Today, Bluemercury is widely recognized as the largest and fastest growing luxury beauty products and retail spa chain in the country, even within a modern, digitally-led economy that’s forcing hundreds of brick & mortar retail stores to close. In February 2015, Macy’s acquired Bluemercury for $210 million.
In 2006, Beck also co-founded M-61 Laboratories, makers of M-61 Skincare, a highly technical, natural cosmeceutical brand. The founder and chief operating officer of Bluemercury, Washington, DC, took time to chat with Happi about the latest skin care trends.
Happi: What qualities do clients look for in products and services they purchase and where do they go to find the latest developments?
BB: The skin care shopper today is looking for quality, convenience, advice and products they can trust. This why more clients are coming to Bluemercury than ever before. We are the friendly neighborhood store and trusted source for all things beauty and spa, where you can get expert honest advice. Our beauty experts are without question the most knowledgeable in the industry. In fact, our beauty experts are so knowledgeable that I call them our "Human Googles" for beauty products. More than 50% of the time a customer comes into Bluemercury looking to solve a skin care problem. Actually, only 25% of the time they are coming in looking for a specific brand or product within that brand. I always tell our teams “I don’t know what beauty products we’ll be selling in the next 10 years, but I know we will be the best in the world at giving beauty advice.”
Who knows more about skin care than Bluemercury? We’ve done more than 10 million facials since our company was founded and we were rated by Oprah Winfrey as one of the best facials in America. We embed ourselves in local communities near where our clients live and work. We become a part of the fabric of their lives, in some cases we act as a substitute upscale drugstore for them. If they are heading out for a black tie and have an emergency blemish they can pop into our spas and we’ll take care of it. Interestingly, 15 years ago, 90% of all luxury skin care was purchased at department stores. By 2014, it was 60% and still sinking. We are seeing a structural shift of client behavior to convenient neighborhood shopping for skincare products.
Happi: What are the hottest trends right now in beauty brands and why?
BB: This is the year of natural beauty. More skin care brands at Bluemercury are adopting healthy initiatives, promising to use only the purest ingredients. It’s been a refreshing industry switch, considering most ingredients listed on the back of a product bottle are difficult to pronounce. The great thing about our skin care section is that it doesn’t carry the same brands as your local drugstore, and we are not overwhelming like some department stores.
I am intensely aware of the customers’ need for natural formulations and have even launched my own skin care brands, M-61 Skincare and Lune+Aster, after noticing a lack of safe ingredients in the beauty realm. Millennials are the largest generation of vegans in history and I think this is a unique turning point for the skin care industry. There’s a critical mass of consumers that are interested in the natural category. That, matched with the increasing number of indie brands that are meeting their needs, led us to offer an extensive selection to match what people are looking for. We’ve been plotting and planning over the last year to figure out what natural means to us. Our conclusion is that it’s just like food – some people are paleo, some gluten free, some vegan. There are so many different combinations, we want to make sure we offer the shopper enough options.
We have such a laser focus on the natural category that our proprietary brands have a list of over 100 ingredients that can’t be in them. We call that our banned ingredient list. Our M-61 PowerGlow Peel is the number one selling product in Bluemercury. It’s so popular, we like to call it our gateway drug. In fact, we sell one PowerGlow Peel every 8 seconds. It is a one-step, one-minute exfoliating glow that everyone should have in their purse, work bag or gym bag. I even keep one in my wallet. We’ve taken this number one PowerGlow formula – which is our secret to glowing skin – and have put it into a moisturizer, eye cream and body butter. It’s a super cocktail of 7 peptides, vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid that blend together to firm, plump the skin and reduce fine lines. It’s a natural proprietary blend to exfoliate, resurface, retexturize your skin and give a healthy, youthful glow.
Happi: Are there any particular ingredients that are big right now?
BB: Peptides are having a big moment. They are amino acids that hydrate, firm and tone the skin. Our fast selling Hydraboost line of products are power-packed with peptides along with other hydrating and plumping ingredients like vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid. We launched M-61 Hydraboost Line Reducer recently and have turbocharged the formula by upping the peptides even further! Another on trend key ingredient is glycolic acid. Clients love our unique and innovative products like our PowerGlow Peel, which uses glycolic and salicylic acid to firm the skin and reduce fine lines – all in 60 seconds. M-61 combines the most cutting edge technology in skin care with dermatologist-loved ingredients in their most concentrated, purest form.
Happi: What are the future trends skin care overall for 2018 and beyond?
BB: We see an increased awareness around wellness, both what you put in and on your body. Consumers are more concerned with the ingredients in their products than ever before and we see the beauty market trending away from chemicals to natural and good-for-you ingredients. That said, we live in an age of instant gratification between social media and on-demand everything. Consumers want skin care with instant results!