Make Up For Ever relaunched during pandemic – WWD


PARIS – Make Up For Ever took a risk and it pays off.

The cosmetics brand belonging to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has successfully launched its relaunch during the coronavirus crisis with new innovations, a reworked retail concept and a digital push.

Her Rouge Artist lipstick was slated for release in May 2020, then her debut was postponed until September 2020.

“Almost no brand was launching hair color products, especially lipstick, at the time,” said Gabrielle Rodriguez, CEO of Make Up For Ever. “[But] people still need to have a little fun, even if they are locked up, and especially after six months already of the pandemic. So we got that extra exposure because of it.

The semi-mat product was a worldwide success from its launch, she continued. This, together with a new brand platform and new communication, has enabled the brand to gain market share in all geographies, especially China and the rest of Asia, as well as in the Middle-East.

Yet the past year has been tough for all color brands, including Make Up For Ever, in large part because people are housebound and wear masks.

Rodriguez said that by the end of 2020, sales of the selective color cosmetics market had declined by 30% to 35% globally, while sales of perfumes were close to stable and skincare sales of the skin increased slightly.

“We have done better than the market,” Rodriguez said. “Today, we are almost back to the situation of 2019.”

The executive did not discuss sales figures, but according to industry sources, Make Up For Ever generates annual retail revenues of over $ 400 million.

A key element in the relaunch of the brand has been to implement a collective creative vision.

“It was so important to make sure it was a reality, because this is Dany Sanz’s story – she worked like that, surrounded by her friends, makeup artists from all over the world,” Rodriguez said, referring to Make Up The founder of For Ever.

The brand was reorganized in mid-2020 and 40 to 50 makeup artists from its pool of nearly 2,000 were involved in product ideation, formula evaluation and co-development of the range of shades, between further steps for products for women and men around the world.

The pros at Make Up For Ever are working on foundations for darker skin due to release in early 2022, for example.

They also focus on translating professional color cosmetics routines into routines that are easily usable by anyone.

Products with a skincare component have long been important to the brand. Just before the pandemic, she launched the Reboot multi-use foundation, with moisturizing properties. This was introduced at Sephora in the US in February 2020 and it immediately became one of the top selling foundations there.

Make Up For Ever has also increased the eco-design of its packaging and its formula. Last March, he launched Watertone, for example, with 94% ingredients of natural origin. The foundation’s mono-material cap is made from recycled glass.

Watertone is touted as ultra-strong, transfer-free, good for the skin and with a fresh finish. It is designed with consumers in mind who would otherwise have avoided using a high coverage foundation.

“The first results are very promising,” said Rodriguez.

Make Up For Ever has a number of long-lasting (mask-compatible) products in its portfolio, including Aqua Resist Makeup and Mist and Fix Makeup Setting Spray.

“We’re even more demanding than before when it comes to any kind of wear,” Rodriguez said, checking off features like resistance to sweat, transfer and moisture.

The digital switchover of consumers has been notable for Make Up For Ever. More than 35% of its sales are made online today, up from around 25% before the pandemic, according to industry sources.

“The brand was naturally very digital,” said Rodriguez, adding that its online growth had exceeded that of the online market over the past six months.

Digital tools, such as the shade detector and virtual try-on, have helped. The first allows people to find their shade of foundation, also suggesting a lighter and a darker one. He uses AI by tapping into the skin tones of 90,000 people and the contributions of the brand’s makeup artists. Since the launch of Shade Finder in May 2020 worldwide, Make Up For Ever has increased the conversion rate of testers to buyers by five and sometimes by ten.

The virtual try-on is for color cosmetics, such as Rouge Artist and Aqua pencils.

“We are working on the tools of the future,” Rodriguez said.

At the same time, Make Up For Ever is focusing on a new retail concept, as it continues to capitalize on the importance of brick and mortar. At the beginning of February, it opened its first door reflecting the new model in the IFC shopping center in Shanghai.

Inside Shanghai IFC Mall
Courtesy of Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever has always had black and red in its color codes and opted with the redesign to play on red, which Rodriguez described as “very feminine and sophisticated”.

There are also more stories here, including the central ‘red box’, where launches are highlighted, and the catalogs of products designed as makeup bags lining the walls. One is “mastering the art of complexion”.

A service table is used to test products and get advice from makeup artists, and there is another consultation area.

The 430-square-foot store saw sales growth of nearly 10% in the first few weeks after opening, even as other makeup sellers in the area struggled.

“We could really see a drastic impact from the new retail concept that we should roll out in the years to come,” Rodriguez said.

By the end of 2021, at least 35% of the estimated 3,000 Make Up For Ever sites are expected to have the new concept in place. By the end of 2022, this level is expected to reach 50%.

There’s a redesigned outer packaging set to launch in early 2022. And yet, it all goes back to the brand’s roots.

“We still maintain the idea of ​​collective spirit, a high level of energy, great nervousness, but [remain] close to people – and fun, ”Rodriguez said.

Make Up For Ever, for example, uses livestreaming. Not too long ago, French influencer Karina Vigier and one of the brand’s makeup artists live-streamed a discussion about the best way for 40-year-olds to use colorful cosmetics.

“It’s a fantastic time to interact with our customers,” said Rodriguez. “We recruit new clients after each live broadcast [session]. And this is exactly the kind of format where we can express our passion for education.

Ditto for Instagram.

Meanwhile, the innovation of new products continues to accelerate; the brand launched in the first half of this year products such as Step 1 and Aqua Brows primers.

UHD Setting Powder – along with one of the finest powders on the market – is doing very well, ranking # 1 in the Middle East during Ramadan, for example, according to Rodriguez.

Face is by far the biggest category in Make Up For Ever, but it’s looking to expand into makeup again, with Rouge Artist Shine next September.


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