As Coterie looks to keep people coming back despite wholesale interest waning, the women’s apparel, accessories and footwear trade show is investing further in beauty.
The bi-annual show, held by UBM Fashion in New York City, first tested the category in September of 2017, showing roughly 15 brands in one 900-square-foot area. During this season’s event, which ran from Monday to Wednesday, it expanded to include 18 brands in two separate areas of the show floor, all of which was curated by celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson.
And as the $445 billion beauty industry is expected to grow at a rate of 2.8 percent between now and 2026, Coterie’s investment in the space is only expected to continue. Amid the ongoing shakeout of the old fashion system, betting on beauty is a play for relevancy and revenue that no one, it seems, is immune to.
One of two beauty sections at Coterie this week
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited to build on our selection in the coming seasons,” said Danielle Licata, vice president of Coterie.
For its inaugural “[pre]Coterie” show in early June, which will be smaller, the focus will be largely on beauty instead of fashion, for example.
“We want to create a marketplace to connect buyers with beauty and lifestyle brands,” said Licata, who noted that more and more boutiques and fashion brands today are re-imagining themselves as concept stores, catering to various categories and needs. They’re especially fond of beauty and apothecary add-ons, she said, which rings true as brands like Asos, Forever 21, and Madewell have recently debuted or expanded on their beauty sections.
[pre]Coterie will also be open to the public (a first for UBM), evoking other consumer-facing beauty events like Beautycon. Although some industry sources believe this is an effort to keep the trade show model afloat as it loses its relevance amid the direct-to-consumer boom, Licata said the company’s main focus remains on business-to-business experiences. Opening the beauty category up to the public simply makes sense, she said, as it often features “core or evergreen products that can provide instant gratification.”
Of course, that instant gratification may go for the brands involved, too.
“We’ve been thrilled to see the evolution of our returning brands since we launched last September and hear their success stories,” she said, referring to brands like the skin-care line Immunocologie and vlogger-favorite The MakeUp Eraser.
Celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson in Coterie’s beauty section, which he curated
Trying to cater to multiple markets at once isn’t easy, however.
At this week’s edition, the new Luxe Life beauty section also included lifestyle items from brands like Gem Water (crystal-infused water bottles) and Capture Flow’s miniature Mighty Sound Speakers. “We have found the market both receptive and hungry for more [of these items],” explained Licata. While tapping into wellness-related products makes sense in the current climate, the assortment also included Morphew vintage clothing and the pre-owned handbag retailer Bella Bag.
Lifestyle elements were also present in the second section, Beauty Pop. Said to be geared towards contemporary brands, it featured products as diverse as temporary tattoos and BKR water bottles.
But wide-ranging is the point, according to Licata: “We look for brands that speak to customers, offer a unique approach or feature, and contribute to the evolving conversation around beauty and self-care.”