BareMinerals was a powerhouse seller on QVC in its heyday, driven by its charismatic chief executive officer, Leslie Blodgett, who pioneered the concept of social selling.
But it has faltered since its 2010 acquisition by Shiseido Co. Ltd., faced with competition from digital-born and direct-to-consumer color cosmetics brands. And at a time where founders are romanticized as the heartbeats of their brands, Blodgett is no longer with the company.
New Bare Escentuals Beauty Inc. president Susan Jurevics — her appointment was announced in July — is laser-focused on reinstalling BareMinerals as a veritable force in the prestige market, and she is doing so with an eye toward digital.
“It’s clear we need an increased emphasis on digital, and how we distribute our product and communicate with our customers,” Jurevics said as she addressed the room at WWD’s Digital Beauty Forum. “It’s not only a necessary evolution, it’s a natural evolution for us. The digital platform is the natural place where we’re finding so many of our consumers.”
Jurevics ticked off a series of statistics that most in the room were likely not surprised by, such as Pew research that 90 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own a smartphone and 12 percent of smartphone users are online-dependent. The gist: The young Millennial consumers BareMinerals — like every other legacy prestige beauty brand — is hoping to capture are consuming content and shopping primarily in online channels and increasingly through mobile. Said Jurevics: “Consider the facts: While the majority of retail sales happen in physical stores, online sales growth is seven times larger than total retail growth…mobile is starting to lead the digital shopping revolution.”
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Jurevics is experienced in targeting young Millennial women. Before BareMinerals, she was ceo and board director of J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore, the digital content and e-commerce arm of the Harry Potter author’s literary empire. At Pottermore, Jurevics boosted original content creation and marketed that content on the brand’s social media channels, with the purpose of engaging consumers and fostering brand awareness — not necessarily driving them straight to purchase. “We were selling users on the concept of visiting our web site to engage with us and consume content,” said Jurevics. She expanded the brand’s distribution channels for Pottermore products like e-books and audiobooks, forging relationships with digital giants like Amazon, Apple and Audible.
She plans to bring a similar strategy to BareMinerals, armed with information from a consumer research deep dive the company completed over the past 18 months.
“I’m a big believer that distribution is a function of knowing your consumers and their habits and how they access your products,” said Jurevics. “The audience we want is very active on social media — various channels on social are hugely influential in the product discovery and purchase process.”
To that end, Jurevics noted the brand will be ramping up its digital content creation, focusing on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. “There are millions of loyal consumers in our audience who love and trust our brand, and want to hear from us in an authentic and credible way,” said Jurevics. “I recognize the importance of creating an emotional connection with consumers in the digital realm, and ultimately how that share of heart can drive share of wallet.
Jurevics will also be focused on digital distribution channels going forward — both the BareMinerals e-commerce experience and with retail partners. Physical stores will still be important, said Jurevics, but will have an increased emphasis on high-touch digital componentry. “It may be as intuitive as buying and picking up in store — click and collect — or encouraging consumers to use their smartphones to learn more about BareMinerals products or find localized special offers,” said Jurevics.
When asked if the brand had a strategy for selling on Amazon — BareMinerals products are only sold on Amazon via third-party sellers — Jurevics offered, “I’m not able to share any strategy for Amazon, but as I said, our distribution is a function of where our consumer is.”