Jul 09, 2020 | By Carla Buzasi
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Apr 10, 2019
By Carla Buzasi
In the magazine world, they used to call it the ‘hot book’. The title that everyone wanted to read, to write for, to edit.
The concept doesn’t exist so much today. Magazines don’t sell in large enough quantities to qualify any of them for hot book status. The it-bag, too, has all but disappeared. There are too many bags, too many drops, too many Instagram posts of the new and the next to allow any of them enough airtime to register in the fashion pack’s collective conscious.
There is one industry, however, where it is still possible to achieve staying power.
I am flying to New York today and in front of me, as I sit here typing in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow, there is a shelf neatly stacked with Dr Hauschka skin care products. The sparse but instantly recognisable packaging hasn’t changed since I used to buy the Rose Day Cream from a health food shop next to Highbury & Islington tube station in London in my first year living in the capital. Some 18 years later, the formulation hasn’t changed one bit either.
This is what drives the beauty industry. Its holy grail: the hero product.
It’s not hard to see why. Heroes like Bourjois blusher pots (150+ years of sales and counting), YSL’s Touche Eclat (a hit since the ‘90s supermodels swore by it), and, of course, Chanel No 5 (hero status guaranteed by Marilyn Monroe), are gifts that keep on giving.
As a beauty product developer, if you can crack the code for creating a hero product, something that really makes a difference to the way people feel about themselves, then that cream, shadow or fragrance will sell for decades to come.
Enter WGSN Beauty.
It’s not news that WGSN knows a lot about beauty. We’ve been working with the industry for many years, bringing our forecasting expertise to brands across the trend spectrum. But with our new platform launch we will be going deep into the components of product design for this innovative industry.
It’s my strong belief that the tenets of good product design start with understanding the consumer first and foremost, and from there, ingredients, texture and fragrance, colour and packaging.
We asked executives from the beauty industry what keeps them up at night – and have created a forecasting product to help them sleep better!
WGSN Beauty addresses the big stresses in a beauty product developer’s life. How to know what to invest in today, for a product that won’t see the light of day for years to come? How to create a hero product that will stand the test of time, while not missing out on a hit that’s happening right here, right now? Unicorns, anyone?
Real beauty comes from within, of that I am sure. And our attitudes to beauty have changed exponentially in recent years; identikit faces are not what we strive for. But consumers are also ever more sophisticated and educated about ingredients, all of which provides fresh new challenges and opportunities for this most creative of industries.
One key challenge that came up with every single executive we spoke to was sustainability. As someone whose very first piece of make-up item from The Body Shop, and who still has a tub of cocoa butter tucked away in her bathroom, I am in awe of how Anita Roddick pioneered sustainable ways of creating products way before her time, and it is gratifying to see that this issue is now a priority right across the industry.
To support today’s pioneers who want to ensure that sustainability runs through their ingredients, their packaging and their working practices, WGSN Beauty will be on hand to deliver the latest – and future – innovations across all product components, and also to compile best-in-class case studies from all industries for them to learn from.
Sustainability is, of course, a broad umbrella of topics. On a personal note, I’m just delighted my sister, who was vegan for many years before it became fashionable, finally has a choice of brands and doesn’t rely on me to supply not-particularly-great natural mascaras from the slightly more adventurous health food stores in London. (She can buy them for herself these days from the little Boots on the high street in Stroud where we grew up and she lives with her vegan husband and children.)
The launch of WGSN Beauty isn’t entirely unselfish. I am a product junkie and thank my lucky stars I have a career in which hunting down the new, the next and the innovative is built into the job description. The hero products on my bathroom shelf – Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara, Kiehl’s Musk fragrance, Clinique Clearing Gel (there is nothing that says a spot cream can’t be a hero products!) – nestle alongside new hits like Drew Barrymore’s frankly amazing Light Illusion foundation and, recent favourite, John Frieda Core Restore shampoo – a godsend for my fine hair.
As for my hero products of the future? With all of us, of all ages, spending more money on makeup and skincare, and becoming ever more sophisticated about what we put on our bodies, I have no doubt that the beauty industry will continue to surprise and delight us with new product innovation. The best is yet to come. With a little help from WGSN Beauty, of course.
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