A Week of Business, Beauty, and Fashion in Los Angeles

May 1, 2019

We’re often on the road here at Capacity, but some trips are inevitably more remarkable than others.

Last week was one such trip, as our CSO Thom Campbell and Senior Director of Sales Nikil Prabhakar flew into Los Angeles to attend back-to-back events in the worlds of beauty and fashion.

First up was Beauty & Money LA.

After attending one of the earlier iterations last year in New York City, we knew that Los Angeles would make another excellent home for this stylish event

As it turned out, our instincts were right!

Keeping Up with Clean Beauty

One of the anticipated themes running through Beauty & Money LA 2019 was that of “clean beauty.” In simple terms, this means finding the most harmless and ethical ingredients available to create beauty products that buyers can feel good about.

“Beauty is now seen as a component of wellness,” said Frédéric Benqué, a board member for clean cosmetics brand Credo Beauty. As a relatively new company driving the move to more ethical ingredients, Credo is operating at the grassroots level, looking up at how the big brands are behaving as the company attempts to usher in a new set of standards.

As the slides below show, he sees significant changes occurring in the beauty sector, which is increasingly aligned with health and wellness. As a result, beauty brands find themselves in competition with major names in retail and eCommerce, with whom they might not have concerned themselves just a few years ago

Beauty Industry Dynamics – Frédéric Benqué
Brand positioning in a clean beauty (and wellness) sector – Frédéric Benqué

“Maybe Sephora is waiting for the large brands to clean up their act before pushing clean beauty,” concludes Benqué, certain in his assertion that larger brands that drag their heels will eventually be playing catch-up to those who act first on the clean beauty movement.

Wherever we are in the transition, a key takeaway is that paying lip service to what goes into health and beauty products will only take a brand so far. Ingredients and ethical sourcing are increasingly important to consumers and popular products will need to stand up to the scrutiny of this new consideration if they want to stay top of the sales charts in this sector.

Beauty and Marketing

On the topic of being in alignment with consumers, the marketing and branding aspects of the beauty sector were also emphasized at Beauty & Money LA.

Katie Rosen Kitchens of lifestyle subscription box company FabFitFun, for example, stressed the value of two-way communication and its impact on repeat business.

FabFitFun – Katie Rosen Kitchens

For aspiring beauty brands, this means more than just cranking out
marketing e-mails and populating social media feeds.

While those are elements that cannot be ignored, speakers like Rosen Kitchens and Danica Calderhead, from brand data and insights firm Dash Hudson, challenged the audience to go further. To develop true brand loyalty, deep engagement and meaningful connections are key.

This means having conversations with customers, listening to their desires and concerns, encouraging them to share feedback and visuals about their experiences with your products and amplifying this user-generated content (UGC) to put the fans at the heart of your beauty brand.

Danica Calderhead – Director of Brand Strategy at Dash Hudson

The Business of Fashion

Like Capacity and fulfillment, beauty and fashion are a perfect combination. Unsurprising, then, that our next event was the Business of Fashion summit at Westfield Century City, more succinctly known as BoF West.

CEO Imran Amed opens up BoF West 2019

The agenda was admirably diverse, with representatives from the worlds of Hollywood and high fashion to technology and advertising execs in attendance, eager to take in some insightful discussions.

Hilary Coles, Hims & Hers | Tim Brown, Allbirds | Emma Grede, Good American

Among the many takeaways, we found the principled stand of Emma Grede, founder and CEO of body positive clothing brand Good American, especially compelling. On the subject of respecting every customer and making clothing available for women of different body types, she stated clearly: “we don’t sell to retailers who won’t take all sizes.”

Damian Bradfield, WeTransfer | Bettina Korek, Frieze LA | Rich Pearson, Headspace

Last, but clearly not least, Serena Williams took the stage to discuss her career and journey into entrepreneurship with Business of Fashion CEO Imran Amed.

Serena Williams talks to Imran Amed at BoF West 2019

Following a stellar athletic career as the highest-earning female tennis player in history, Williams is now translating that eye for success to the world of fashion with a self-titled clothing line. Ever the style icon on the court, where she often drew unjustified criticism for her flamboyant clothing choices, she is working overtime to make her mark as an entrepreneur in this star-studded field.

After her discussion, we were lucky enough to briefly cross paths with Serena. With stars in our eyes, we exchanged pleasantries and gratefully obtained this iconic lady’s signature on her cover edition of BoF magazine.

Our Capacity crew enjoyed the insights and star-studded inspiration of L.A.

Naturally, we also found a little time to check out the nightlife and can heartily recommend Laurel Hardware, an unassuming yet appropriately stylish spot for farm-to-table eats and creative cocktails.

Laurel Hardware — West Hollywood, CA

While a hectic week of travel usually means a rush to return to the fulfillment campus and checking in on our day-to-day obsession, ensuring exquisite packaging and getting orders on their way to excited customers, we also had a moment to check in on the new Capacity campus serving the West coast.

We’ll have more on that soon, but for now let’s just say that we’re excited to spend even more time in L.A. going forward!