Beautycounter isn’t your typical beauty brand. Given its network of roughly 50,000 independent consultants marketing and selling its products, company founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew feels “an enormous sense of responsibility to make sure that we are operationally sound,” she said on the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
“I say it’s both our opportunity and our responsibility right now,” she said of the company’s place amid the current coronavirus’ outbreak. “Because it may be just a three-month, short term gig for them.” But for others, she added, it could be a way to “continue to pay their mortgages, their rent, when other things have dried up.”
Renfrew said Beautycounter has seen a rise in younger consultants joining as a way not just to make money, but to find community in a time of frequent isolation.
Overall, she thinks the pandemic will amplify the advantage of direct-to-consumer businesses like hers. “I think the wholesalers in general are in a lot of trouble right now. I hope some of them weather the storm. I think some of them will not, unfortunately,” she said.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
50,000 people depend on working with Beautycounter
“It’s been an incredibly stressful moment for me as a founder and CEO. I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to make sure that we are operationally sound for these 50,000 families who may never have relied on us for financial independence, but enjoyed being part of a movement — being advocates, educators, being part of a meaningful change — and now all of a sudden they’re dinging themselves relying on this income. I say it’s both our opportunity and our responsibility to share this business opportunity with people. Because it may be just a three month, short term gig for them, but the fact [is] we’re able to help these people continue to pay their mortgages, their rent, when other things have dried up.”
The youth effect
“We’ve seen an enormous number of younger people, college-aged [join us.] You’re out, it’s senior year, spring break, you’re hanging with your boyfriend, going to parties, and all of sudden, ‘Just kidding!’ You’re home with your parents, stuck inside. So we’ve found a huge surge of younger people joining us, starting as early as 18 and all through the early 20s, who are just looking to get out.”
DTC will win out
“All of us are talking about the fact that the future of commerce specific to beauty is going to continue to be direct-to-consumer. I think the wholesalers in general are in a lot of trouble right now. I hope some of them weather the storm. I think some of them will not, unfortunately. Being able to have a direct dialogue with your client, and for us our two clients, our clients who are [also] independent consultants, is critical today and will be in the future months and years.”
Customers demand authenticity and sustainability
“I think the consumers have, over the last let’s say decade or so, really increasingly been demanding of their brands’ authenticity, sustainability, transparency, [having] a voice in product development, wanting to be a part of the equation. And I think now more than ever we’ll see that continue to rise. People are going to be focused on wellness and clean beauty, but holistically on everything from meditation to sexual health to sleep. They’re going to be wanting to have back and forth conversations with the brands that they support and trust, and expecting them to listen.”