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L'Oréal will demo new beauty technology this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A pair of new makeup applicator prototypes are showing how a brand can get involved in charting the future of not just in the products they make, but also the tools that help to apply them.
Here’s a look at the products, and takeaways on what this innovations shows about where beauty is heading:
This handheld makeup applicator is designed to help people with limited hand and arm mobility steadily apply lipstick. Seeing as how this group numbers 50 million people worldwide, the device represents a step toward inclusion.
The technology includes:
- Smart motion controls
- Customizable attachments that help the user open packaging and apply lipstick
- A magnetic attachment that clicks in at the preferred position, and enables 360 degrees of rotation and 180 degrees of flexion
- Stabilizing and leveling technology from Verily, which will be piloted by Lancôme in 2023
- Built-in battery and device charging
L'Oréal Brow Magic
The handheld, electronic brow makeup applicator is designed to draw and apply a precise brow shape. Achieving the right look typically requires several products, as well as expertise in techniques like microblading that are the province of professionals. This is designed for home use.
To develop the device, L'Oréal partnered with Prinker, which makes printed, non-permanent tattoos. The device has 2,400 tiny nozzles, which apply up to 1,200 drops per inch.
The process begins by using L'Oréal’s Modiface augmented reality technology.
Here’s how it works:
Users scan their face with the Modiface app, then receive recommendations on microblading, micro-shading, or filler effects.
Personalization is next. Users select the desired shape, thickness and effect.
Then it’s time to apply with the device. Users brush Magic Brow Primer, move the printer across the eyebrow in a single motion and apply a topcoat to complete the look.
The tool will launch in 2023.
Trends to watch
The devices point toward a few important ways that beauty is evolving:
Beauty tools go digital: Beauty products have long been accompanied by devices to apply them. These prototypes underscore a new wave of development is bringing smart and digital technologies into an industry that still mostly defaults to manual. The use of augmented reality shows that a crossover between digital and physical is on the horizon, as well. AR has largely been used for try-on, but the use of Modiface with Brow Magic points to a role within primary use.
Expanding access: With the beauty technology announced this week, L'Oréal is putting these tools in the hands of more people. HAPTA is helping people with limited fine motor skills, while Brow Magic is allowing services that would be performed by professionals to be completed at home. In turn, it is empowering consumers to apply the look they want, and do it themselves.
Vertical growth: L'Oréal is often seen expanding its chemically-based product lines to cover more categories of beauty, whether that's hair, cosemetics or skincare. These devices show that L'Oréal can also expand vertically as a provider of the tools that help to put these core products on. That also means a consumer will see the name L'Oréal each time they look at their tool. That presents incremental sales opportunities when that consumer look to buy their next product.
Cross-disciplinary partnerships: Technology isn’t developed by individual firms alone. L'Oréal employs its own scientists and engineers who are developing these prototypes, but they are working with others. The projects show how partnerships may not always originate in the exact use case for which a company is building. HAPTA partner Verily is owned by Alphabet, works in life sciences and originally developed the technology for use with dining utensils. Brow Magic partner Prinker’s technology was built for temporary tattoos. Don’t be limited by the industry you’re working in. Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve, not where you are today.
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On the Move has the latest from Amazon, Lovesac and more.
This week, leadership is changing at GameStop, Sorel and Beautycounter. Meanwhile, key executives are departing at Amazon, Wayfair and Lovesac.
Here’s a look at the latest shuffles:
GameStop CEO fired
GameStop announced the termination of Matthew Furlong as CEO on Wednesday. A brief statement did not provide a reason for the firing.
With the move, Chewy founder and activist investor Ryan Cohen was named executive chairman of the video game retailer. Cohen will be responsible for capital allocation and overseeing management.
It came as the company reported a 10% year-over-year decline in net sales for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s net loss improved by 62%.
In an SEC filing, GameStop further added this “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Cohen was revealed as GameStop's largest shareholder when he disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer in 2020. GameStop went on to become a leading name in the meme stock rise of 2021.
Sorel president steps down
Mark Nenow is stepping down as president of the Sorel brand in order to focus on his health.
After rising to the role in 2015, Nenow spearheaded a transformation of Columbia Sportswear-owned Sorel from a men’s workwear brand to a fashion-focused brand that led with a women’s offering of boots, sandals and sneakers.
“Mark led the brand to sales of $347 million in net sales in 2022,” said Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, in a statement. “His leadership has been invaluable to this company, and we wish him the very best.”
Columbia will conduct a search for Nenow’s replacement. Craig Zanon, the company’s SVP of emerging brands, will lead Sorel in the interim.
Beautycounter appoints interim CEO
Beautycounter appointed board member Mindy Mackenzie as interim CEO, succeeding Marc Rey. According to the brand, Rey and the board “mutually decided to transition to a new phase of leadership for Beautycounter.”
McKenzie, a former executive at Carlyle, McKinsey and Jim Beam, will lead the company as it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. Additionally, former Natura & Co CEO Roberto Marques will join Beautycounter’s board as chair.
As part of the transition, Nicole Malozi is also joining the company as chief financial officer. She brings experience from Tatcha, Nike, and DFS Group Limited.
Amazon’s North America fulfillment chief departs
Melissa Nick, a VP of customer fulfillment for North America at Amazon, will leave the company, effective June 16, CNBC reported. Nick joined the company in 2014, and oversaw a region that included nearly 300 fulfillment centers. After doubling its supply chain footprint during the pandemic, Amazon recently reorganized its fulfillment operations to take a regional approach, as opposed to a national model that often resulted in items shipping across the country.
Wayfair’s chief commercial officer to retire
Jon Blotner (Courtesy photo)
Steve Oblak will retire from the role of chief commercial officer at home goods marketplace Wayfair. With the move, Jon Blotner will be promoted to chief commercial officer.
"Steve has served as a critical part of our leadership team and played a pivotal role in Wayfair's growth, helping us grow from a $250 million business when he joined to $12 billion in net revenue today,” said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, in a statement. “He oversaw countless milestones, from helping to launch the Wayfair brand as we brought together hundreds of sites into a single platform, to launching new categories, business lines, and geographies while overseeing our North American and European businesses, to leading our debut into physical retail.”
Blotner previously oversaw exclusive and specialty retail brands, as well as digital media at Wayfair. Before joining the company, he served as president of Gemvara.com prior to its 2016 acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lovesac announces CFO transition
Furniture retailer Lovesac said Donna Dellomo will retire as EVP and CFO, and move to an advisory role, effective June 30. Dellomo was with Lovesac for six years.
Keith Siegner was appointed as the next EVP and CFO. He brings experience as CFO of esports company Vindex, as well as executive roles at Yum! Brands, UBS Securities and Credit Suisse.
Additionally, Jack Krause will retire from the role of chief strategy officer, effective June 30. His responsibilities will be divided between CEO Shawn Nelson and president Mary Fox.
“Since joining Lovesac, Jack has played an instrumental role in transforming the Company into a true omni channel retailer by helping expand our physical touchpoints and digital platform as we continue to disrupt the industry,” said Nelson, in a statement.
NRF adds board members
The National Retail Federation announced the addition of five new board members. They include:
- Marguerite Adzick, founder and CEO, Addison Bay
- Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify
- Ian Kahn, partner, PwC
- Sharon Leite, CEO, Ideal Image
- Carrie Tharp, VP, strategic industries, Google Cloud