Features

‘Miles’ A Minute

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | March 5, 2014

TSG Consumer Partners’ Diane Miles—a former CEO of Perricone MD and Benefit Cosmetics—discusses lessons learned in the fast-paced beauty business

There’s been a lot of change in the beauty industry since Diane Miles stepped off a plane from London arriving in the US some 13 years ago to serve as marketing director for luxury brand Christian Dior.

Just think of the retail landscape alone.

“I was surprised by how department stores dominated the prestige beauty industry, but how limited the shopping experience was,” she told Happi in a phone interview last month.

Today, prestige beauty retail has changed significantly. Sure, women still visit the department store counter, but in 2014, they are just as likely to shop from the comfort of their couches thanks to QVC and HSN, on their laptops and mobile devices, and in open-sell environments like Sephora.

Miles, who has more than 25 years of experience in building skin care and cosmetic brands, has been at the helm of many companies that have made their mark in the beauty sector. Today she is an operating partner at investment firm TSG Consumer Partners. She serves as an advisor to the beauty brands in TSG’s portfolio—Alterna, IT Cosmetics, Kenra and Sexy Hair, among others.

The Miles’ resume also includes serving as CEO of Perricone MD (another TSG investment) and Benefit Cosmetics, and president of Bare Escentuals.

“All three of these brands have taught me how to grow a beauty business fast and gain market share,” said Miles. “When working with private equity, like at Perricone and Bare Escentuals, it is extremely important to focus on both the top and bottom lines. Many organizations, particularly larger ones, prioritize gaining market share, but when working in private equity, it is essential to also focus on profit and cash flow.”

According to Miles, there are two key aspects to success in the beauty business: building a great team and placing an emphasis on product development and innovation.

“You need to have the right people beside you, and in an increasingly competitive industry, you can never spend enough time on innovation,” she said.

Miles—who pointed to R&D-driven advances like gel formulations in color cosmetics and the evolution of silicone technology in hair care—places a premium on innovation.

“In beauty in particular, my experience has been unless you can innovate with 15-20% of business coming from new technology or new launches, it is very easy to lose market share.”

The British native suggests that companies get behind hero SKUs.

“Focus on one big idea or one big product,” she said. “That big idea will be your differentiator.”

But according to Miles, “many start-ups or beauty leaders don’t think about their point of differentiation, and in a very crowded environment it is critical to stand out. Think about what makes your product different: is it how you market it? The product itself? The channel in which it is sold? Find out and use it to answer the age-old question: why should consumers buy it?”

This is an issue even in the hottest sector of the beauty world: anti-aging.

“There are so many different products all claiming the same thing. The fragmentation of the anti-aging market is making it almost impossible for consumers to wade through,” according to Miles, who sees an opportunity for a smart company that can “demystify” the cluttered category.

“There is room for a company who can attack that in a simple way that is really credible,” she said.

For Miles, success in the beauty business comes from more than sound strategy alone.

“My biggest lesson has been that it is not just about strategy, it’s also about execution and it is necessary to balance both,” she said. “Many CEOs are great strategists but they don’t spend enough time making sure execution is impeccable. I’ve strived to place equal emphasis on both.”
  • Fit for Fitness

    Fit for Fitness

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 21, 2017
    Kinx Active is a new brand targeting women who want beauty products that can stand up to their fitness routines.

  • Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 13, 2017
    Cargo Cosmetics has rolled out its new Spring/Summer collection with Hawiianan singer Anuhea.

  • Cashing In on Coconuts

    Cashing In on Coconuts

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||February 6, 2017
    Organic to Green is making waves for its new oils and eco-friendly packaging.

  • Trade Association Directory 2017

    February 2, 2017
    Contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in Happi.

  • What the Halal  Is Going On?

    What the Halal Is Going On?

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||February 2, 2017
    Demand for these beauty products is surging thanks to a fastgrowing Muslim population.

  • Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Guadalupe Pellon and Annette Mehling , BASF||February 2, 2017
    BASF researchers detail the attributes of the company’s highly effective hair care system focusing on scalp sensitivity.

  • What’s in Style?

    What’s in Style?

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    The latest sprays, gels, mousses, serums and creams for hair are filled with luxury components and meet a variety of needs

  • Defining Clean Skin

    Defining Clean Skin

    Nava Dayan PhD, Dr. Nava Dayan LLC||February 1, 2017
    A look at the issues, research and history surrounding this controversial topic.

  • Linked In

    Linked In

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    Through virtual reality, apps and connected devices, beauty and personal care brands can strengthen their customer relations

  • Hitting the Right Notes

    Hitting the Right Notes

    January 6, 2017
    Agilex Fragrances is the leader in the middle market fragrance category.

  • The Smell of Clean in 2017

    The Smell of Clean in 2017

    January 6, 2017
    Changing consumer lifestyles and demographics are impacting the scents found in the household cleaning category.

  • On the Edge

    On the Edge

    January 6, 2017
    Expanding beauty brands to watch in 2017

  • A New Contender?

    A New Contender?

    January 6, 2017
    Detergent sales are up, innovation continues and Henkel is determined to make it a dogfight in the segment.

  • Engagement 2016

    Engagement 2016

    January 6, 2017
    CSPA convenes in Fort Lauderdale for annual meeting.

  • Slow & Steady

    Slow & Steady

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    In a tumultuous environment, steady gains posted in the industrial and institutional cleaning sector are welcomed.

  • The World Comes to Orlando

    The World Comes to Orlando

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    More than 1,600 chemists traveled to Florida for the IFSCC Congress

  • The Plex Phenomenon

    The Plex Phenomenon

    Denise Costrini, Croda North America||December 1, 2016
    Croda details the hair-protecting qualities of bond multipliers and the company’s new bond-building formulation system.

  • New Hair Care Ingredients

    December 1, 2016
    Check out the latest releases from suppliers.

  • Hair & Now

    Hair & Now

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor ||December 1, 2016
    The shampoo and conditioner category is expanding with modern takes on these classic formulations.

  • Perform or Perish

    Perform or Perish

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 1, 2016
    Success in today’s skin care sector begins with active ingredients, formulated in products that address modern-day issues.

  • Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Daniel Greenberg, Agilex Fragrances||November 2, 2016
    Fragrance disclosure is a potentially dangerous issue.

  • New and Noteworthy:  Fine Fragrance Roundup  for Fall 2016

    New and Noteworthy: Fine Fragrance Roundup for Fall 2016

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Check out the latest launches in fragrance this season.

  • Soap Opera

    Soap Opera

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    FDA’s recent antibacterial ruling has soap sector stakeholders scrambling to keep some ingredients in their formulation kit.

  • New Ingredients for  Household Cleaners

    New Ingredients for Household Cleaners

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    Here are ingredients introduced by suppliers during the past 12 months.

  • Clean It Up

    Clean It Up

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    The home care industry takes a hard look at itself and the changing world it competes in.

  • A-Okay!

    A-Okay!

    Imogen Matthews, For In-Cosmetics||November 2, 2016
    K-Beauty influences cosmetic development around the world.

  • Shine On

    Shine On

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Oral care products are rising to the task with innovative components.

  • Next Gen  Antiseptics

    Next Gen Antiseptics

    Emily Kalal and Katherine S. Maka, RITA Corporation||November 2, 2016
    RITA researchers detail the benefits of 0.75% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antiseptic handwash