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Sephora Debuts First Documentary Film

The film, a first for Sephora, follows the rise, decline and relaunch of Fashion Fair and will be available on HBO Max this week.

Sephora has taken its marketing efforts to new heights — and a new medium.

The retailer is debuting a documentary film this week called “The Beauty of Blackness.”

It chronicles the inception, decline and relaunch of Fashion Fair, which came back to market last year under the ownership of Desirée Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack.

Sephora created the film in partnership with Vox Media’s Epic Digital and Vox Creative subsidiaries, as well as Ventureland. It was subsequently acquired by HBO Max, where it will be available this week.

“We were honored to acquire Fashion Fair in 2019, a brand which ash so much history and significance to the Black community. With this documentary, we are able to share our journey of bringing this pioneering, Black-owned beauty brand back to the marketplace,” Rogers and Mayberry McKissack said in an email.

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Although the format is new territory for Sephora, the brand’s resurrection made it perfectly suited for a long-form medium.

“When our merchant partners internally told us we would be the exclusive retailer for Fashion Fair, we dug into the story. We felt that the traditional marketing vehicles and tactics didn’t do it justice,” said Abigail Jacobs, Sephora’s senior vice president, brand and integrated marketing. “This is a story that deserves a narrative around it. It was something we had never done.”

The documentary features a few other interview subjects, including singer Kelly Rowland, and beauty editors Julee Wilson and Kayla Greaves.

“There are a lot of different stories that can be told. Entertainment at its heart is just storytelling, and as community builders, and as brand builders, we’re really interested in creating this inclusive community,” said Candace Payne, director of campaigns and content, Sephora. “The connection between beauty and entertainment is very strong because there are so many stories that need to be told. We feel very responsible to make sure those stories come through.”

Sephora is not the first beauty company to blur the lines between beauty and entertainment. Beekman 1802 and Pat McGrath Labs have both announced collaborations with the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” Last year, Neutrogena also announced Neutrogena Studios, a new entertainment division, inaugurated with a short film featuring Kerry Washington.

“As consumers, there are people behind the products that we buy: there are cultural sources behind putting a brand on the shelves,” Jacobs said. “There are characters and rises and falls and tensions and things that make for a good story behind the creation of brands.”


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