When Rob Robillard, vp of integrated beauty at QVC and HSN, started his job eight years ago, he knew there was a lot of untapped potential for modernizing these legacy retail brands.
“I felt like there was so much opportunity when I started,” said Robillard. “Here was a platform that I felt was so powerful, when you think about the fact that women today are so engaged with storytelling. They want narratives. They want video content. They want demonstration, and information and education in every way they think about their beauty routine, and here were QVC and HSN — platforms designed around that idea. It made me really excited [to figure out] how we tap into that, and do it in a really modern and different way.”
In this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Robillard to discuss some of the ways he’s contributed to giving the brands new life, including relaunching Beauty Bash, introducing private-label brands and introducing a clean beauty standard. Edited highlights below.
“Beauty Bash [an event where customers mingle with their favorite QVC personalities and brands] was an incredible event that we did for about 10 years. It’s been about eight years since we did it, and interestingly, the reason we stopped it was because we had more complaints that people couldn’t get tickets than we sold tickets. So we actually saw it as a negative customer experience, which for QVC, when you have a negative customer experience, we will stop just about any initiative we’re doing. So it took a little bit of a hiatus, and before I arrived the team was desperate to find a way to scale it and think about it in a bigger way. As I thought about the priorities, I thought it was so important to get it back on the docket again. I was formerly a vendor for QVC while working for Living Proof, and it allowed me to interact with QVC’s most hyper-engaged customers. It was unbelievable the amount of information they would tell you and how they shopped. It was just this super valuable experience, and bringing it back is about rewarding our customers and saying thank you. It’s also about our teams and vendors really learning what the customer wants.”
Introducing private-label beauty with Carmindy
“For those that watched “What Not To Wear,” we all remember the beautiful makeup application, and the spin around and the tears out of women. That wasn’t just a television moment — that’s really who [makeup artist] Carmindy is. She’s someone who really feels deeply about bringing the best out of women and making them feel beautiful in a natural, seamless way. For me, it was a no-brainer when I met her, and we started to talk about partnering together for this first private-label brand for QVC. She has this point-of-view about the five-minute face, which made me immediately think about our customer. That is what she wants — she wants simple, easy, to be able to do it quickly. Carmindy’s philosophy has always been around five minutes for the perfect complexion and five minutes for the perfect color. The good thing about our platform is that we get to build her as an influencer. This is our opportunity. She may not be a mega-influencer, with 20 million followers on Instagram, but we have the chance on our platform to really build her into an influencer among our audience.”
Spotlighting clean beauty
“We’ve not really done a good job on the clean and wellness space. We’ve not had a standard ourselves, and we’ve not really focused on the assortment in that area. And we know that’s really important to our customer. So we’re introducing a new standard: QVC Clean Beauty and HSN Clean Beauty, it’s the same standard across both networks. It really just helps the customer figure out which brands are formulated without the ingredients that they don’t want in their products and helps her navigate that in a way that is simple, easy and truly transparent. We have some incredible brands that will meet the standard, and it’s important for them to get the credit for being formulated in a way that doesn’t include the ingredients that consumers may have questions or concerns about. It also enables my team to really go out there and find the best in class from this space.”