Those who think fashion and beauty don’t go hand in hand need to rethink their entire world view. To kick off its new GLAM beauty area, WWDMAGIC arranged a panel on The Intersection of Fashion Retail and Beauty, featuring beauty influencer and lip artist Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) and WWD West Coast Bureau Chief Marcy Medina. It was moderated by Wendy Bendoni, Professor of Marketing at Woodbury University.
Vlada, decked out artfully torn jeans covered in lip patches, told her original story of coming to America from Kiev, Ukraine, and catching the beauty bug while working at Sephora. After relocating to LA (for a Sephora transfer that ultimately fell through) she started doing lip art just for fun and “meditation,” using herself as a model and her husband as her photographer. Proving that passion and perseverance can prevail over fancy industry contacts, Vlada rose to fame through grit and her unique talent. Today she is Smashbox’s “Lip Editor in Chief” and is increasingly teaming up with retailers for collaborations.
One thing that came out of the panel is how very loyal consumers are to their favorite beauty influencers. Engagement on Vlada’s posts run into the double-digit thousands (and she incredibly responds to a surprising number of them).
Influencers x Retailers
Retailers looking to work with influencers needn’t feel like they have to hire the biggest ones, only to be disappointed to discover they can’t afford them. “Smashbox hired me when I only had 100K followers,” said Vlada, who now has eight times as many at 810K. “They really took a chance on me.”
Retailers also need to think outside the box with their collaborations, both artistically and in scope. British jeweler Carat*London enlisted Vlada’s creativity to pair their jewelry with her lip art; a radical move for a traditional fine jeweler. The collaboration not only engaged Vlada’s loyal millennial following, but positioned CaratLondon as hip and in the know regarding beauty trends.
Thank you so much for sending me this photo @charli__ 😍😍😍 This is @caratlondon store window in Hong Kong. It’s such an amazing feeling to see my work displayed like this. It was such a pleasure working with you @caratlondon! I can’t wait to do more projects together ❤️ Also, big thank you to my wonderful retoucher @lifespotsretouch ❤️❤️❤️ #makeup #beauty #macrobeauty #macrophotography #lipart #metallic #sequinlipart #glitter #caratlondon #jewelry #makeupbyvladamua #photographybyvladamua #vladamua
In true Vlada form, she took the collaboration to the next level. “I didn’t just pair emeralds with green lips or sapphires with blue,” says Vlada. “I really changed the attitude each time depending on the piece of jewelry, color and stone. It was a true artistic interpretation.”
Marcy praised Vlada for being so passionate and real in all her endeavors. “You can tell when an influencer is authentic and has a passion versus an influencer with a whole corporate team behind her posting on her behalf.” Vlada agreed. “When posts come from the brands, it’s obvious that they’re trying to sell product. But when influencers have true passion, that really comes through. It’s real.”
Marcy noted that she recently moderated a panel with Smashbox and Hourglass cosmetics and was asked what type of content resonates the most. “Today, followers and customers want really high-level, elevated art. It’s the image that really sells the product, and it goes a long way to people’s perception of the product.”
Interestingly, Vlada’s art was exhibited at AFA Gallery in New York, proving that the market is ready to view cosmetic art as a true art form. Her Pop Tart lip prints quickly sold out and can now be purchased on her website.
The Fashion/Beauty Connection
As more consumers are attracted to beauty posts, beauty advertising and beauty products, fashion retailers would be wise to partake.
“It’s all about getting that impulse purchase at the cash wrap when consumers are checking out or waiting in line,” says Marcy. “Remember when Anthropologie started adding candles? People didn’t understand why, and now candles are everywhere. Beauty is the next wave in that. Plus, it gives retailers that extra opportunity to recommend product and make a personal connection. Sephora’s tutorials are highly successful.”
Wendy noted that even retailers that don’t sell cosmetics need to closely watch the beauty space closely. “From visuals to DIY tutorials, the beauty world is doing a lot to connect with customers,” says Wendy. “There are a lot of ideas that can be appropriated into other categories.”