Lisa Sugar has conquered media, and now she’s ready to tackle the beauty industry.
Sugar is one-half of the founding team behind the PopSugar Inc. empire, best known for the online lifestyle publication PopSugar. She and her husband started the company in 2006 as Sugar Inc., a media and technology company that launched businesses including the shopping platform ShopStyle (which it sold in February of this year) and PopSugar Must Have, a monthly subscription box featuring a selection of fashion, beauty and home items. The success of the box planted the idea for PopSugar Beauty, which will debut in Ulta stores nationwide in March.
“When we decided to do the box and curate other brands, people loved getting that kind of product from us,” said Sugar. “So we tested featuring some [PopSugar-branded] products in the Must Have box, and now we want to take the PopSugar brand into more licensing deals.”
“Beauty is a category our audience absolutely loves,” she said. “Plus, I, personally, am a beauty junkie.”
Sugar shared one of her recent busy days in PopSugar’s headquarters of San Francisco, which included testing beauty products, reuniting with Neiman Marcus’s Ken Downing and taking her turn in her daughter’s soccer practice carpool.
6:15 a.m.: Wake up and roll out of bed. I check my phone for breaking news and emails from the team and re-read the reminders I emailed myself the night before. I spend a good amount of time on Instagram and checking the content across our sites. Then I shower and get ready for work. I put on my favorite body oil and various skin-care products. My current favorites are Clarins Double Serum and Charlotte Tilbury lotion.
6:45 a.m.: I make sure my two older daughters are up and getting dressed, then head back to my room to finish doing my hair. It’s curly, so there’s a very specific routine. I brush it in the shower with a wet brush, and when I get out, I use the product combination I swear by: one mousse, two gels.
7:00 a.m.: I head downstairs and make myself a cup of coffee while the kids start having breakfast. My husband, Brian, who’s the co-founder and CEO of PopSugar, is already working away on his computer in the kitchen. He heads up to shower, and I get on my computer for a few minutes to answer more emails. I also do a rundown with our nanny/assistant on the girls’ days and some home stuff — the schedule is always changing.
7:40 a.m.: I finish getting ready. I keep my everyday look simple and don’t wear too much makeup — just enough to look like I had enough sleep! I make a smoothie we wrote about on our fitness site, so I can bring it to work. It includes kale, yogurt, blueberries, pineapples and almond butter; I’ve pretty much had the same breakfast for three years.
7:55 a.m.: Brian and I walk our two older daughters to school. It’s only four blocks, and we love this time with them. Then we walk downtown to our office, which is about two miles away. I don’t have time to work out during the week, so this is our way of getting exercise Monday through Friday.
8:45 a.m.: At the office, I change out of my Adidas Ultra Boost sneakers and into the Everlane Street Shoe. I continue to crank through emails on everything from our trending stories to big wins from yesterday. I try to keep a hold on my calendar until 9:30, so I can be free before taking on a day full of meetings.
In the library at PopSugar’s headquarters
9:20 a.m.: Office chatter. We discuss what happened on “This Is Us” and the Season 2 premiere of “Riverdale.”
10:00 a.m.: The first meeting of the day is with the sales team. We go over some new RFPs for brands and brainstorm ideas on how to include them in a Must Have box. Another client wants to own a series of Instagram stories. We connect with the team at PSS — PopSugar Studios, our video production arm based in LA — and discuss what we’re hoping to do for awards season and how it would be a perfect fit for this client.
11:00 a.m.: PopSugar Shop meeting. Our audience loves product recommendations and roundups, and we have a cross-functional team focused on shoppable links for content and commerce. We are gearing up for our gift guide season, which is huge on PopSugar. We have a guide for everyone, including the BFF, the GOT fan and the beauty junkie who has everything.
Noon: Playbook analysis time! I’m back with the PSS team on a video call. We dive into analytics on Instagram. We are brainstorming Instagram Stories [series] and ways to get editors more involved. Currently, our most popular Stories are Swatch With Us (beauty product swatch tests), First Impression Friday with Brinton [PopSugar’s assistant trending editor] and You Glow Girl with Dominique [the assistant fitness director].
12:45 p.m.: I have an Arugula Grain Power Bowl salad from La Boulangerie for lunch, while checking email.
1:00 p.m.: I am editing the pamphlet for our co-branded Neiman Marcus x PopSugar Holiday Must Have box with Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus’s fashion director. It’s our fifth year partnering with the retailer, and Ken and I have a blast curating these products together. We have such a hard time picking the coveted few brands that make it in.
2:00 p.m.: National edit meeting. All offices call in and we do a rundown of traffic goals for the month, plus highlight some stories of the week and any tech tool updates. We’re excited to announce more information about our Beauty by PopSugar line, launching in Ulta.
3:00 p.m.: I have a call with Pamela Baxter from Bona Fide Beauty, who is the leading lady behind our exciting deal. We’ve just finalized product names and are busy building out the website. Today, we are going over the summer palette launches and a 3-in-1 brow product, which is to die for.
3:30 p.m.: On to calls with talent. We are launching a huge IRL event in 2018, with a long list of celebrities. I’ve been on the phone with agents and flying to LA and NYC to meet up with our wish list of women with purpose who are going to inspire, educate and entertain our audience. It’s still pretty top-secret, but we’ll be sharing more about it soon.
4:00 p.m.: The merchandising meeting for the Must Have box is a really fun way for me to end the day. Ricki, the team’s head merchandiser, and I have hundreds of products on a table, and we pick a theme and choose products that are a fit. I take home a new slew of products to test before next week’s meeting.
5:00 p.m.: It’s the final email crank before heading home to dinner.
Lisa and Brian, with Katie, Juliet and Elle
5:30 p.m.: I eat with my two youngest daughters, and then pick up the oldest from soccer and drive home her three friends.
7:30 p.m.: We get home, and she eats. I sit with her while my other girls start getting ready for bed.
8:00 p.m.: Story time! While the oldest is doing homework, I get the littles in bed — our new puppy, JJ, joins us. We spend 30 minutes reading and putting baby dolls to bed. It’s lights out at 8:40, and then I lie down with them for 20 minutes (usually catching up on Instagram and email).
9:15 p.m.: I tuck in my oldest and stop to snuggle for a bit — she’s 11, these days are numbered. I head to my room to change into PJs and wash my face. I use a cleanser by Joanna Vargas and then test Sunday Riley Tidal cream and Luna Sleeping Oil. I head downstairs to watch “Scandal” with Brian and get back to work for another hour or so. I get excited to see tonight’s stats and top stories, including what has taken off on Facebook and what video has joined our “Milly Club” (millions of views reached). I also check one of our automated emails that shows me all the new stories across all of our categories.
It’s hard for me to wind down, so I stay up watching more TV. I just started HBO’s “Insecure,” which is phenomenal. Like our editors and audience, I am loving Issa Rae.
11:15 p.m.: I check my calendar to see what’s on tap for tomorrow. I also check the weather and try to figure out what I should wear. If I can pick out my outfit the night before, it makes for a much smoother morning.
11:30 p.m.: I head to bed and do one last final scroll, then I send myself an email with anything important I need to remember in the morning. It could be a reminder to test a specific product, or to shave my legs.
Midnight: Alarm set. Phone down.