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Victoria Beckham Beauty’s Sarah Creal on Navigating 2020

The seasoned executive shared her business workarounds for 2020.

Cofounding a beauty brand with a London-based partner was never an issue for Sarah Creal, cofounder and chief executive officer of Victoria Beckham Beauty, until movement was restricted in March of 2020.

“[Victoria Beckham] is super hands-on in product development, concept development and editing,” Creal said. “And, we just plain like each other. We’ve always worked together really closely, and I miss that creative in-person side.”

Creal launched Victoria Beckham Beauty with its famous namesake cofounder in 2019, with each of them filling a gap for streamlined, user-friendly makeup. The pair, who met during Beckham’s collaboration with Estée Lauder (where Creal led global partnerships) in 2016, had maintained a trans-Atlantic business relationship seamlessly until 2020.

Fostering camaraderie on the team was imperative for Creal, who instituted the practice of regularly touching base with the brand’s whole team. “I do it every day, for the team to create structure, and we all see each other’s faces,” she said. “That’s very important, and having regular touch bases with Victoria. In this disjointed world, we’ve figured out how to come together.”

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Another key challenge was the consumer’s growing appetite for content, especially for a brand that is predominantly direct-to-consumer. “Since the majority of business is done on our own channel, we needed to create a ton of content,” Creal said. “We did a lot of photo shoots virtually. We had a photographer in one location and models in another location, with the photographer instructing models how to capture content.”

Despite headwinds in makeup, Creal said the brand’s chic minimalism is more resonant than ever with consumers. “We’ve emphasized our initial position, which is about streamlined beauty. We’ve really brought it to the fore,” she said. “Our skin care is two products, and those two products take care of your skin care needs. We’ve also introduced and expanded our eye makeup range, such as our Future Lash mascara, which was a huge hit.”

Although color’s spotlight has been all on eyes, Creal said the brand’s new lip tints — of which six were added — have done really well. “I was a little nervous about it because obviously, everyone’s wearing masks. But the reality is like Victoria always says, that she’s wearing makeup for herself, and putting on a little lipstick does make you feel better,” Creal said.

The lip tints, which retail for $36 each, also boast functional levels of skin care ingredients. “It has three types of hyaluronic acid, so it’s plumping your lips, and it’s making you feel great, but it doesn’t end up on your mask. Changing the messaging highlights why these products are really appropriate for the moment,” Creal said.

The brand’s future, on the backside of the pandemic, holds a few category expansions. “Our vision has always been to be a brand that covers makeup, skin care, wellness and fragrance, and we are continuing on that journey,” Creal said, adding that lip shades and a bronzer palette are in the works for the first half of 2021. “We are agile as a brand and as a team, and it’s about bringing our passion and vision to life,” she said.

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Victoria Beckham Beauty Powers Through the Pandemic With a Lipstick, and a ‘Clean’ Mascara to Come