Sephora is moving to unify its online and offline retail strategies by shifting and expanding the roles of several key employees.
The specialty beauty retailer has promoted Mary Beth Laughton to executive vice president 0f U.S. Omni Retail. Previously, Laughton was senior vice president of digital. She’s been with Sephora for five years. Before that, she worked for Nike and McKinsey & Co.
“We hope to position ourselves for the future which is already coming — one where physical and digital blend even further,” Laughton said. “We know the majority of our clients who shop our stores have an experience with us through one of our digital channels. Serving customers seamlessly across our channels has been a central part of our vision to be the most loved beauty community, and we think this move will help us accelerate our focus on the customer even further.”
“Mary Beth is a visionary and strategist with a deep understanding of how customers are evolving,” said Calvin McDonald, chief executive officer and president of Sephora Americas. “During her time at Sephora she has pioneered many innovative, consumer-focused experiences both online and in stores, reflecting her relentless focus on making the client experience as integrated as it can be.”
Laughton is moving up as Christie Jack, executive vice president of retail and education, plans to step down from her post at the end of 2017. Jack has been with Sephora for 14 years — before that, she was with Williams Sonoma and Barnes & Noble.
“Our store team under Christie’s leadership has been prepping the organization for this shift in recent years with the adoption of many digital programs and technologies,” Laughton said. “Bringing our stores and digital groups together as an integrated team will ensure, we think, holistic customer journeys using these tools and experiences across channels.”
“We can also make sure we bring the best of each channel forward, ensuring key business practices such as digital marketing and innovation are equally considered across channels. And we can ensure that voices from the field — our stores — are heard loudly as we design new digital tools and strategies,” Laughton said.
“Christie conceptualized Sephora stores as a destination for learning and has played an instrumental role in creating the unique experience Sephora delivers today,” McDonald said. “While she will be greatly missed, she leaves a great legacy including the extraordinary retail and education teams she built. We thank Christie for all that she has done and the active role she has played in orchestrating how we are structuring our business for the future.”
Several other Sephora employees are shifting into new, expanded positions.
Gregg Ardizone will become senior vice president of stores. Ardizone, who has been with Sephora for 16 years, is currently vice president of East Coast stores. In his new role, he will report to Laughton.
Bridget Dolan will now be senior vice president of omni experiences and innovation. Dolan is currently vice president, Sephora Innovation Lab. In her new role, Dolan will head the team that focuses on creating the next generation of client experiences through experiential retail.
Artemis Patrick is also being promoted to chief merchandising officer. Patrick is currently senior vice president of merchandising for Sephora — in her expanded position, she will also oversee dot-com merchandising, and head a cross-channel merchandising team.
The changes come as Sephora in the U.S. experiments with merchandising brands that lie outside of its traditional prestige beauty focus. On the masstige end, ColourPop will enter Sephora doors in November; on the luxury side, La Mer has been testing its products in a subset of doors, and in lifestyle, Bkr’s silicone-sleeved water bottles are slated to roll into all doors in January.
Sephora is also testing different store formats. The retailer opened its first small-concept shop in Boston in July. The 2,000-square-foot Sephora Studio location has a much heavier focus on services, including makeup artistry and skin-care offerings. On the other side, the business also opened an 11,300-square-foot store in New York’s Herald Square in April.