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For a bona fide beauty junkie, there is no end to the search for something new, colorful, or game-changing. But with infinite products to uncover, that hunt can become tiresome and overwhelming. That is why local entrepreneurs Jill Kravetz, Laura Bronner, and Jodi Slater teamed up to develop Gloss48, an e-commerce endeavor and beauty discovery portal based right here in Boston at the PayPal Start Tank offices. The small team has built something big over the course of two years, officially launching out of their beta period earlier this November.
With two executives coming from local salon chain MiniLuxe (Kravetz was the founder), the company's management trio has roots in both the beauty and retail industries, but felt that the typical shopping routine needed to be disrupted. Having stocked indie brands at MiniLuxe during their tenure there, the women wanted to continue sharing off-the-radar beauty must-haves on a larger scale and beyond Massachusetts. With a focus on strong content, there is no shortage of experiential information on Gloss48—and a seven-day promotional price period following each product launch offers an opportunity to try a new item at a discount.
We spoke with co-founder Laura Bronner, who wears multiple hats as both CMO and COO, about her thoughts on the use of video in beauty e-commerce, the decision to go from an offline experience at MiniLuxe to an online one with Gloss48, and the trendy product categories she can't help but notice.
On how the company has enjoyed its shared office space at the Start Tank:
We're surrounded by companies who have been really helpful. It's healthy for us to be around other startups, and the PayPal community is so supportive of us. There's a chocolate drawer, too.
On the business model of introducing new products daily, selling them at a promotional price, and then keeping them on the site at full price:
The goal is to really highlight the brands and their stories so for seven days we offer some sort of promotion value; that's our take on trial. Instead of giving you samples of things you may not be interested in, we let you pick out the thing your interested in and buy it at some sort of discount. We love our brand partners. Part of the reason we keep them on the site is because we create so much content and are excited about the brand. We build a relationship and it makes it easy for us.
On the use of video in the beauty realm and the high earning vloggers:
We're so used to seeing these overly produced videos form the beauty industry, that you know when you see someone doing something authentic and you're more likely to believe them. If you ask women about their last purchase online that they've never tried before, very few of them say they tried the tester in Sephora. A lot will say a friend told them or they read about it. If you can create a video where you replicate the experience of being that woman's friend and talk about it in a real authentic way, it's the best way to sell a beauty product.
Screenshot of Gloss48.com
On how the experience with MiniLuxe shaped the e-commerce decision:
We had a moment where we decided to do something that wasn't brick-and-mortar. It's 24/7. Online is the same way, but you can take care of it in your pajamas with a screaming child in the background. I could not do that at MiniLuxe. We purposefully went online, and the business model made more sense. We always had bath and body products at MiniLuxe that guests had never seen before. We worked with so many brand owners who were having a hard time making it because they used to compete for spots at Sephora and in the last few years, they offered fewer spots. Our beauty brands needed a marketing and distribution channel. The best way to do that was online. Online also allows us to change up our brands on a daily basis.
On how the common experience of motherhood affects the business:
I think there are times where all three of us are pulled to do things related to our children. We have a strong trust in each other that stuff gets done, and it gets done around what you need to do. I don't know how it works in other companies but I've never thought twice about family issues getting in the way of our business. I have a one year old so I appreciate products that are easy to use and cut down my getting ready time. I'm a big fan of the dry shampoo trend.
On the three beauty trends she has noticed through Gloss48:
I think the number one category that keeps surprising me is nails. We see the craziest color, texture, and pattern coming out of nails. Ones that look like silk, a lot of glittery colors that look like those oily stickers we played with as kids. Nails are the one place where even if you dress conservatively, you can let loose.
We're also seeing a lot of very science-based skincare. There's a company called Lift Lab that took technology meant to help preserve transplant organs in transit, and someone decided to sell it as anti-aging skincare. Still they're frequently all natural. The modern consumer is getting a lot smarter and wants a product that works so she's looking for an explanation that makes sense from a credible source. And that the ingredients aren't scary or harmful.
We see loots of very bright lip colors too. I think people are gravitating away from the smoky eye and doing lips. I hope they're not doing both. Pick one.
On what differentiates the Gloss48 experience:
We understand that when we introduce a brand or product that we need to create an emotional connection. Every product has fun and engaging content behind it. We also believe that beauty speak does not have to be pink and soft and feminine. It can be fun and irreverent in the way you talk to your friends, not the way commercials talk to you. Part of the experience is the shopping, the other part is discovering brands you've never heard of before.
· These 6 Products Will Improve Your Travel Beauty Game [Racked Boston]
· Gloss48 [Official Site]