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Shiseido Picks BareMinerals for Bespoke Foundation App

Made-2-Fit designed to help the 94 percent of consumers not wearing the right foundation shade.

Shiseido has confirmed that BareMinerals is the brand selected to debut the technology acquired when it purchased MatchCo in January.

Earlier this year, WWD reported BareMinerals would most likely get the nod.

“It’s the right fit for BareMinerals for a number of reasons, and it was the obvious brand for us to start with,” stated Marc Rey, president and chief executive officer of Shiseido Americas. “A full 30 percent of American women use the brand. As the leader in complexion and foundation, it was logical that we put the technology on BareMinerals. Additionally, BareMinerals has always been a conversation brand, a brand that wants to have a lot of intimacy with its consumer and there is nothing more intimate than personalizing a product for one person.”

The BareMinerals Made-2-Fit app is now live via a free download for Apple iPhones. Through a series of steps, users capture scans of their skin to transmit to MatchCo to formulate a one-of-a-kind shade that is delivered right to their doorstep.

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BareMinerals’ 173 boutiques will also offer one-on-one consultation to use the app. The foundation, which retails for $49, can be received in just a few days in a bottle bearing the purchaser’s name and the date it was blended. The foundations are made within 24 hours of receiving the order and a typical bottle lasts for two to three months. To accommodate for complexion shifts, which can vary as much as 30 percent, Shiseido recommends seasonal rescans. Personal shade recipes are archived on the app for future orders.

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Foundation, according to Shiseido, is one of the most challenging beauty items to get the right complexion match, with an estimated 94 percent of consumers not wearing the perfect shade. No two shade combinations created by Made-2-Fit App will be identical, according to Rey. Because they are made to order, Shiseido sees endless opportunities for shade creation.

Industry sources estimate MatchCo has a current volume of about $5 million, a total that can easily be doubled with the debut of Made-2-Fit. Moreover, the concept is easily scalable, said MatchCo cofounder Andy Howell during a demonstration of the app. Other beauty categories and brands could be ripe for future customization, he said.

Jill Scalamandre, president of the Shiseido Global Makeup Center of Excellence, added, “This development marks a sea change in makeup selection, purchase and consumption.” A comprehensive launch plan is in the works leveraging new marketing tools such as geo-marketing around stores, programmatic media, in store offers and even “scan” parties.

Customization is the new hot button in beauty, which helps make even online selection more intimate. “I think there is both a rational and emotional reason why personalization is important,” Rey explained. “To oversimplify, the rational reason is that no two complexions are alike, and no two sets of expectations and needs are alike. So if you really want to satisfy consumer needs, the only answer is personalization. It’s also very important emotionally, because women want to feel special, they want to feel that things are made especially for them.” 

Existing MatchCo customers will be encouraged to convert to Made-2-Fit, said Howell. While the scan process is similar, under Shiseido’s watch more steps have been added and the formulas have been tweaked. In particular, “good for you” ingredients such as Vitamin E have been boosted along with ceramides. The lightweight formula is adapted for all skin types and tones and is buildable depending on the type of coverage desired.

Howell and business partner Dave Gross founded MatchCo in 2013 after sensing the potential to take customization they had done for others such as Nike and Levi’s to beauty. “People are used to customizing everything…you get your Starbucks made for you. We knew we could customize anything and beauty kept coming up as an opportunity,” Howell told WWD, admitting BareMinerals had been on his wish list as a partner. “There’s a real problem we can solve. It is different from shade matching; our technology actually creates a new shade for every customer. It’s something the beauty industry has needed for a long time,” he said, noting it goes beyond the existing industry beauty apps.