Recently we were lucky to attend media giant Sheerluxue’s annual Entrepreneurs’ Day event, where female entrepreneurs and brand leaders from all over the globe explored what it takes to make a sucessful business.
In all, it was a really interesting day where Sheerluxe has leveraged its own network to have a whole host of women speaking – everyone from Kristina Karlsson – of the stationary empire Kikki K, to Sarah Lynn – the 2017 winner of The Apprentice.
Authenticity, experimentation and an open-door policy were heralded as key goals by leaders in beauty, technology and retail. Here we reveal what the day was like and explore the event’s lessons for future female business owners; such as how to achieve cult status, where digital drives expert selling, and why brands need to rethink the term ‘influencers’.
So what was it like?
The event included talks from business women such as Noella Gabriel, Jo Malone and Emilia Wickstead and aimed to bring together a network of like-minded women, connecting young creators with other female mentors. But with t hat being said, the event was definitely not like your normal business conference. For a start, the event space was filled with incredibly dressed women, making it feel more like a fashion show than a stuffy conferance and the talks themselves were extremely varied. From topics, you wouldn’t necessarily align with business and starting your own company, to people promoting their own books, to interviews by Sheerluxe’s founder Georgie Coleridge Cole where fellow businesswomen described their lives and inspiration.
The attendees too were a real mix – from established entrepreneurs to fashion bloggers obsessed with Sheerluxe’s fashion content, to women with business ideas who had flown in from all around the world to attend.
What did we learn?
For any current (or future) businesswoman out there, here we reveal the three most important lessons from Sheerluxe’s Entrepreneurs Day.
Consumer/Creator Focus: As both new and established brands find success with strategies that incorporate the ideas of their fans, savvy businesses are highlighting the value of bringing consumers into the fold. “Companies don’t create great ideas – people do,” said Marcia Kilgore, who has spent the last two decades launching global brands Soap & Glory, FitFlop, Soaper Duper and, her most recent, Beauty Pie. Ideas and roduct generation are driven by the progressive staff and followers of the US cosmetics brand’s newest company, Beauty Pie. “Our community is where trends are born,” she said. “They don’t research them, they create them.”
The new members club Beauty Pie was set up in 2017 by Hewitt, and the company already boasts an Instagram following of 35.2k. Appealing to beauty addicts, Beauty Pie is carving out its own niche in the market, by offering member high-quality products at transparent factory costs.
Hewitt attributes the brand’s instant and catalytic success to their followers and fans: “We’ve never needed to pay for a focus group because our one million followers tell us what they like.” The community acts as a sounding board for product development.
The Social Sell: Social media continues to play an important role in the modern retail journey. In particular, Instagram holds incredible power – consumers come back to the app 33 times per day, according to Karin Tracy, head of industry at Facebook. “People want to see your stories. More than one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses,” she said.
The key is to develop your product and in-store experience to be inherently and addictively Instagrammable. Sarah Lynn, founder of Sweets In The City – a personalized confectionery brand that has fun, shareable xperiences at the core of the business. Cute, colourful candy product is gifted in samples, and storytelling is used to sell it alongside gifting kiosks and its online platform, where customers can gift friends sweets quickly and easily.
The instagrammable products and visual engagement via its social platforms, as well as the increased customer engagement, offer inspiration for youth-focused brands looking to boost their cult appeal.
Authenticity & Purpose-Driven Business: Authenticity and values are becoming increasingly important to the consumer. This was expressed by Weight Watchers’ chief executive Mindy Grossman, who is reforming the international weight-loss brand in line with more ethical and natural practices.
Unsurprisingly, influencer strategies were a hot topic at the event, but they also created a bone of contention, with both brands and high-profile bloggers debating the efficacy of costly and elaborate but ultimately nauthentic marketing projects and the reach of influencers with over a million followers. Speakers such as Asceno’s Poppy Sexton-Wainwright urged brands to reconsider the outdated model of lavishing bloggers with gifts, press trips and other costly marketing strategies that appear disingenuous and instead marketing experts agreed that micro-influencers are now more valuable to brands than top-end influencers with over a million followers.
For more information on the event and its key speakers, you can find out more on Sheerluxe’s website and keep an eye out for future events.