Founders of 50-plus beauty brands, including Bumble and bumble, BirchBox, and Juice Beauty, gathered at Spring Studios for FounderMade’s second beauty summit on Friday. Created two years ago, the organization brings together founders of companies within the same category, big and small, to network and share advice through a discovery room of products and panel discussions. This year, the topics that had everyone talking: millennial consumers, product innovations, e-commerce, choosing investors, and creating brand meaning.
Goop beauty director Jean Godfrey-June kicked things off with a discussion about how brands target millennials. Jessica Richards of Shen Beauty and Free People, Sasha Plavskic of Ilia, Karen Behnke of Juice Beauty, Zak Normandin of Dirty Lemon, and Yael Alkalay of Red Flower, who dominate the natural product space, weighed in on issues like levels of transparency with consumers (more is better), how technical product information should get (arm your customer service team with the answers), and how to spread the brand’s message (third parties—a.k.a. influencers and other consumers—are the most effective). Refinery29’s beauty features director Megan McIntyre talked beauty innovations with Grace Choi of Mink, Peach & Lily’s Alicia Yoon, MakeUp Eraser’s Daniel McCarthy, Julia Straus of TULA, and Michelle Kim of The Mindful Revolution.
To end the daylong event, founders from well-known brands took to the stage to share their stories and give tips on how they found their way—Bumble and bumble’s/Hairstory’s Michael Gordon, Melody McCloskey of StyleSeat, Hayley Barna of BirchBox, and Moj Mahdara of BeautyCon—before they judged a “Shark Tank”-type competition between four new-to-market companies. The contenders were Sabrina Noorani’s ClearForMe, a tech service that defines ingredients; Brett Bilon’s Plume Science, a natural lash-growth system; Cindy Edwards and Stephanie Duttenhaver of Southern-inspired skincare line Sapelo; and esthetician Melanie Simon and David Mason’s ZIPP, an anti-aging hand-held device. And the winner was: ZIPP! The founders received a cash price and a mentorship from famed makeup entrepreneur Laura Geller.