When Jill Scalamandre first started her career, she wasn’t interested in beauty.
She had spent some time after college working in a fashion house in Paris and was trying to figure out her next steps when someone suggested she give the beauty industry a try. She accepted an opportunity with Revlon and quickly fell in love with the industry.
“Makeup can play a very transformational, confidence-building role in a woman’s life,” said Scalamandre. “I just saw what beauty could do, and I fell in love, and I have never looked back.”
In the decades since, Jill has built a long, successful career in beauty. In her current role of president of BareMinerals, Buxom and global development for Shiseido makeup, she has overseen the relaunch of the Shiseido and BareMinerals brands, and revamped BareMinerals’ brick-and-mortar retail strategy.
In this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Scalamandre to discuss the challenges of overseeing such different brands, the benefits of working with influencers and the future of technology in beauty. Below are excerpts from the conversation, edited for clarity.
Relaunching Shiseido makeup
“Our goal with [Shiseido] was to gift Japan to the world. To be a Japanese brand is a special attribute that no one can take away from us, and there are not a lot of Japanese brands out there, so that’s what we went back to. We went back to the Japanese roots, number one. Number two, we went back to the fact that their skin-care textures are so beautiful; they are second to none. So how do we bring what they’re so good at, and known for, in skin care to the world of makeup? That’s exactly what we did. We created new texture categories: inks, gels, powders and dews. That’s how it’s so connected to skin care; those textures are just amazing in skincare, and we wanted to do the same in makeup.”
Why influencers work
“We use influencers to help us spread the word, because that’s really important today, as there are no longer these big TV flights of $20 million. The way you reach consumers is through influencers. Influencers are great because they tell you how they feel about the product, and they reach all of their followers and then some. Influencers are really used to being on top of the conversation. Today, because there are so many ways to reach consumers, and so many platforms, you need to find multiple ways for the consumers hear your story.”
Building original brands
“I’m a brand builder — that’s my passion. Through product, through communications, I love to build brands. Doing that means finding your sweet spot and building from there. Each of these brands has a different sweet spot, and that’s the beauty of our industry. You find brands, and women connect to the brands through who they are and what a brand communicates. There’s room for everyone.”
The tech-filled future of beauty
“There’s a lot of movement in technology. We’ve acquired two technology companies this year. The first is a personalization and customization company called MatchCo, which sits inside of BareMinerals right now. You can scan your skin with your phone and order a shade online that is made solely for you. This technology of customization and personalization is something that will be scaled. The other technology we acquired, Giaran, is about being able to virtually try on products without having to go to a store. You’ll see more technology in all of the brands in the Shiseido portfolio in 2019.”