How to be a social standout: five key tips from the 2017 WWD Digital Beauty Forum

wwd digital beauty forum 2017, jess hatzis, frank bodyBeauty industry leaders gathered on Tuesday in Manhattan for the Women’s Wear Daily Digital Beauty Forum. The February event sets the stage for how brands play in the digital space throughout the year, and this year’s programming highlighted brands who’ve found highly dedicated followings on social media. Presentations from indie standouts Makeup Geek, HudaBeauty, and Frank Body drove home the idea that beauty industry and the tech industry may have a lot more in common than just a love of social sharing.

When it comes to brand building, here are five key takeaways from the forum:

  • Stay as close to your customers as possible.

Never before has it been possible for so many people to feel like they have a close relationship with a brand. Social channels obviously give a direct line of communication between customers and brands and vice versa. As Jess Hatzis of Frank Body pointed out, if you want to know what your customer wants, you can literally just ask them.

With the rise of live video, from Facebook Live and YouTube, you can also reach out to customers and followers directly, casually, and in real time. Marlena Stell, CEO of Makeup Geek, established a YouTube channel three years before launching her makeup line in 2011. She emphasized creating a personal connection with fans through Q&As and live video. (Stell noted in 2016 Makeup Geek’s annual revenue was $22 million.)

While there’s a ton of talk in the beauty world about the rise and power of “influencers,” ultimately brands have to create a dialogue with everyone who interacts with their brand. Mehdi Mehdi of NYX Cosmetics noted that they first started by catering to small communities – they found a niche audience (smaller, highly artistic makeup artists) and developed it. Now Mehdi says to let customers “hack your brand” – show them what your brand can do, and share what those customers create on your brand’s social channels.

  • Get there, fast.

If the beauty world has ever sounded more like the tech world, it may have been when Alessio Rossi of Shiseido explained their team’s new emphasis: test, fail, learn, start again. While this mantra is certainly applicable to social strategies and communication methods, it’s now also being applied to how companies deliver physical product. Both Mila Mendez of Laura Geller Beauty and Natalie Mackey, CEO of Glow Concept, highlighted the importance of speed to market. In Mackey’s case, with the brand Winky Lux, she says their concept to consumer cycle is 45 days. Taking cues from “fast fashion” this method can allow color cosmetics brands to cycle through trends quickly and deliver new, exciting products frequently. This will certainly be an area to watch…

While speed can have rewards, so too can iteration. Cozy Friedman, CEO of the kids’ haircare brand SoCozy, put it best: “You can’t plan a BIG idea – you have a bunch of small ideas, see what works, and then go for it.” Friedman pointed to SoCozy’s #RealMenBraid campaign, which came from the small idea of teaching fathers how to braid their daughter’s hair, and grew into multiple programs, media attention, and ultimately a new product kit containing all the necessary hair tools.

  • Don’t lose your voice.

When it comes to communicating online, through social channels, and at every customer touchpoint, a brand’s voice is what makes it distinctive. As much as possible preserve your voice by keeping things in-house – your company knows your brand best.

  • Create experiences.

It used to be that a product experience meant presentation, product design, packaging, scent – but now it’s about creating something a customer can interact with, and ideally capture in a photo or video – whether it’s unboxing a delivery of your product or entering a brick and mortar store that’s been outfitted with a trend wall of curated user generated content. People want to feel like they’re part of a brand. And, more folks are seeking out brands who have their shared values – whether it’s natural ingredients, a dedication to being cruelty-free, or a fun-loving digital persona.

  • Don’t be afraid of partnerships.

Getting the word out about a brand can be difficult, but thinking creatively about aligning with other companies or events can help create a bigger buzz. Hatzis, of Frank Body, pointed to a December collaboration with Uber in Australia that offered their products for last-minute gift deliveries. You can create a unique experience for the customer, and it doesn’t have to be within the constraints of a retail store or online shop.

 

The conference programming focused heavily on color cosmetics, with a lot of talk of “Gen Z” and more affordable price points. But if there’s any real potential growth area, it may be in tapping into the more challenging sectors of ecommerce and reaching the 40+ customer. Brands that can find creative solutions to reach and engage more customers in a broader demographic will really be the ones to watch.

Valentines 2017 Pin To Win Contest

UPDATE: This contest is now closed.

Enter Merlot’s Valentine’s Pinterest contest!
Here’s how:
1.    Follow Merlot Skin Care on Pinterest
2.    Re-pin the image below and include the hashtag #MerlotValentine
3.    Email a link to your pin

ONE lucky winner will receive a Merlot prize pack — including Merlot Moisturizer and special Valentines’ chocolates.
Winner will be notified by email.

Contest closes February 6, 2017.
Good luck and best wishes!
merlot skin care, pinterest, contest, valentines, giveaway

#MerlotValentine  merlotskincare.com

Beauty Resolutions You Can Keep

The new year often means new resolutions and ambitious goals. Here are four simple things you can do to help make sure you look and feel your best.

woman sunglasses beach skin care beauty resolutions

  • Wash off all your makeup before you go to bed. After a long day or a big night out, it’s tempting to just curl up in bed before giving our face a proper scrub. But fight the urge! Over night our skin loses moisture – and if you couple that with leftover makeup, skin can get really dry and dehydrated – and more likely to show fine lines. Plus nobody wants to wake up with mascara smeared all over their pillowcase.

 

  • Exfoliate.   Once or twice a week take the time to slough off dry and dead skin cells and flush out your pores. Clean, clarified skin has a real glow, free from dirt and oil. Look for a light scrub you can use occasionally and apply by hand, or use a small microdermabrasion brush. Don’t overdo it – just a couple times a month should do the trick to help your skin feel, and look, revived.

 

  • Clean your makeup brushes. Think for a second – how long has it been since you’ve rinsed your eye shadow brush? Make washing your makeup application tools part of your regular routine – it’s recommended most brushes be washed once a week to get rid of germs, oils, dirt, and other particles.

 

  • Don’t forget the sunglasses. UV protection, especially for the delicate skin around our eyes, is a must. There are tons of cool shades out there – so make sure there’s always a pair handy in your purse or bag.

Cheers to a beautiful new year!

Six Tips For A Happy Holiday

happy holidays from the Merlot family

Wishing you and yours a bright holiday season!

This time of year can be challenging for keeping up healthy habits, maintaining energy, and making enough time for ourselves.

Here are a few tips to help bring some health and wellness to your holidays:

Make some time to stretch. Getting out of bed on a cold morning can be tough, but engaging in a few easy stretches after you wake up can help warm up your muscles. Stretching can also help prevent injury and improve stability — definitely beneficial when you’re rushing around getting last minute gifts!

Keep your hairstyling routine simple. Even for a holiday party, a sleek pony tail or bun can look really elegant — and helps save time getting ready. For a little sparkle, add a small headband.

headband, holiday hairstyle

 

Grab a cup of (green) tea. When it’s cold outside, a warm drink does wonders. Green tea is high in antioxidants and can help improve blood flow.

Give a gift that benefits a good cause. There’s an abundance of companies using their sales to give back in some way. (Check out places like Ten Thousand Villages for home goods, or One Hope for wine — they even have a Merlot!) It feels good to give a gift, and it’s an added bonus to pay it forward.

Sign up for a fun run or walk. If the weather’s not too cold, join a friend or family member for some outdoor exercise. Catch up and connect while doing right by your body. The runner’s high is usually worth it.

running

Write a thank you note. Have a co-worker that you couldn’t do your job without? Or a friend who has gone the extra mile? Hand writing a note is a simple way to collect your thoughts and tell someone how much you care. The act of gratitude with make you feel good too!

Fall Favorite: Chocolate Pecan Pie

We’re big fans of healthy living and healthy eating, and try to keep it up during the holidays, but every once in a while you need a sweet treat.

This chocolate pecan pie recipe is always a big hit for Thanksgiving Dinner (and other holidays too!)  Merlot Skin Care’s founder Wayne Beckley shares his classic recipe.

chocolate pecan pie

Wayne’s Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients:
2 cups pecans
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 bag mini chocolate chips
*pre-made pie crust

Bake pie crust according to directions until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool slightly.

Turn oven to 375 degrees.

Cover the bottom of the baked pie crust with a layer of mini chocolate chips (about 1/4″ thick).

In a medium bowl stir together corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix in pecans.  Pour mixture over the chocolate chip-lined crust.

Put pie on a baking sheet and insert into 375 degree oven.  Bake about 60 minutes, checking occasionally and rotating.  Remove from oven when mostly set.  Filling will firm as it cools.  Do not over-bake.  Let cool before cutting and serving.

*You can make your own pie crust, though we usually keep it simple with a frozen pre-made one.  (Don’t judge us!)

 

 

Photo credit: @joefoodie via Visualhunt / CC BY

Halloween 2016 Pin To Win Contest

UPDATE:  THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Enter Merlot’s Halloween Pinterest contest!

Here’s how:

  1. Follow Merlot Skin Care on Pinterest
  2. Re-pin the image below and include the hashtag #MerlotHalloween
  3. Email a link to your pin

ONE lucky winner will receive the pictured items — including First Crush 3-in-1 Blemish/Acne Treatment, a festive test tube party favor set, and a decorative “Trick or Treat” sign.

Winner will be notified by email.

Good luck and best wishes!

first-crush-halloween_16-v2

3 Quick Steps To Long-Lasting Lip Color

If you want to get the most out of your lip color, use these three easy steps in your morning beauty routine.

  • Apply a thin layer of moisturizer over your lips. (Obviously we love to use Merlot Moisturizer for this, since it’s lightweight and non-oily.)

mnlipsminhand

  • Smooth on a small amount of foundation. If you wear foundation or concealer on other areas of your face, just add on to your lips after moisturizing. The concealer creates a drier texture, so moisturizing is important to keep your lips hydrated.

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  • Gently apply your favorite lip color. Foundation helps the color stick and last longer, meaning fewer applications throughout the day.

So easy!

lipstickLipstick_Kiss_Red_Tidbits_Freebie

 

First Glance At Merlot’s New Look

In celebration of Merlot Skin Care’s 15-year anniversary, we’re giving the brand a fresh new look!

Working with the Austin, TX firm Well + Done Design, we created a design that utilizes our signature purple color, emphasizes clean lines, and compliments our message of positive, natural beauty.

 

merlot eye cream, grape seed, skin caremerlot moisturizer, grape seed skin care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you’ll like it! Keep an eye out for the new look to be shipping soon…

 

Plus, we’re very excited to announce that some (long-awaited, highly demanded) TRAVEL SIZES will soon be available for Merlot Moisturizer and Moonlight Radiance Night Cream. Perfect for tossing in your bag and taking on-the-go.

merlot skin care

(Merlot Day & Night Travel Set – coming soon!)

 

Fathers and Daughters and Business and Sports: A Brief Personal History

wayne beckley, merlot skin care

When people find out that I work for my family’s business, their initial reaction often takes the form of this question: “What’s it like to work with your family?”

To be completely honest it’s hard to think of a time when I wasn’t working with my family.

Shortly after I was born my dad, Wayne Beckley, debuted Kolor Key — the first car wax in colors. He set out to solve a problem – white residue left from heavy waxes – and he experimented in our kitchen and garage, before setting up shop in a warehouse in east El Paso. Many of my elementary school memories involve riding on a pallet jack through the warehouse, or making playhouses out of cardboard boxes meant for shipping product.

At home it wasn’t unusual for my dad to announce, “we’re going to have a brainstorming session!” He’d give my brother and myself pencils and pads of paper and ask us to generate ideas — for products, for taglines, for advertisements. If we came up with an idea for a new product his first reaction would be, “how could we market that?” It didn’t occur to me that this might not be typical family conversation.

business ideas

Some very early product ideas

By the time I was in middle and high school, my dad had turned his attention to health and wellness. He’d completely re-made his diet, embracing a Mediterranean way of dining – emphasis on good fats, olive oil, and eating lean or almost no red meat. His interest in the benefits of red wine would ultimately lead him to starting Merlot Skin Care. But while he was in the early stages of thinking about what would become the company our family now runs, most of our time together was spent playing golf.

My dad had never played golf before he went to college, but when he discovered the game and its challenges — pin placement, the slope of the green, trees — he was hooked. For my brother and me, as soon as we could confidently walk as toddlers, we were taken to the driving range, and by middle school I was spending summers playing tournaments in west Texas and New Mexico on the Sun Country junior tour. There were never a lot of girls out there, so I’d often play with guys, the 100+ degree July heat beating down on everyone equally.

We didn’t belong to a country club, and the equipment we had was old or donated or bought at a discount – playing golf wasn’t a fancy thing, but it was a regular thing. Nearly every Sunday afternoon we’d go to the range to practice – challenging each other to chipping competitions and betting on who could sink their putts. My dad’s love for the challenge of the game – always questing to be better, or do better – kept us coming back. For me, it was the best way to spend time together. It gave us something to talk about, and to do, and to try to figure out together.

wayne beckley, golf

Talking about golf with The El Paso Times in 1998

When I went away to college my clubs mostly stayed in storage, but my dad would call occasionally to say, “I’ve discovered the secret to golf! Over-rotating your hips!” or “Pausing at the top of the swing!” or “Speeding up the follow-through!” There was always some new secret that was helping to improve his game.

I didn’t anticipate then that these conversations would someday give way to more business-focused ones as Merlot Skin Care developed. (For a while we spoke mostly in airport codes — “I’ll meet you at DFW and we’ll go to ORD, after the meeting I’ll fly to LAX and then back to SFO” — coordinating travel for business meetings.) I didn’t anticipate that we’d be strategizing about product development in Shanghai or giving brand presentations in Tokyo. But those early years, trekking through sand traps and navigating narrow fairways, helped build our bond.

Now my dad and I talk almost every day – almost always about work, sometimes about life, often about sports. What’s it like to work with my family? Umm, normal? Or at least far better than par for the course.

 

Nicole Beckley is the marketing & media director for Merlot Skin Care.

Experiencing The China Beauty Expo

Last week hundreds of beauty companies flocked to Shanghai for the China Beauty Expo. Billed as the premiere beauty business event in Asia, the three-day Expo brought together some 1200 brands from over 20 countries. Held at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center, a sprawling facility that includes over 650,000 square feet of exhibition space, companies from around the globe gathered to show off new beauty tools, ingredients, services, treatments, and packaging.

Throughout the 15 exhibit halls there was a dizzying array of spectacles — muscular shirtless men hawking product samples, brand ambassadors giving neck massages, orchestrated fashion show-type events to demonstrate new makeup, booth workers dressed as cosplay-like characters — all vying for the attention of potential distributors, buyers, and shoppers.IMG_1902models

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New technology was on display, from medical-type treatments to steam removal for nail polish and motorized nail sculpting (think of a dremmel tool for your nails).

nail app

3-D printed nail art with an app for design selection

medical

Woman receiving a facial sonogram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memebox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Korea’s Memebox, showcasing a collection by PONY, the influential beauty guru. The South Korean company has Y-Combinator connections and a San Francisco office, with a strategy that targets social media influencers for deep collaborations.

cupping

Cupping demonstrations

 

Expecting some half a million visitors, the Expo also stood as an opportunity for brands looking to expand and grow in the robust Chinese market. As cultural customs give preference to cultivating more personal relationships and conducting business face-to-face, the event helps facilitate personalized interactions.

CBE-show2

Product experiences from Merlot Skin Care

 

The Expo reinforced a number of industry trends including the utilization of aloe as a signature ingredient, the strength of the natural beauty category, and the undeniable role of social media in building authentic brand awareness and partnering with online personalities to cater to a specific audience.

The prevalence of WeChat in China makes social shopping (social media + ecommerce) a more seamless experience — an integration that hasn’t fully hit the U.S., but it’s just a matter of time…  Here’s looking to CBE 2017.