Coffee N5 - Kelly Kovack

Episode 120 – Coffee N5 – From Concept to Launch: Building a Successful Brand with Kelly Kovack

In this episode of Coffee N° 5, we sit down with the one and only Kelly Kovack, founder of BeautyMatter and accomplished advisor and creative strategist. With her expertise in the beauty industry and vast knowledge of today’s digital landscape, Kelly shares her invaluable insight on navigating the journey to launching a successful business.

We’ll talk about:

  • Hosting a distinct event
  • Networking in the beauty industry
  • Having a strategy when building a brand
  • 2023 predictions for the beauty industry

For more information, follow BeautyMatter on Instagram or visit the website.

Follow our host Lara Schmoisman on social media:

Instagram: @laraschmoisman

Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

LinkedIn: @laraschmoisman

Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

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Lara Schmoisman  00:05

This is coffee number five. I’m your host flourish Wiseman. It’s all about you and I want you to succeed. Download today my free masterclass three ways to stand out from the crowd in the digital world. Sign up for free today. Hello there. Welcome back to coffee number five. Today I’m thinking about theory. And when I think of our theory, I think about all those magazines that I was consuming since I was a real girl, and that I wanted to have all the makeup and all that makeup and that glitter. And I have to say that at some point I did go over overboard of the amount of makeup I put on myself, it took like, many, many years to understand what was the makeup for me, which is very minimal today on what will work for me just to maintain everyday because this may come to yourself. It’s a lot of work. And let me tell you another secret that when you’re aging early, you need a little more makeup to pick it up. But anyway, later in time, I was getting into the beauty industry from the other side from the marketing side. And I realized that there were not only those beautiful glittery magazines. Also there were trade magazines, that there were people in the industry who really knew what they were doing. And we’re making predictions. And actually the brands worry listening to them. So today I want to invite and I’m so happy she said yes, Kelly Kovak. She is the editor in chief of beauty matters. And welcome, Kelly.

Kelly Kovack  01:48

Thank you,

Lara Schmoisman  01:50

I have to ask, how did you beat on that matter started because the trademark the same is something like a really high level, you really need to know your staff.

Kelly Kovack  02:00

Well, honestly, it was a little bit of an accident. Well, I don’t know that it wasn’t an accident, it was an idea that I had, I spent the majority of my career on the brand side, and specifically in the independent brand arena. So my first my first job in beauty was at Bliss. Many, many moons ago, I started the catalog division with Marcia. And so

Lara Schmoisman  02:32

that was I want to call my head when you say catalog because I know loves a war and the same thing like today you input in the computer, it was a lot of work. It was

Kelly Kovack  02:43

a lot of work. And it was, you know, it’s it. You know, it’s a little strange to say it but it was incredibly disruptive at that time because it was sort of pre II calm. And it we developed an entirely new distribution channel. Because at that point, I came from the fashion industry. So I didn’t know any better. I love this

Lara Schmoisman  03:09

because my background also is in fashion. And I’ve been talking lately with so many people that they have fashion background, and they get into beauty industry by accident. And he has much to do one of the other there’s so many connections.

Kelly Kovack  03:24

Yeah, but you know, at that time, Beauty was sold in brick and mortar retail. And that was sort of it. And, you know, Marcia had had this, she was part of a cult product round up in vogue that had three products Krembil American Herzog White, a combi and some bone marrow cream. And we always used to say like that Vogue placement was the placement that built bliss. And so she knew the power of print and had this idea of doing a beauty catalog. None of us knew how to do it, but we just you know, we were in our 20s So you just go off and do it. So that was in 1996 We got told no a lot. And then in 1999, the the spa and the catalog and the we had launched the product brand as well, were acquired by LVMH. And so that was how I got into beauty, which was also sort of an accident. And then I’ve had various incarnations of of service businesses, so kind of concept to counter shops, strategy shops. I had one. One Agency that turned into a design agency, which is a horrible business model for two people who are not graphic designers. But we won lots of fancy awards and and started a couple brands of my own along the way, kind of self funded them into oblivion. But they were big looks bigger than they were at the time. And also sort of during that period, was the first vice president or part of the first leadership team, really, for Dr. Dennis gross skincare. Um, so that was about 18 years ago when sort of Dr. brands were just emerging. But the majority of my career has been sort of starting brands, advising brands, kind of startups and cleanups, like to say, and starting and working with, with entrepreneurs, investors, and then some very large apparel companies like, like the gapping company, to, to kind of integrate beauty into their assortment. So definitely not a very linear career. But at some point, I started building brands differently. And I started thinking about brands as as publishing platforms. People looked at me like I had 10 heads when I was talking about it, which fast forward now, it’s like every brand needs to believe me.

Lara Schmoisman  06:17

There are a lot of people who still look at me, kind of pricey when I talk to them and say, We need to think omni channel, you can just not think that b2c Or you cannot say things such as retail, you need to be everywhere.

Kelly Kovack  06:33

Yeah. And you know, at some point, I, you know, I’ve I don’t come from big beauty. So I also didn’t come from big budget. So I never had the luxury of throwing money at a problem. I always had to be scrappy, at how we were launching brands and, and really making a statement for me very often was taking risks creatively, either through the language, or using design. And, you know, during that time, people started asking me to write, and so I couldn’t say no, because I needed to market the business. But it was really painful. You know, it would take me take me days to write 500 words. But something resonated. And so I kept doing it. And people asked me where I got my ideas from, and it was never from the beauty trades. This was about 15 years ago. So the beauty trade landscape has changed dramatically. But 15 years ago, it was really just women’s wear. Yep. And sort of the the trades that were very sort of specific to usually a category. And they they really sort of focused on kind of deeper in the supply chain. And when I saw business, a fashion launch when Enron launched that, which was about 15 years ago, it’s like, Why does nothing like this exist in beauty, like it’s so brilliant, so fresh. And I couldn’t get it out of my head, like, I’m not a tech person. It’s not like I was gonna throw up a website and figure it out. And it really for about, I would say, for about six years, it just rattled around in my head. But I had no way of validating the business. It was just a gut instinct that I think there’s a business to build here. Not sure what it is. And I found two people came to me from an agency that kind of wanted out of the big agency world. I needed their sort of digital expertise, but I hired them with the caveat of helping me build beauty matter.

Lara Schmoisman  08:48

I understand where you’re coming from, I wanted out of the big agencies true. And that’s what I created my agency.

Kelly Kovack  08:56

And you know, so we kind of had a plan A and a plan B. Plan A was, I think there’s a business to build here. We’ll figure it out. Plan B is no one cares, and we’ll use it for marketing. So we set out and built it. We launched it, you know, we were I think pre beauty matter. I was really a little obsessed with perfection. And John Caffarelli, who’s now our COO is a good friend and he sat Hey, we were having breakfast. He’s like, when are you launching this thing? And I told him that’s not quite right. And he and he remember so clearly. He told me he’s like you have to launch with an ugly baby Kelly. It’s tech like it evolves. Oh, I was I was the best advice. And you know, I was like, Yeah, but we’ve met don’t really do ugly babies, right? I’m not like I’m not 24 years old. I can’t like if I’m going to do this. It has to be done right. But I listened to him. And four weeks later we kind of pulled the plug and and beauty matter went into the world. We sent our first newsletter, and my inbox was inundated. So you know it, I realized that Yeah, I think I’m onto something still not sure what it is. And I’m too, I didn’t really have a plan. So for about three years, I just did it on the side, I was lucky enough to have enough business with consulting, that, you know, there was a little extra money every every month to keep this running. And we figured out whether people were just being nice to us, or if there was something really there and what that was and why there was something there. Yeah. And why people were making the comparisons that were. And I knew at some point, I would focus on it and build a business around it. I didn’t really have a plan for when that was. But it was about six months pre pandemic, that John Caffarelli came on board as the CFO, and helped me sort of build a strategy around like, how do we turn this semblance of a community that’s super sticky into a business. And so I really feel like, you know, there was kind of the pre beauty matter. And then beauty matter as it is today, which is sort of a proper business. But that’s how it happened. It was, it was an idea that actually turned into a business,

Lara Schmoisman  11:25

I have to say, I’ve been into many beauty events, and this year, you have to be reminded, and as well, which I really, really enjoyed. It was really well done. And it was intimate. And also it was really industry, I feel like the people that they were invited to be part of that they really felt very comfortable talking to anyone. And I remember that you said at the beginning, the only thing that we asked you today is to talk to someone you don’t know. And, and also, I met amazing people they are that I keep connecting and with the promise that we’re going to have coffee, so we always receive are in different different cities. But anyway, I was able to get a lot of guests on the podcast and interview. But I have to say it was really, I feel like in a lot of events, beauty events today. And I don’t know, if you notice this, there is a huge gap, you have the investor side that they will never invest in those tiny little brands. And I met all these people that coming that they said I have a brand new idea. They don’t even have a product, they don’t have a prototype. So it’s like those two extremes, they don’t match. So there is a huge gap in the middle.

Kelly Kovack  12:44

There is but you know, little brands and ideas turn into big brands, not all of them. But you know, for us. For us, our community is, you know, when we launched beauty matter, it was really to represent the entire ecosystem. So brands, brands and retailers, the investment community, and then the entire supply side. So anyone that’s providing a good or service to a brand or retailer is sort of that spoke of of our community. You know, I have a new have a new healthy respect for events. A lot of work. Wow, I had no idea. I mean, in the middle of it at some point, I was like my god, like what have we gotten ourselves into.

Lara Schmoisman  13:36

But it became the talk of the year in the Veera industry, I have to say

Kelly Kovack  13:39

that, well, you know, we really didn’t want to just show up with another event. Because you know, there right now, there are a lot of great people on the b2b side publishing content. I think everyone kind of has their niche. And there’s a lot of great content being created. And there are a lot of events happening as well. So we decided if we were going to show up with an event, it needed to be distinctly ours. But we’ve also been going to events for decades. And so we literally deconstructed the event experience and we’re like, okay, where are all the pain points? And how can we solve them? So not waiting in line having even though I had to fight tooth and nail with our event planner, who said I didn’t need two bars. I was like, but I want two bars. I don’t want people waiting in line for

Lara Schmoisman  14:31

Oh my god. Your coffee machine was a dream I became I became best friend with it with the lady she knew what I wanted the right.

Kelly Kovack  14:42

People, you know, it’s like people are for us. It’s like we we don’t take it for granted. Like people can spend their time and money with lots of people. So if they’re going to choose to spend the day with us, we wanted it to be meaningful. So, you know all of our content is you cannot by your way onto a panel, the content at the end of the day is what drives the entire event for us. You know, little things like food, why does food have to be bad at conferences? It doesn’t.

Lara Schmoisman  15:15

But also the fact that it was one day was compressed, and I have to say, I had a really rough time to save from a and rhombi sometimes, because I wanted to be everywhere. But then one day is over, sometimes when events are many days, for me, it’s hard to take those days for work of work.

Kelly Kovack  15:36

Yeah, you know, we’re I mean, we’re gonna do three events, in 2023. So we have a partnership with the British beauty council. So our first event, we did one at the end of the year, in London, so we’re doing another event in February, and then we’ll have an event in in April, in New York, and then we’ll do the event in in LA in October this year. But, you know, you mentioned that at a lot of these events, there’s very tiny brands and investors and sort of the cheque size doesn’t match the the money so to speak. You know, I think that, you know, we’re our event in New York is really focused on kind of closing that gap a little bit. And, you know, I think that we’ve spent a lot of time talking to investors, asking them, you know, what do you want out of an event. And for everyone, it was sort of meaningful, meaningful opportunities to network. So this year, we’re going to add a level of technology to our events, well, it’s not going to be anything crazy, it just gives visibility to who’s in the room, because it’s very hard to network if you don’t know who’s in the room. So it’ll give visibility to who’s in the room and at a bare minimum, and the opportunity to get in touch with them via messaging of some sort. So we’ve really sort of, we’re doubling down on our idea of keeping these small and intimate, having surprises and in terms of activation, focusing on feeding people good food. And so that it’s also not only a time for it’s a time for people to sort of have fun and learn expand their ideas outside the beauty industry. And you know, we’ll do it in cities where the bulk of our community is based at this point.

Lara Schmoisman  17:40

What I really like a volunteer event is that everyone was the industry. I didn’t feel like anyone that I was it was there. I can go on and talk shop. And everybody was using the same names and, and terminologies. So everyone felt comfortable for comfortable of even saying, oh, yeah, take my cell phone number and call me whatever, because they knew that because the people that were there were brought by you guys. So they were somehow clear. So they were really industry. And

Kelly Kovack  18:17

you I mean, one of the things one of one of the things we did we also set up a grant program. And Lubrizol helped us fund that because, listen, we’ve all been there when you’re in a start up, like, listen, budgets are limited for for anyone, but when you’re self funding something, you know, spending $1,000 on a ticket to go to a conference isn’t an option. And those events are incredibly expensive to put on. So we invited Lubrizol brought eight people there, we gifted another 15 tickets. Because we felt that it was important that like, how can you talk about the future beauty if the potential future beauty can’t attend the event because of financial reasons. So I think

Lara Schmoisman  19:08

scholarships are great, and to provide that, but also, I believe that there are some brands that white yet cannot benefit. Because they are not ready. And the only thing that you’re gonna do is if you go to those places, you get those connections, you’re gonna get burned. In regards,

Kelly Kovack  19:29

it’s true, but I think Listen, we’ve, I mean, I remember I remember when I was doing the bliss catalog, I had no idea what I had no idea what I was doing. None of us did. And I used to go to direct mail events. And people would look at me like I was absolutely from another planet because they’re like, Well, you don’t have product on the page. Or you don’t have product on the cover. How can you you’re not going to sell anything. You know, you’re not even thinking about like products. per square inch. And, you know, so we were doing something totally different. Yeah. So I’ve been that person. And I think, you know, I think you don’t you if you’re not exposed to the information, you can’t gain the information.

Lara Schmoisman  20:15

Absolutely. But there, I feel like there are stages. And like, for example, you get into your reading industry, you need personal to understand and not just a wish of having a product, what in paddles to have a product, what are the steps that you need to have a product, you cannot go and ask for finance or talk to investors. And sometimes it’s great to have those contacts, but you can burn relationships to, to jump ship too fast.

Kelly Kovack  20:43

No, that you’re absolutely right. I think, you know, unfortunately, I think there’s a narrative that’s been happening in the beauty industry. That, listen, the bar to entry for launching a beauty brand has never been lower. It’s very easy to throw up a website to wrap some labels on a product and you’re in business. But I mean, in my 25 years, it’s also been never been more expensive to launch.

Lara Schmoisman  21:12

Yes, because right now we have all the issues with shipping manufacturing.

Kelly Kovack  21:18

Yeah, not only that just competing period, you know, like, the couple brands I launched, I launched in Barney’s. We were self funded, it was possible to launch a self funded brand today to compete at Alta or Sephora or a Target or Walmart. I mean, you’re talking about, you’re talking about a lot of money to really succeed. But that being said, I think that there’s often the brands that they’re also brands that are successful in a different way, right, raising a ton of money at some insane valuation has become sort of some metric of success. But there’s a complete other success for listen, if you can launch a beauty brand, and you’ve off of that revenue, you can pay your mortgage and send your kids to college. That success.

Lara Schmoisman  22:12

Gotcha. Either the dancing,

Kelly Kovack  22:14

yeah. You know, and there are a lot of people who, you know, maybe they have a brand that does a million dollars, and it, they can live off of that. And

Lara Schmoisman  22:27

as long as your product cost distribution marketing doesn’t cost you more than that. You’re fine. Yeah.

Kelly Kovack  22:33

I mean, there’s lots of ways to distribute products. So I mean, listen, I think that I think there has been this formula, which is launch a brand raise money, choose your retailer of choice scale, raise more money and hope for a strategic exit. But that’s not the only path to launching a brand.

Lara Schmoisman  22:55

And also the industry is changing a little bit in that regard. Because when there are a lot of big brands now that they can absorb that your product, but then your product can disappear too, because they absorb it under your brand. So there are risks that you will be taking, and whatever path you need to go, I have two questions for you actually, what’s going on with influencer actors on everyone having their beauty line?

Kelly Kovack  23:23

Listen, I mean, you know, I know there’s been there are a lot of people who feel like, there’s not a place in the beauty industry for them. And those people should invest in their brands, rather than launching their own brands. I’m of the mindset of, listen, if you I don’t care if you’re an influencer or a celebrity, you have sort of a leg up in some respect, you probably have easier access to capital, you have ostensibly a community that you can leverage. But beyond that, it’s still really hard to build a business.

Lara Schmoisman  24:04

And also, you need to be quality products, because you might be selling ones. And if it’s not quality, and it doesn’t resolve an issue for someone or a problem that they they’re not gonna buy it again.

Kelly Kovack  24:16

Yeah, I mean, I think the having quality products is sort of if you don’t have that you don’t have a business. But I also think that you also have to build a brand. And so listen, I think anyone who wants to, you know, throw their hat in the ring. We’re supposed to be inclusive, so why not right. But I do think that there is going to be, there’s going to be sort of this calling that happens. It happened during the last recession. There are a lot of brands that have no reason to exist. There was a lot of free money around it was pretty easy. And now you know it’s more more difficult. And so I think creators are I think creators are an they’re not going anywhere. I mean, my eight year old niece has these two favorite influencers, and all she wanted for Christmas was their merch. So that tells you something like the hardest.

Lara Schmoisman  25:17

Absolutely. And also, let’s think about traditional brands like Chanel, Chanel always had one person who was the face of Chanel, that we identify the, the brand. And so we’ve been using influencers to sell products for years. Now, having someone who creates your own brand good for them is business, it’s a business decision and use using their own persona. Again, to me, it’s about the quality of the product, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as we’re not. They sell products, that they’re actually helping other people.

Kelly Kovack  25:54

I mean, for me, it goes beyond the product. So, you know, I’ve been approached by a lot of people who they’re like, do you want to get involved in this brand? It’s x and x celebrity. And my first question is, are they funding it? And they’re like, No, we have to give them a million dollars. I’m like, I’m out.

Lara Schmoisman  26:11

Well, I’m I mean, I don’t wasn’t even going, like, I don’t want to be part of that side of the business. If I will do something, I will invest in my own thing. But to me, if an influencer a celebrity, whoever you want to call it, they create a line to resolve a problem, a beauty line to me need to be addressing issues a problem a solution to to someone, I’m not just a pretty label, as much as I love marketing, and I think it’s so important to look great.

Kelly Kovack  26:44

Yeah, I mean, you know, I think at the end of the day, there are some celebrity brands that are incredibly compelling. You know, there have been celebrity brands are not new, you know, sure, there are, were sort of faces of brands, but there are also celebrities that have that have built brands and have been quite successful. So, you know, I think this, I think it was a bit of a trend. A little bit like we saw all these indie brands launch, because it seemed like just show up and you know, a strategic is going to, you know, build it, and they will come with a billion dollar check. But that is not the reality. So I think we’re going to, um, celebrity side, I think we’re gonna see a lot of them shut down very quickly. And the ones that have built real brands with great product offerings, you know, they’ll be here for the long haul. Well,

Lara Schmoisman  27:46

well, so there was a trade, you mentioned it, like a few years ago, when you were working with a doctor was one of the first brands, Dr. Brands, but then at some point, there was a trend of doctors white labeling. I’m creating based on white lay work, right, putting pieces together with their, their man.

Kelly Kovack  28:08

Yeah, that’s always been around. Yeah. That’s always been around. And it’s, you know, it’s kind of deep in that professional doctor channel. And there are manufacturers that that support that business. By the way, some of those products are very good. You know, it’s just it’s white labeled. So, you know, there’s different ways to get into the business, but selling product and building a brand are, are kind of fundamentally different things.

Lara Schmoisman  28:39

Absolutely. Okay, predictions for 2023.

Kelly Kovack  28:45

To hard won this year, you know, I think that I think 2023 is going to be a tough year. You know, kind of going into, you know, this year, there’s been a lot of talk about the beauty industry, you know, how resilient the beauty industry is, and it’s recession proof, it’s definitely not recession proof. It is definitely more resilient than a lot of categories. But I don’t think we’ve really felt the impact of it yet, because we’re kind of off the high of the holiday season. But when you have people saying that, you know, they are they’re having a hard time, you know, paying their grocery bills and their heating bills and gas. Like it, there’s it’s a trickle down, it’s going to impact beauty in some way. And I think also, the access to capital has gotten expensive. So there’s a lot more due diligence that’s happening. The valuations have come down. So for brands that have not the brands that don’t have a runway, or haven’t raised enough money To get them through the next 18 months, I think it’s going to be, I think it’s going to be all about kind of getting through a maintaining growth and kind of a realistic way. Some of the categories that I’m excited about, I’m really excited about what’s happening in the clean beauty space. Only in that, like, we’ve created a mass for ourselves, that this whole clean beauty concept is something that the beauty industry created. We then sort of, in our effort to differentiate ourselves, started creating kind of these different variations of beauty of of clean beauty or different definitions of clean beauty. And then the retailer stepped in to try and add a level of I don’t I mean structure to it. I mean, obviously, it was opportunistic as well, because it was a way for, for people to shop. So now you have, you know, every retailer that has a standard as a different clean standard. You know, we saw our first big lawsuit happened around clean claims. Before we went into holiday, Congress pushed through some regulation, first regulations since 1938. in Beauty, which, it doesn’t really change anything, most big beauty brands are already doing this. But the the FCC is also updating their standards around Ico marketing. So there’s a little bit of regulation happening, but we’ve also seen consumer pushback. So it is the these this monster of a category that has been created with very little substantiation and, and no sort of homogenized understanding of what it is, I think there’s going to be a big shake up. I mean, you know, deciem, came out with an anti clean product having sulfates.

Lara Schmoisman  32:10

There also, I mean, there’s a whole new category that it this year, I feel like finally, it really hit into the beauty market, which is sexual wellness.

Kelly Kovack  32:21

Yeah, I mean, sexual wellness, for sure. But you know, I was I worked with a brand I got it was a long time ago called Jimmy Jane, that was a sexual wellness brand. There were way too early. But I think sexual Well, sexual wellness is an is an interesting category, because retailers have started adopting it. But at the end of the day, I think the brands that are going to win are going to be the ones that look and act like personal care brands at the end of the day. It because all of these brands have raised money, so there has to be a path to an exit. And there hasn’t there really hasn’t been a big one yet. So I feel

Lara Schmoisman  33:09

how do you feel about sexual wellness being kind of a category inside the beauty industry that now even Sephora carries? Some?

Kelly Kovack  33:19

I think it is I think it has been a long time coming. I think if we have other wellness categories, and we are were servicing sort of wellness or even I mean their brands even talking about mental wellness now, you know in food, food dragon mass sexual wellness has always been part of sort of the extended beauty assortment.

Lara Schmoisman  33:46

But it was that the part that talks about?

Kelly Kovack  33:49

Yeah, the one that no one talks about? So I would argue that it has been a really I honestly, I’m shocked it’s taken this long. But I think it absolutely belongs sort of in the beauty assortment.

Lara Schmoisman  34:03

Yeah, I have to tell you started my first client with agency was with sexual wellness. Oh my God, it was tough. Because there’s so many things that he cannot do. You just need to find voice around it. It’s not impossible. But I mean, recently opened up so much. And it was like oh my god. Now it’s so easy.

Kelly Kovack  34:25

When I mean when I was working with Jimmy Jane, like the beauty magazines would not say vibrator they wouldn’t photograph a vibrator. All they would photograph was their massage candle. So, you know, they were trying to come up with clever names. And I’m like, No, it is what it is. So we’ve come a really long way in the category, just kind of normalizing the conversation. And I think you could say that around a lot of care around a lot of sort of female wellness categories. periods care, menopause, fertility. All of those are at the end of the day, sort of female health and wellness categories that had sort of stigma attached to them. Okay,

Lara Schmoisman  35:15

one last question before we go, if you will have to define each one of the generations, let’s start with baby boomers with X, Gen, etc, etc. It’s going to alpha, what you the product they care about? How can we reach to them?

Kelly Kovack  35:39

You know, I I know, that’s how we usually talk about consumers. I think that I think sort of talking about consumers in generations is a little antiquated because I think that there, I think there are people have different lifestyles. You know, I live in New York City, my lifestyle is very different than my cousin that lives an hour and a half away. So I find it hard to sort of pigeonhole people by generations. But what I will say is that I think, I think the the Gen X consumer is overlooked right now. Maybe it’s because that is my generation. But But Gen X consumers are not boomers. It and I think that the beauty industry is kind of is missing a huge opportunity, because you mentioned, as you get older, you have to wear a little bit more makeup, skin changes. And you know, right now everyone is talking to Gen X through this lens of menopause. And I’m like, Yes, complete with menopause. But moving on, right. It’s

Lara Schmoisman  36:52

a minutes past right now. Thanks to a lot of science out there on product, you can get through it.

Kelly Kovack  36:59

Yes. So I think that there’s a huge opportunity for kind of speaking to if if brands unlock Gen X and how, how this Gen X consumer is approached as approaching getting older, then I think it will flow because Millennials are right behind them. So I do think that there is I think there is an opportunity, everyone is focused from not saying anti aging, and whatever, that’s marketing semantics, the end of the day, we get old, we get to choose how we want to go through that aging process. So I think there are brands that need to show up to this Gen X consumer sort of in the way they live their life. And I know there are a lot of people talking about it, but no one’s really sort of cracked it yet. I think millennials it’s interesting. I mean, if you if you use glossier, which was the quintessential millennial brand, you know, it hasn’t really aged with the consumer, millennials are getting married, having kids like their lives have changed. And, you know, I think there’s a lot of similarities. Oddly enough, between Millennials sort of the the older, end of that cohort and Gen X. I think Gen Z is fascinating. A fascinating kind of demographic cohort, because they are truly the first digitally native cohort, their income incredibly like the way they process information is

Lara Schmoisman  38:41

unbelievably different that my kids are their Gen. Z, and they anything I tell them, they wouldn’t go look it up. Yeah, even ingredients before for me an ingredient was something that did not before I got into the industry, the doctor will tell me you said Don’t you try these ingredients that it will be good. Okay. I will question.

Kelly Kovack  39:04

Yeah, no, they’re incredibly inquisitive. And I mean, I think, I think the the funny thing, though, is, you know, they’re always just looking for the answer, rather than sort of trying to arrive at the answer themselves. So sort of how they process information is very different. But I think their commitment, their commitment to brands that stand for something and values, like that’s not going to go away. I think that’s sort of here to stay in a very profound way. But yeah, it’s, it is an interesting generation and generation Alpha. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of conversation around the metaverse like generation alpha is already in the metaverse. they socialize in the metaverse through gaming. So you know,

Lara Schmoisman  39:56

I think it’s very different how they interact is the for how they have relationship with people,

Kelly Kovack  40:03

yeah. But I honestly think that brands that have the ability to build cross generational teams are the ones that are going to win. Because of this, I just don’t think these sort of, you know, dividing consumers through sort of age groups, we just don’t live that way anymore.

Lara Schmoisman  40:28

I agree with you 100%. to do is, for me, targeting is not only about the generation that you belong, it’s about your lifestyle, or your geolocation. There are so many factors, and it’s all schools just to be targeting people in my generation, because we’re really different. Even I, I have to say, like, for example, I grew up in Argentina, in the 80s, that we weren’t able to listen to a music in English. So for me, the music that was 80s in the States was 90s. For me. Yeah. So I am not part of that generation, but by age, I am. Yeah.

Kelly Kovack  41:15

So no, it’s very good that at the end of the day, consumers are not numbers, there’s people behind, you know, we’ve become so obsessed with capturing data and analyzing data. But at the end of the day, there’s people behind those numbers. And people often ask about, you know, predictions. And when I look at these, these trend predictions that are solely based on data, they feel off to me, because I’m like, why don’t you go spend a couple hours on the sales floor, if you really want to know what’s trending, or go speak to a beauty advisor, because at the end of the day, were in an industry that is based on people. So you have to have those

Lara Schmoisman  41:59

conversations, and like you said before, is a lot of time about your gut feeling. And feeling is that experience that you had the over so many years when things like sometimes I tell my team, this will happen. And it happened, because when they are done that I know that it will happen, and there is no data to tell me that it will happen. But things

Kelly Kovack  42:22

you know. Yeah. And that’s that that is where sort of, you know, when people people are so obsessed with data now, and I’m like, but how do you? How do you have that runaway success? Because we’re all looking at the same data. So

Lara Schmoisman  42:40

we’re looking at that at that. But also you need to know how to learn it.

Kelly Kovack  42:46

Yeah, so I always use the data as a gut check. Like if I could find enough data points, they may be deep, deep, you know, kind of in what’s trending. I use data more as a gut check. I mean, for our business, obviously, we use data differently. But from from a trend perspective, I think that there are so many brilliant trend forecasters. And I feel like they’ve been pushed aside at the moment. And been replaced by like Google Analytics. And there is there is that intangible quality of a human being connecting information in a way that that makes a prediction of something.

Lara Schmoisman  43:31

And that’s something that I talk to my clients all the time because anyone can have Google Analytics, it’s easy to get it. It’s easy to freedom, but it’s not easy to understand and to understand what created each one of those factors and what happened without that knowledge. For them. The analytics is the same. Now, yeah,

Kelly Kovack  43:51

yeah. Yeah. To be an interesting 2023. I’m excited.

Lara Schmoisman  43:56

I’m excited to Well, we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll check again in a few months, and we’ll see where we’re standing. Sounds good. Okay, Kelly, thank you so much for being here. I really enjoy. I mean, everyone knows that this podcast went much longer than usual. But I didn’t even realize I love talking to you. I’m sorry. Okay, until you guys, I will see you next week with more coffee number five. I find everything you need at Laroche, Morris Or in the Episode Notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. We’re so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao ciao.


Episode 75

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Episode 149

With Vera Koch

Dive into the world of performance-based marketing and the art of brand-building through customer feedback with Vera Koch from Happy Head

Episode 1

With Melissa Cassera

Melissa Cassera is a Publicity Strategist and Screenwriter with a deep love for caffeine that has helped hundreds of businesses to build audiences that are obsessed with them.

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