With a new management team at the helm of Beautycon (following its acquisition by Essence Ventures in 2021), Pauline Malcolm-Thorntnon, Chief Revenue Officer, Essence Ventures, explained, “Beautycon has moved from an event-only business to an always-on, experiential, content-focused platform that is inclusive of all identities, gender expressions, textures of hair and cultural backgrounds. The goal of Beautycon is to provide a platform that allows everyone to celebrate what they think is beautiful and express themselves creatively through their own lens.”
The event will be hosted by TikTok beauty queen Emira D’Spain and beauty vlogger and activist Nyma Tang, and aims to usher in a new era of beauty as the preeminent global platform for the most influential beauty, fashion, and lifestyle communities. Essence Ventures, a family-run, Black-owned, private equity company chaired and founded by beauty veteran Richelieu Dennis, acquired Beautycon in a foreclosure sale on October 1, 2021. Beautycon had filed for an assignment for the benefit of creditors process (an alternative to bankruptcy) in May 2021. The event made its debut in 2011 in LA by founder Marina Curry, a Black beauty pioneer, as a way for YouTube beauty creators to connect and create content. Under the leadership of Moj Mahdara, Beautycon over the years transformed into a data-driven behemoth with star endorsements and a springboard for catapulting small brands to market success.
This year’s event is open to the public via general admission ($23 per ticket) and VIP tickets (which sold for between $180 and $360 were sold out at press time). Beautycon’s programming will also be live-streamed throughout the weekend via Beautycon.com, Essence.com, and their respective social media handles. Malcolm-Thornton shared, “Thanks to this ‘phygital’ model, all attendees will be able to tune in live to all of the panel discussions and performances in addition to diving into the realm of augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.” She anticipates tens of thousands of attendees across the in-person and virtual experience.
In addition to scheduled performances by Bia and Saucy Santana, Beautycon will also give attendees the opportunity to interface with the founders and CEOs of beauty brands such as Ami Colé, Dieux, and S’able Labs while rubbing elbows with makeup artists, social media stars, and other industry leaders. Among the highlights will be a runway show celebrating the diversity of hair textures and styles. A special fireside chat with award-winning actress, producer and entrepreneur, Marsai Martin, will share her best beauty lessons and offer an exciting look into the new ventures of her brand, Mari by Marsai.
“We’re really trying to reimagine how brands have shown up at Beautycon in the past and bring new light to it,” Malcolm-Thornton said. “Expect to see more interactive experiences that realize the full scope of the beauty landscape.” Among the more than 50 brands setting up shop on the floor are Shea Moisture, Differin, Palmer’s, and Glossier.
A new addition to this year’s Beautycon is Shop Beautycon Live, which is a spin-off of the popular Shop Essence Live that falls under the Essence Communications umbrella. Hosted by Sophia Dennis, each episode will feature product demonstrations, reviews, special discounts and a call-to-action to purchase online.
As Beautycon’s presenting partner, Walmart is sure to increase awareness and visibility for the event. Malcolm-Thorntnon attributes the success of this alliance to shared values and mission, which is to make the beauty industry more equitable and inclusive for all. Malcom-Thornton said, “We’re both about the democratization of beauty which includes making high quality products accessible at affordable prices. Beautycon is doing this from a content perspective and Walmart does this from a product perspective.”
Beyond a physical Walmart footprint, the retailer has created a beauty playground with Walmart Makers Studio, a curated activation space that will give attendees the chance to refresh their look while discovering products and brands. Walmart is also bringing dozens of creators that include both micro- and macro-influencers. The retailer’s presence will be felt in myriad other ways, including integration into the event’s programming throughout the weekend. Also on the schedule is a fireside chat with a surprise guest.
“From dynamic mainstage discussions with some of beauty’s leading and most inspirational founders to shoppable livestreams hosted on-site and on Walmart.com/Live, we’re thrilled to help celebrate and reframe all things beauty,” said Maya Bowie, VP Retail Marketing at Walmart.
Walmart said it aspires to be the most inclusive beauty retailer, from what’s on its store shelves to its digital aisles. “By teaming up with Essence and Beautycon, we hope to create a celebratory space where everyone feels like they can fully embrace and express their whole self – from the inside out. We’re looking forward to a successful event and exploring other meaningful ways to collaborate as we work to empower our customers as they redefine beauty for themselves,” Bowie added.
Malcolm-Thornton said, “The return of Beautycon this weekend is important because it signifies the revival of the brand, and the celebration of content, commerce and community. As both an experiential and content company, we will continue to drive the global conversation around beauty.”