On day one of the Glossy Beauty Summit, taking place this week in Palm Springs, beauty executives met for a town hall-style discussion on the biggest challenges they’re facing. All talk turned to three topics: supply chain issues, holiday delivery delays and the new role of the influencer. Below are the highlights from the session, lightly edited for clarity.
It’s no surprise that the supply chain was a top issue among beauty brands during the Glossy Beauty Summit. As several attendees pointed out, it’s not one singular supply chain issue, but rather a host of them that has contributed to the crisis. We cherry-picked some standout examples of what brands are experiencing, including constantly putting out fires, dealing with a lack of labor and uprooting manufacturing.
“In my whole career, I have never seen so much incredible disruption. And part of it is that we didn’t anticipate it. We had no idea it was coming … My procurement team is getting five phone calls a day from different suppliers. There is a myriad of issues, and your supply chain teams are [busy] solving them. So [it is hard] to effectively communicate to the brands, who can [then] manage customers and consumer expectations.”
“We’re transitioning into retail for the beginning of next year. We don’t have the staff that has retail experience and muscle … There are so many supply chain issues with importing products that they don’t have time to proactively address getting ready for our retail launch. [We’re] putting out fires and unable to be proactive.”
“The supply chain [issues] are from every angle. Firstly, can we even get this stuff shipped to us? Then, can we get it to the distribution center? Can the distribution center get it to the store, and can the store get it to the customer? Oversharing is the best thing that we can do — over-communicating and talking to everyone about our problems. The more people [you tell], the more people there are who can help you problem-solve.”
“In 2019, I moved all my operations to the U.S. I thought I was going to skirt [supply chains issues] but my challenges are in the [lack of] truck drivers or [dealing with] the DHLs and FedEx shippers. I have my own label, and I offer private labels through our manufacturing. My investors are coming to me for their other brands to do private labels for them in the U.S., because they’re pulling out to China. But my factories are also filling up with a lot of other clients.”
“I would love a U.S. factory where I could get bottle [parts] at a good price point. I think if brands stand up together … we could push manufacturers. But right now, that’s not readily available.”
“The challenge I have is not knowing what capacity an order will be filled at. Depending on the product, [it could be on] backorder. And, depending on the number of businesses you’re fulfilling for, the purchase orders are different for every business. So, one [retailer partner] may get products, but the other will not.”
Holiday delivery delays
Beauty brand executives said that navigating holiday shipping delays is a matter of launching a marketing backup plan and positioning core products as seasonal.
“We’ve made two sets of [marketing] creatives, because [our holiday product] is off the coast, and we don’t know when it’s coming in — or if we’ll have it for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So the creative team is going crazy to get both creatives done, just in case.”
“Our [challenge] is around our free gift with purchase [holiday promotion]. We don’t yet have the gifts. So, do you send the whole order out late, or do you send it along with a postcard coupon, hoping they’ll come back to redeem it for the free gift? Either way, they’ll be mad.”
“A big thing for us was trying to make holiday product that isn’t exclusively holiday, so that it can live for a longer lifespan. If it needs to live into Valentine’s Day, we can promote it as a gift for Valentine’s Day — just so that we don’t have as much pressure on [getting it for December]. And then we can guide the customer into core product at a hot price point or make the [core product] feel giftable, just using photo assets or marketing. That’s without actually changing it or needing our holiday product to be in stores. We’ve been able to, kind of, put Band-Aids on some things and guide them into different forms or into core product, and then slowly phase in the newness that’s been delayed. We’re trying to get the customer to buy as much at [full] ticket [price] as possible, until that Green Week-Cyber Monday time period. And then we’ll see, truly at the last minute, how flexible we can be in our pricing strategy.”
“We made a lot of shifts to our item-level plan, but we tried to keep our larger department and class plans where they are. We were able to do that by putting a gift set in the same category as core product — and then the core offsets the miss in the gift set. And then, once [the gift set] is finally in store. we promote the giftset to offset the core not being fully in stock. So we’ve been able to, from a top line, still beat our plan. But it’s definitely not where we projected it would be back in February.”
“A lot of our holiday launches did not come in time. So we took all of our hero products and we made creatives on the holiday theme: We did product photography holiday-themed, we made our whole website holiday-themed, and we changed the bundle names to be holiday-themed to make them look like holiday bundles and gift sets. But they are hero products and are here all year round.”
“What we’re doing is collaborating with other designers. We’re putting our forces together and we’re going to each other’s audience with each other’s products. That gives us a wider array of audience and products.”