Beauty is a new major plank in the social platform Opensky.
This story first appeared in the May 4, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With 1.5 million users, Opensky, a social shopping network featuring beauty advice from various experts, went live with its new beauty section Thursday. The site’s executives declined to break out figures, but industry sources estimate Opensky brought in $40,000 in beauty alone on the day it launched. Sources also estimate the Web site could ultimately generate $500,000 per week.
Chief executive officer John Caplan, formerly of Ford Models, launched Opensky in April of last year with fashion, home decor, food and healthy-living platforms. Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Cynthia Rowley and Molly Sims are some of the experts who manage their own mini shopping boutiques and give their personal picks, which consumers can buy directly off the site. With the introduction of beauty, Pati Dubroff, Fredric Brandt and Serge Normant are among the beauty experts.
“Beauty has been a natural target for Opensky from the beginning,” said Allison Slater, general manager of health and beauty at Opensky. “John Caplan actually created a beauty-focused precursor to Opensky when he was the ceo of Ford Models. He created a video channel where Ford Models shared their beauty secrets and it became one of the most-watched channels on YouTube at the time.”
After 12 years at Sephora, Slater migrated to Opensky. “I was at Sephora in the very early days, when people weren’t even sure if it would be successful,” said Slater. “Being a part of Sephora’s growth over many years was incredibly exciting. With Opensky, I see the same opportunity. It’s the future of online shopping.”
Slater maintains that social commerce offers a natural synergy. “For the curators, it creates a chance to connect directly with their audience,” she said. “For the shoppers, they get the opportunity to discover new things that have been pre-screened for them, in a way that gives them deeper insight than [information on] regular packaging can provide.”
“You don’t get that personal shopping experience at traditional retailers,” said Brandt, a dermatologist and founder of Dr. Brandt Skincare. “On Opensky, users can filter out what might not be apropos to them.”
“I want to encompass so many aspects of life,” said Dubroff, a makeup artist. “Yes, there will be skin care and makeup, but also I’m very into enhancing the spirit and seeking out things that are pleasing to the senses.”