When Amber Fillerup Clark, influencer and founder of hair care brand Dae Hair, began looking for a president for the two-year-old brand, she sought candidates for other beauty brands. Her investors wanted someone who could think strategically and be flexible when it came to growth, hoping to avoid the unsustainable trap of burning too fast and too fast that numerous direct-to-consumer brands have fallen into.
Eventually, that thought made her realize that she wanted someone who looked at beauty through a more unconventional lens, and she hired Jenny Son, who was head of private equity at marketing agency WPromote – and had never worked for a brand. of beauty first.
“When [Clark] she was following that traditional path, she was like, ‘No, there’s someone else out there,’ “Son said.” She needed someone who was outside that form of beauty to … really look at this brand. and being able to climb in a non-traditional way of beauty “.
The hiring of Son is something of a response to the major changes taking place in the beauty industry, which is embracing e-commerce and new distribution channels in a context of greater mergers and acquisitions. With these changes, beauty brands are creating unknown positions including director of digital, head of growth and chief brand officer, to remain competitive.
To fill these roles, brands often bring talent out of the industry and shape their executive positions to reflect a more digital, technology-dependent and competitive space, as well as prioritizing values such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
“There seems to be more of a preference for someone outside the industry who can, from a different point of view, help diversify how [brands] they are doing things, ”said Lisa Butkus, head of the retail and luxury goods practice at research firm Hanold Associates.
The great positions beauty brands are hiring for
Beauty brands today are looking to hire “handyman strategists” who can maintain a high-level view of the business and have a fundamental understanding of all of its segments, says David Schneidman, director, Alvarez & Marsal Consumer Retail Group.
To meet this need, brands respond by taking on roles such as Chief Brand Officer or Head of Growth, who can see product, merchandising, marketing, or sales topics.
But there are skills that are particularly in demand. The demand for ecommerce experts is still high and salaries have increased accordingly, said Edouard Thoumyre, managing partner of Accur Recruiting Services. Lindsay Stevens, a partner at retail-focused executive search firm Kirk Palmer Associates, added that brands are asking for talents with experience working with Amazon and subscription models, in particular, as they aim to build customer loyalty. The brands also hope to strengthen their operations in terms of sustainability and diversity, as well as data and analytics, to create more personalized experiences for consumers.
“We have so much data. How can you actually leverage this data in a more structured way to target your primary consumer? ”Schneidman said.
In the midst of an active environment of mergers and acquisitions, brand experts are also in demand, said Audrey Depraeter-Montacel, Head of Beauty at Accenture, especially as prospective buyers think beyond finances and headcount efficiency in prime time. stages of the acquisition process.
A common thread in Maude’s sexual wellness brand hiring strategy is to find people with solid experience building brand, such as those with experience in direct-to-consumer brands like Everlane and Warby Parker, founder Éva Goicochea said.
“That [approach] it’s very different from trying to build hyper-growing brands that really focus only on selling products, ”said Goicochea.
For companies that have been acquired, conglomerates and larger funds are also pushing to hire HR employees with experience in mergers and acquisitions who can “help with business integration on the cultural side,” Butkus said. This comes as founders are becoming more demanding about the environment their brand will enter and whether it will grow with respect to its values.
“If you lose those people, you lose some of the value of the acquisition, so keeping the people and talent is key,” said Audrey.
Where does the best beauty talent come from
Brands today must have a balance between beauty experts, who know the industry inside and out, and “functional experts” who leverage new technologies, understand analytics, product development, e-commerce, and manage acquisitions and partnership, according to Schneidman.
“Looking outside the beauty industry gives you a competitive edge to bring the best of the best,” said Savannah Sachs, CEO of Tula Beauty. She added that most of the company’s digital team don’t have a beauty background.
Within the industry, there has been a shift, Thoumyre said. Smaller brands used to snatch their C-suite from the middle management of large conglomerates like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal. Now, it’s not that simple. Experience in the category isn’t much of a requirement, and Thoumyre said he recruits primarily for transferable skills.
The beauty experience still has value. Digital native brands like Tula and Maude are focusing on brick and mortar. Having just joined the retailer, Maude said her next hiring will be someone who has led a brand through the Sephora strategy. After a fundraiser last year, she hired a wholesale industry expert from Diptyque and Byredo.
“It was imperative that someone came from that world … The world of beauty and how to navigate it is essentially where we are going and where we are,” said Goicochea.
Brands have also begun to entrench diversity considerations when hiring, instead of keeping it exclusive for a C-Suite or consultant role, Stevens said. Today, nearly all employers want to see a diverse set of job applicants, compared to only half a few years ago, Butkus said.
“Bringing different talents to the table is something that has become an expectation and a fact,” said Stevens.
In a way, it’s another avenue for companies to prioritize long-term brand-building efforts. People want to buy from brands that represent their values and look to who the brands are hiring and how they treat them, says Butkus.
What talent wants from beauty
Furthermore, values such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion are not only beneficial for business, but are crucial in capturing talent.
“Talent is only interested in brands that have those values shared with them,” said Stevens.
The reality of today’s job market, where the workforce has found itself at an advantage, makes it even more difficult for companies to attract and retain the best talent. This is especially true of senior roles for which it was already difficult to recruit, Thoumyre said.
Some will not consider positions that lack flexibility in the workplace, and Thoumyre noted that candidates are more attentive to the specific skills they can learn in each position, thinking about their prospects down the line.
Brands are making changes accordingly. Anita Ryan of Ulta Beauty, who will be promoted to head of human resources in April, said the “war for talent” ranks first for the year to come. Ulta Beauty is doubling down on what she calls “skills building” to retain talent and recruit from sectors outside of retail, especially technology.
Additionally, Ulta Beauty no longer requires employees to work from its Chicago base, which has significantly expanded its recruiting pool. Tula, which was acquired by P&G in January, has done the same thing and is working on creating new hybrid options. Sachs said adapting to remote work is a key factor in bringing more talent into the company, especially from other industries.
“There is still room for interruption,” Butkus said. “A lot of brands that are hiring right now want the kind of talent that can navigate and activate it.”