch burgeoning Indie lines with a bigger presence than they normally would have on QVC. 

George indicated that it is the “beauty enthusiast” QVC is after, not just younger consumers. 

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But with that beauty enthusiast certainly comes a Millennial shopper.

“Even if they’re not going after [Millennials], we certainly are,” said Elana Drell-Szyfer, chief executive officer of Laura Geller.

“It’s like YouTube meets beauty morning show that is fun and interactive,” said Jenny Frankel, cofounder and ceo of Nudestix. Though Frankel appears on QVC on behalf of the brand, her 20-year-old daughter Taylor — she and sister Ally are the other Nudestix cofounders — will front a recurring one-hour show on Beauty iQ, beginning Nov. 18.

“We want to make the show feel authentic and organic,” said the younger Frankel. “QVC is really more produced and it’s about selling, but we want to make this very relatable.” To that end, Frankel plans to focus on education around beauty trends, new products and tutorials — “but also being funny and showing personality” — to make the show feel more like real entertainment, and less like a traditional shopping show.

In lieu of focusing on value-driven deals and a sense of urgency to buy, the brand will turn to social media to drive home selling points for products. For Beauty iQ, the brand created product bundles such as the Discovery Kit for eyes and a nude lip kit, both designed based on how-to content Frankel will demonstrate on the show. But it’s not just product Frankel will be talking about.

“We’re going be talking about Nudestix, but also what are the upcoming trends and have guest hosts — beauty influencers who aren’t so perfect or coiffed,” said Taylor. She’ll also wear her own wardrobe, which she said consists of on-trend items like plaid shirts and rocker Ts and style her own hair, which she described as, “I just woke up like this.”

“That’s what’s successful about YouTube and Snapchat — that authentic, no-filter aspect to it,” said Frankel.

Mally Roncal, founder and president of Mally Beauty, uses social media as a way to connect on a personal level with younger consumers by sharing no-makeup selfies and snapshots of life at home with her husband, kids and dogs. Her hourlong Beauty iQ show, she said, will allow her to deepen the girlfriend-to-girlfriend relationship with her followers.

“I’m able to teach them on a completely different level,” said Roncal, who likened her show’s format to a leisurely tutorial, with ample time for gossipy digressions, tips and tricks. “They see something I did on Beyoncé and they want to know how I did it, and I can enjoy taking my time with that — and I’ve had a long career. Not that I kiss and tell, but I have a lot of stories.”

Education in the form of tutorials and how-tos — effectively a play on the vlogger phenomenon — will play a key role on Beauty iQ, from QVC’s new brands like Nudestix to lines that have been on air for years, like Mally Beauty and Laura Geller. “We call Laura the OG blogger,” said Drell-Szyfer. “Every time she goes on-air, it’s like a master class.”

On the skin-care side, Dr. Dennis Gross plans to tell his own stories. To appeal to the Snapchat crowd through his one-hour Beauty iQ show, he’ll delve into the details of the skin concerns he said plague Millennials most — early signs of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, acne, large pores, for example — and talk about what products to use to solve them, all while demonstrating on real models.

“It’s a lot like my practice in a way,” he said. “It’s selling through giving more knowledge to the consumer,” said Gross. “That’s different than what we do on [QVC].”

In recent years, Gross has observed an escalation in younger patients visiting his Manhattan practice who are interested in taking a preventative approach to skin-care. It’s a phenomenon he’s not seen with the older generations, and he attributes that to the curious nature of Millennials.

“This group wants to know the story behind this — why do we have skin conditions? How do ingredients function? How does the product work?” said Gross.