Staying ahead of the revolution

Caroline Neville, President, CEW (UK)

During the last five years we have witnessed an industry-wide revolution, which has had a profound effect on the entire beauty establishment. There have been changes in the way consumers shop for beauty and a change in how new brands are entering the market.

The increased use of social media, and the continued rise and success of e-commerce, has allowed small independent beauty brands, niche enough to launch off and ride the digital wave, to reach market dominance with limited initial investment.

This is being helped by a new breed of digital influencers, who connect with their audience on a more personal level, continuously documenting new products, trends and likes, and generating huge incomes for a brand.

There has been an increase in the use of vlogging to show consumers how to create a look, which is particularly beneficial for make-up brands.

Success will be driven by new skills as what worked in the past will not necessarily predetermine success in the future

We have witnessed a rise in the use of mobile among beauty consumers, often women leading busy lifestyles who want customised services and products tailored to the life they lead. Hair and beauty services can now be delivered to your home or office from an app on your mobile, which is making the services industry sit up and take notice.

The outcome of all this change is that these new ways of engaging with consumers have made traditional retailers and service providers up their game and incorporate value-added services into their offerings, both online and in-store.

Now it’s all about the in-store, in-salon experience offering new services, nutrition infusions and non-invasive services – as well as champagne.

Success will be driven by new skills as what worked in the past will not necessarily predetermine success in the future.

That is why CEW (UK), the most influential global organisation for women (and more recently men) working at executive level within the beauty industry, has had to stay ahead of the curve and lead the conversation around the revolution of the beauty industry.

In September, I celebrated 20 years as president of CEW (UK), a not-for-profit organisation that runs like a for-profit company. Our original remit was to nurture and recognise top female talent within the beauty industry, however today we offer much more. The organisation has evolved and we now have three main pillars – education, recognition and philanthropy – to our work.

Through our programmes, we offer members an industry-wide view of the entire beauty space, educating through our mentoring programmes and business events, supported by a board made up of the top influencers in the beauty industry. They have found a community of women in CEW with shared interests and issues.

You have to remember that when CEW began in the UK in 1992, there were few women in corporate leadership positions and the advancement of women was not on the agenda for discussion, unlike today.

We have also recognised that there are more women in the over-50 set still working. We should value the wisdom, experience and grace they can bring. Tomorrow I will celebrate my 74th birthday. I have no intention of retiring; this word does not figure in my vocabulary. In my opinion all you need are your wits and mobility, and if you are lucky enough to work in the beauty industry, you are in the right place.