Getting into Sephora – the world’s largest beauty retailer – could mean a major sales boost and brand recognition. One of its major decision-makers is Priya Venkatesh, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for Skincare and Hair. In her 14-year tenure, Sephora’s Skin and Hair business has grown dramatically, and includes a robust brand portfolio of indie, emerging, clean and classic brands. Priya has developed and executed many successful initiatives, including the launch of “Clean at Sephora,” a new category that provides a clear point of view on the clean beauty category; Skin IQ, an instore skincare solutions diagnostic tool; national skin care services, and introduced a range of high performing brands including Algenist, Boscia, Bumble and bumble, Dr. Jart, Drunk Elephant, Dyson, Farmacy, GlamGlow, Living Proof, Olaplex, Summer Fridays and Sunday Riley.
Priya will be speaking at CEW’s upcoming event, Wellness in the Beauty Space, at the Jonathan Club – Downtown LA in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday March 14. She will be joined by Erin Cotter, SVP, Beauty, goop; Walter Faulstroh, CEO, HUM Nutrition Inc. and Shrankhla Holecek, CEO,UMA. The panelists will be discussing how wellness is driving innovation in the beauty category for retail, product creation and marketing. A cocktails networking session kicks off at 6 p.m, followed by the program at 7 p.m. To register to attend the event, click here.
Below, Priya found time to talk to with Beauty Insider for our 5 Minutes With… feature.
Beauty Insider: How is Sephora incorporating the wellness movement into its beauty aisles?
Priya Venkatesh: In addition to exploring brands and trends on Sephora.com, some of our stores feature dedicated fixtures that highlight a curated selection of our top brands within the category. The fixture itself speaks to the product offering, light sustainable wood, spacious and bright which stands out amongst our sleek black fixtures. You can also find a wellness with the “heart” of our skincare area in stores, at our Sephora Favorites wall. Overall, we want to help our clients to think about the category as an extension to her skincare routine or solutions. For example, if a client is looking for product to help with her acne, we will recommend great skincare solutions as well as pair with a supplement that will help support her beauty goals from the inside out.
BI: Which brands are you seeing as leading the way?
PV: We are truly excited about several key brands because they have a unique assortment and strong point of view on the top wellness concerns coming from our Sephora clients. There’s Hum Nutrition, which has an approachable take on supplements/multi vitamins; Moon Juice, which is lifestyle focused on adaptogens that combat stress; Beauty Chef, a brand that utilizes fermentation and pre-probiotics focused on gut health; Vital Proteins, which offers everything collagen, a key component of skin health; Four Sigmatic, which uses functional mushrooms and herbs in easy-to-drink offerings; and Welleco, plant-based elixirs that help the body alkalize and give energy.
BI: What are your predictions for how wellness will impact beauty in the next three years?
PV: Beauty and wellness will continue to fuse, customers will understand that internal health is an important part of their self-care and beauty routine. People will understand the importance of good gut health, stress management and sleep to beauty and their health. Certain ingredients like CBD, mushrooms/adaptogens and probiotics will become common household fixtures.
BI: What ingredients are trending?
PV: There’s cannabis; we only know two of the 113 compounds of this powerful plant. I believe there will be more to come here, especially around the endocannabinoid system. And, probiotics and ingredients that improve gut health will be big as they impact on our skin.
BI: What product is your favorite wellness product and why?
PV: Lord Jones Body Lotion to relieve tense muscles and aching feet.
BI: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
PV: You can fail at plenty as long as you get the important things right.
BI: Greatest accomplishment so far?
PV: Building a strong merchant team and fostering great female founders and brands.
BI: Biggest mistake you’ve made?
PV: Not listening to my gut and jumping on a trend that was not right for us, for example, colored hair extensions.
BI: What’s a mantra you live by?
PV: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
BI: If you were to write the note found in a fortune cookie, what would it say?
PV: It is amazing how much good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.