QVC is the latest retail platform to try its hand at beauty brand development.
In September, the multiplatform retailer will unveil Carmindy Beauty, an exclusive makeup brand it codeveloped with New York-based Batallure Beauty and makeup artist Carmindy, best known for her 10-year run on “What Not to Wear.” Qurate Retail Group-owned QVC sells exclusive brands in the home and apparel categories, often times backed by famous faces — think Lisa Rinna Collection and Isaac Mizrahi’s Isaac Mizrahi Live! — but this is the first time it is codeveloping an exclusive beauty brand. The launch follows this week’s news that both Amazon and Saks Off 5th are trying their own hands at private label beauty — Amazon with its Millennial-minded skin-care line Belei, and Off 5th’s makeup venture Fifth City.
Beauty is a big business at QVC. Between the U.S. and international divisions, beauty contributed $1.68 billion in sales in 2018. It is QVC’s second-largest category after home, comprising 18 percent of total sales. Developing its own beauty brands is part of a larger strategic initiative to boost growth, as well as differentiate the retailer — which began as a home shopping network and now counts 50 percent of sales coming from e-commerce — in the competitive U.S. specialty beauty retail landscape.
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“This is part of a broader strategy for Q,” said Rob Robillard, vice president of integrated beauty merchandising at Qurate Retail Group, the parent of QVC. “[Developing a beauty brand] is about a real emphasis on connecting to the consumer in a meaningful and exciting way. How do we really differentiate ourselves and satisfy our customer with our assortment? The proprietary brands initiative [came from thinking about] how we can be a real destination with brands you can’t find elsewhere.”
Robillard noted that as QVC ramps up its beauty strategy, the company will continue to increasingly launch more big brands commonly found at retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty, like L’Oréal-owned Urban Decay, which it launched last fall. More brands codeveloped with Batallure Beauty are in the works — as many as three to four in the next 12 to 18 months — though for now, Robillard is expecting the exclusive brands to comprise only a small percentage of QVC’s total sales.
Carmindy Beauty is the anti-Instagram makeup brand, designed with QVC’s core demographic — women from their 30s to 60s — in mind. Makeup artist Carmindy will serve as the personality behind the brand, appearing on QVC beginning in September, after preview at QVC Presents Beauty Bash, the retailer’s three-day beauty festival in Philadelphia this June. Carmindy is known for her signature “five-minute” face, which claims to give women of all ages a “you but better” look.
There are 16 products priced from $15 to $70, including foundation, primer, eye shadow, brow pencils, mascaras, lip crayons and brushes. The star product is the 5 Minute Face Kit, a five-item set designed achieve flawless skin in yes, five minutes.
For the record, Carmindy is over the Instagram makeup look — “heavy contouring, baking and 15 pounds of makeup.” According to her, the everyday woman doesn’t want to look like an Instagram influencer — just clean and polished. Her makeup line is designed to help them achieve that. “We’re going away from that heavy look,” she said. “It’s too much and it’s too time-consuming. Most of us want to look incredible and have it be fast and easy — I got them.”
Carmindy describes her approach to applying makeup as an “algorithm” — primer first, then foundation, then concealer. The idea is that one applies foundation first — her formula is made so that it “gelifies” on the skin, giving a smooth finish even to a woman in her seventies. It’s tips and tricks like these, honed over her decade giving makeovers on “What Not to Wear,” that she will espouse once again on QVC.
Said Robin Burns-McNeill, chairman and cofounder of Batallure Beauty: “She speaks to a woman in a way that they can understand and replicate what she’s done.”