FounderMade “The Future of Beauty” took place on Friday, June 2, at Spring Studios in downtown New York City. We walked through the black doors of the chic photo studio building, signed in, and were instructed to ride the elevators up to the sixth floor. As the elevators opened we were immediately engulfed by the sounds of overlapping and endless conversation passing between founders, entrepreneurs, buyers, and press. Natural light flooded the first room where a myriad of brands and their tastefully built displays stood. The second room had floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing a jaw-dropping view of the bustling city below; this was the large seminar room where six 45-minute panels hosted by an industry expert would soon take place. A third open-concept room exhibited even more brands and the exchange of information was immense amidst this modern space. We had entered the TedTalk of Beauty with notepads in hand.
This global beauty summit offered intimate insight from top industry founders, executives, and thought leaders, and provided ample time for networking opportunities amongst 500+ CEOs, investors, brands, and corporate partners. The audience in the seminar room was both diverse and attentive, and sought advice and unique perspectives from those who have tried, failed, and succeeded in this hyper-competitive industry.
Below is a snapshot of the many words of wisdom shared at FounderMade:
Five Overarching Themes
- Trust your gut, even if those with more experience in the industry tell you otherwise. Stay true to you and your brand’s story.
- Focus on dialogue not monologue; talk with people, not at them. With a multitude of media platforms and tech-savvy consumers, you can reach and engage them and receive instant feedback about products. This customer-centric approach via direct communication channels will help your brand. Consumers have a lot of valuable input if you are willing to listen.
- Do not underestimate the consumer. Remember that they are smart and know what they want.
- While customer-centric methods are crucial, do not forget about your employees. A happy employee circle equals a happy and well-run brand.
- Focus on your product, not profit. Design, test, and improve your product to adapt it to consumers’ changing preferences.
Five Takeaways From FounderMade Panelists
- Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam, built the foundation of her business by using her knowledge as an aesthetician and spending time in the market every three months researching and sifting through what works—and what doesn’t—in the world of K-beauty. While Korea has become the epicenter for beauty innovation, Cho warns that just because something is a trend in Korea doesn’t mean it will translate to the US market—you need to understand timing and culture and be prepared to educate.
- There was a tremendous amount of information to take away from the investment segment. But Parker Hayden, principal of Carlyle Group, provided a frank assessment of the current investment cycle. While it has never been easier to grow a business and compete in the beauty category, he feels the current evaluations are not sustainable. His advice to brand owners in the current M&A environment? Sell.
- Nicholas Giannuzzi, founder of Giannuzzi Group LLP, provided some sage wisdom. Some founders only place emphasis on long-term goals and ignore short-term goals. This is a bad idea because ultimately, focusing on short-term goals will help you achieve long-term goals.
- Beauty queen Bobbi Brown, founder of Beauty Evolution & Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, had three tips for entrepreneurial success. Surround yourself with good people. Do not give up on the details. It takes 24/7 hard work to build a brand.
- Harry Josh, founder of Harry Josh Hair, reinforced the importance of trusting your gut even if those with more experience tell you otherwise. Stay true to you and your story. Believe in your product.
Mark your calendar for the next FounderMade conference happening November 17-18 at Spring Studios. The next event is a two-day summit across food, beauty & wellness, with investors, retailers, distributors, influencers, and consumers.