6 Indie Beauty Brands To Watch (& Learn From)

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Millennials & Gen Z are buying into beauty in droves, and these six brands are ones to watch as social media catapults them to cult status...

Buzz about new beauty trends moves fast online and on social, where products, looks, and brands can trend quickly. Beauty knows their ad-skipping audience, and leverages Instagrammability and the Influencer Effect to boost their brands. Last year, Ulta Beauty saw sales surge to $5.9 billion from $3.9 billion two years ago, while Sephora’s revenue doubled between 2011 and 2017, according to the Financial Post. Social media has also propelled upstarts and indie brands, who can appeal to young consumers with a well-curated Instagram: Kylie Cosmetics raked in $420 million in 18 months, mostly via organic marketing courtesy of founder Kylie Jenner, while sales of cult favorites like Glossier and Colourpop are up 43%, according to the NPD Group.

This focus on beauty and skincare doesn’t seem to be on its way out anytime soon. In fact, buying makeup is on the list of things that Millennials are actually doing more than Boomers, and when many Gen Z and Millennial women “splurge,” they opt for fashion, beauty, and accessories over entertainment or wellness, according to Adweek. Of course, wellness and self-care play a role in young consumers’ growing skin care obsession—which they were quick to defend when The Outline sent shockwaves through the beauty industry by calling skin care “a scam” in their article: “The Skincare Con.” The social media response was swift as skincare diehards took to Twitter to defend their beloved routines.

In the midst of this booming interest, the following six up-and-coming brands are tapping into young consumers’ beauty obsession (and several other unexpected trends) to turn heads across the industry:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingFLUIDE

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Being famous is overrated. I would be more happy [sic] being locally known for the good I do in the world in a popular way but not for the wrong reasons.”—Female, 16, UT

Minecraft is being used to get kids interested in reading actual, real books. Litcraft recreates the world of a book as an interactive Minecraft map, adding “educational tasks” throughout. Treasure Island was the first completed world, followed by Kensuke's Kingdom, while The Lord of the Flies and Dante’s Inferno are in the works. Trials at U.K. schools are being met with “an enthusiastic response,” so Litcraft is eyeing a larger rollout. (The Guardian)

Nordstrom is stocking up on Instafamous brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation. The company announced that “strategic” brands account for about 40% of their current revenue and that’s expected to rise. While they benefit from indie brands’ popularity with young consumers, the direct-to-consumer brands are getting an expanded physical footprint, too. In the case of Reformation, Nordstrom explains that they “can bring sustainable fashion to a new (and much bigger) group of customers and closets.” (Business Insider)

A baseball team struck out with their “Millennial Night” promotion, putting Twitter in an uproar. We’ve warned brands that making fun of Millennials is not the way to get earn their spending power, and minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits learned the lesson first-hand. Their “Millennial Night” offered participation ribbons, selfie stations, napping areas, and “lots of avocados,” while playing into stereotypes about Millennials being lazy. A Biscuits exec explains that “Something got lost in the sarcasm,” but instead of offering an apology, they doubled down with another cutting tweet. (AdweekInc.)

Nearly half of Millennials think that “their credit scores are holding them back.” OppLoans found that 27% of 18-34-year-olds haven’t been approved for a new car because of their credit while 25% have been declined for an apartment or house. Debt, a top financial concern for Millennials, is partly to blame: 15% said that their debt “is unmanageable.” Education could help dig them out of the hole, as 24% feel they’ve never learned how to build good credit. (Moneyish)

Baby Einstein is growing up for Millennial parents with a new mission and campaign. Their “Ignite a Curious Mind” effort goes after parents, not kids, with short spots that encourage curiosity. They’re also working on new toys, moving beyond their “sweet spot” of zero to 12 months for toddlers. Baby Einstein’s parent company, Kids II is also planning on reworking other brands, like Bright Starts and Ingenuity. (Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[American Eagle Outfitters’] clothes are generally what I wear and are my style. They're comfortable and affordable. They do not do a great deal of vanity sizing and offer something for guys and girls of every size.”—Female, 23, GA

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