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Moda Operandi launches beauty

The ecommerce platform is adding a complementary category to its flagship fashion, with content and curation to power it.

Moda Operandi launches beauty

Moda moves into beauty. (Courtesy photo)

Moda Operandi made its name as a destination for fashion. Now, it’s adding a new category.

The news: Moda Operandi launched sales of beauty products on the platform this week. It makes good on plans shared in May, as Moda Operandi became one of a number of platforms to move into beauty, including fellow luxury platform Farfetch. At the time, it hired Jessica Matlin, the former beauty director at Harper’s Bazaar and cohost of the Fat Mascara podcast, to lead the new division.

What will be available? Moda is featuring 55 skincare, fragrance, makeup, haircare, and body care brands at launch. It aims to include a range of emerging and established brands.

Experience magnified: Along with the brands themselves, the platform plans to leverage strengths including curation, as well as relationships in the fashion industry to create content such as shoppable tutorials and skincare routines. It will also bring an editorial outlook with the aim of becoming a beauty destination.

Key quote from Matlin highlights the curation aspect: “There are so many beautiful products in the world—and as a former magazine editor, I have seen, tried, and written about thousands of them. But now, as Moda’s Beauty Director, I have the privilege of handpicking only the very best. If you’re familiar with Moda, you’ll know we’re all about curation. Whether fashion, fine jewelry, home, or beauty—at Moda, we don’t carry everything. We carry the best of everything. I don’t want to spend hours in an endless scroll. The glut of products and lines is overwhelming for everyone, even a beauty director. Too much of a good thing is, in fact, too much.”

What does this mean for Moda Operandi? A new category is a milestone moment. Moda launched with trunkshows in 2011, and has since expanded from fashion to include accessories, home and jewelry. Still, it’s also an extension that feels right. Fashion and beauty tend to go hand in hand. CEO Jim Gold called it a “natural next step.” It will also help the business grow more deeply with existing customers and reach new shoppers, executives believe.

“The launch of this category will not only increase order frequency and the cart size of existing clients, but also help us reach a new, aspirational customer demographic that shares our appreciation for impeccable curation and storytelling,” said Gold, in a statement.

Why now? It helps that beauty products saw growth in 2022 amid the return to in-person experiences. It’s also a category that tends to have resilience in tougher economic times. Beauty products tend to be an “affordable luxury” that people will still splurge on – in part to give themselves a pick-me-up – even if they aren't making big ticket purchases. In the 2001 recession, this observation led former Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder to coin the idea of the “lipstick index” to describe how beauty sales tend to go up, even as the economy goes down. A pullback for the economy can still be a time for an emerging business to grow.

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