Averyl Andrews has worked at Sephora for 10 years, primarily as a Merchant in Color. As a Senior Merchant, Andrews specializes in finding, incubating and growing small brands within the Sephora brand offering. Over the course of her career, Averyl has launched many innovative cosmetic brands at Sephora, including Bite Beauty, Christian Louboutin Beauty, Milk Makeup, Natasha Denona Makeup and curated national trend stories like contouring, highlighting and nude lip. Averyl holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as an MBA from the University of San Francisco and currently resides in San Francisco with her husband.

Q&A with Averyl

1. How did you get into beauty?

I had just graduated and relocated to San Francisco when a friend at Sephora recommended I consider beauty. What set Sephora apart was the entrepreneurial spirit and female leadership. It felt like home.

2. Why do you love indie beauty?

Indie brands are the beauty industry’s version of the American Dream! Supporting emerging brands is a core function of Sephora’s DNA. Indie brands are the authentic risk takers, with palpable gumption, who keep the industry churning with innovation and healthy competition.

3. How can you help indie brands?
Our team works exclusively with indie beauty brands every single day, helping shape their thinking on product, packaging, branding, infrastructure, education, merchandising and finance, among other things. Sephora offers brands a culture that exists nowhere else, our merchants are passionate about the beauty experience, our instore consultants are the most educated and passionate in the business, and given we are a global retailer, we have unparalleled access to learning and thought leadership to help guide the brands through a very exciting industry.

4. If you could give indie brands one piece of advice, what would it be?

One of the most important things we encourage indie brands to cultivate is differentiated product, clear brand DNA and an authentic story. At Sephora, we are the biggest beauty consumers, we advocate for our clients and their needs. That means understanding what a product does differently, how does it fill a void or solve a beauty problem, and why will I want to engage with this brands story or point of view?

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?

Have conviction, but be open to feedback. That’s true for me as a Sephora merchant, and that’s true for the brands I work with. Taking feedback can be difficult for a brand founder, they are invested, but it can often lead to early and effective pivoting. Today’s beauty junkie is highly vocal and highly critical, but she is also super transparent with what she wants (and what will make a brand successful).

6. Favorite motto or inspirational quote.
Interior designer Kelly Wearstler in an interview was asked what her advice was for young designers starting out. Her response is something that I carry with me every day. She responded with, “Train your eye. Whether you’re going to a museum or a flea market or flipping through a book, always be on the lookout for something special.” Observing keeps me engaged, passionate, inspired and helpful.

7. Must-read email, blog, publication?

Social media. I read traditional publications and blogs as well, but there is nothing faster, louder or more relevant than Instagram and YouTube. The client and her desires are always my primary focus.