If there’s any sector that perfectly highlights the profitability and success of cross-industry partnerships, it’s our very own beauty world. In fact, it seems that every market from digital, fashion, film and charitable is clamouring over themselves to take a slice of the cosmetics pie. And you can’t really blame them, what with the global market expected to reach USD 716.6 billion by 2025 and all that.* So in all honesty, the latest trend of beauty publishers well and truly stepping out of their box and attempting to become lifestyle brands hasn’t shocked me. Well, not that much. But why are the likes of Refinery29, Who What Wear and Vogue driving out of their line and starting to dabble in product launches?
For one, the aforementioned not-so-small growth predication of the global beauty market might have something to do with it. Simply put, beauty is big business. So it could be that beauty publishers are taking heed of the news stories they write, day in, day out about the lucrative nature of the market, thinking, “I’m gonna get me some of that.” However, I’m sure it’s not just the lure of a bit of extra cash that are prompting all these new beauty/publishing collabs to pop up left, right and centre. In fact, it’s more likely a case sink or swim. Because as we know, consumer magazines are feeling the pinch. Thanks to the rise and rise of influencer marketing many cosmetic brands are choosing to spend their cash on Instagram stars and their #ads instead of traditional advertising, resulting in a significant loss of revenue (Conde Nast reported a £14 million loss in 2017 while Refinery29 cut 10 percent of its staff as revenues fell in 2018) and drop in subscriptions. But is this route for survival a sound one? Undoubtedly not wanting to suffer the fate of sites such as The Pool – RIP – has Refinery29’s partnership with Revlon bolstered the site? (Um, the jury’s out) or has Vogue’s collaboration taken it to new heights? (Frankly, no). I think it’s safe to say none of the above have set the industry alight.
Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule. Goop, for example, has both a successful online lifestyle site and lifestyle brand (including the upcoming London wellness weekend, at a mere £1000 a ticket. Ouch). Its initial success over a decade ago of course could be put down to its famous Founder Gwyneth Paltrow, but its popularity has long since eclipsed her celeb pull. Talking of celeb pulls, Kourtney Kardashian is attempting a similar feat to Paltrow and is capitalizing on both blogs and beauty with her newly launched lifestyle site Poosh, and the inevitable wellness product follow-up, Poosh drinkable collagen. And we’d hazard a guess her cool 79 million Instagram followers might just help make it a breakout lifestyle site/product star.
However, despite Goop and Poosh perhaps being stand out stars, the trend isn’t huge. That said, the launches keep coming, in fact just last week Who What Wear co-founder and CEO Katherine Power announced the launch of a new skin care range named Versed, so maybe there’s legs in it yet? I know what you’re all thinking – GCN beauty line anyone?