Hatchbeauty added the position of president to its management ranks and filled it with an 11-year veteran of L’Oréal.
Michael Sampson has joined the Los Angeles-based brand incubator and owner in the leadership role after stretches at L’Oréal as general manager for Prestige Professional Brands and vice president of that division encompassing Kérastase and Shu Uemura, and vice president of sales for L’Oréal Professionnel. He reports to Hatchbeauty cofounder and chief executive officer Tracy Holland and relocated from New York to L.A. for the job.
“In the past, when brands and retailers would tell consumers how great they are, the consumer would say, ‘I believe you.’ Today, the pendulum has swung and the consumer really dictates the value of brands. As beauty consumers become more demanding and engaged with brands, it is those organizations that are highly flexible, agile and get innovation out quickly that will become more valuable to them,” said Sampson. “The agility that Hatchbeauty has is really built for the future of the beauty industry. That’s why it’s so exciting.”
Cosmetics, skin-care, hair-care and fragrance retailers and brands hire Hatchbeauty for product development, creative services and strategic planning purposes. In recent years, it has concentrated on creating beauty offerings to suit certain store environments. With Costco, it spearheaded an initiative called Beauty’s Most Wanted around well-known beauty experts such as celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp, makeup artist Kristofer Buckle and hairstylist Orlando Pita, whose line Play has spread to QVC and Ulta Beauty. Hatchbeauty has also acquired brands, notably the children’s hair-care property Circle of Friends. Brands it has identified on its web site as clients include Goldfaden M.D., Lancer Skincare, eSalon and Dollar Shave Club.
Industry sources estimate Hatchbeauty’s annual retail sales at $100 million to $200 million. In June, WWD reported the company retained Piper Jaffray to search for a potential investor to help fuel expansion.
A critical aspect of Sampson’s charge will be to guide brands under Hatchbeauty’s umbrella to long-term success. “Hatch has many different brands in many different categories in many different channels. We have to make sure we stay focused on each of the brands and not with a cookie-cutter approach. We have to make sure we have a strategy and vision specifically for each brand and grow pillars specific to each brand,” said Sampson. “We will be ensuring that the brands live on for five, 10, 15 years and beyond.”
Elaborating on Sampson’s task to nurture brand longevity, Holland said, “His expertise on brand strategy, channel strategy and marketing will bring an elevated approach to how we incubate and execute brand traction in the marketplace. We have placed an emphasis on becoming sticky with our customers through investment in brand marketing and deepening our commitment to continuing to deliver innovative concepts to our retail clients.”
Structurally, Sampson envisions Hatchbeauty’s horizontal workforce increasingly slanting vertically. “Today, you have a multitude of people working on a multitude of brands, but as those brands grow up, it will be time to have true dedication and focus on each of the brands,” he said, while noting the pace of new brand creation won’t slow as Hatchbeauty enlarges its existing stable. Sampson mentioned niches within beauty categories are emerging – “Now, it seems to be specific to certain body parts like lip, nail and brow,” he mentioned — and suggested the nutraceutical and green beauty segments as areas ripe for entrants. “People want to feel good about what they are buying,” he explained.
Hatchbeauty could break into rising beauty segments through acquisitions. “These wouldn’t be very large acquisitions per se. It is more about what could be complementary to our current portfolio and where we believe there is potential. It’s a good strategy, and something we are always looking at,” said Sampson. On the flipside, Hatchbeauty doesn’t have plans to sell any of its brands, but Sampson reasoned, “As we continue to grow these brands to a very large degree, I wouldn’t be surprised if a private equity firm or a strategic buyer would take a look at them. At that point, we are willing to have that discussion.”