How PÜR Cosmetics’ Diverse Team Impacted Its Most Innovative Launch Yet
When PÜR Cosmetics first announced their 4-in-1 Love Your Selfie™ Longwear Foundation & Concealer in 100 different shades, I thought it was a gimmick to surpass the success of Fenty Beauty. Lately, there has been a makeup arms race where brands are competing to see who can produce the most shades of foundation. How exactly was PÜR able develop a full and balanced shade range from fair to rich? Their executive staff is truly diverse, a rarity in the beauty industry. Tisha Thompson, the VP of Marketing and Product Innovation, is a black woman.
Organized into five shade categories with golden, pink and neutral undertones, PÜR’s biggest launch was built on a long process of trial and error.Thompson commented to Bustle, "Once we settled on the five categories and undertone selection, we went through hundreds of samples to test the shades to see how they adjust with the skin and landed on the perfect lineup for this launch.”
PÜR’s massive and successful shade expansion indicates the importance of diverse representation in both the executive leadership and general workforce of beauty companies. Thompson notes, “Product development was informed by employee feedback with some shades even created to fit particular employees who previously had a hard time finding a perfect foundation match [...] Luckily, our team in the office is super diverse, so we were able to experiment with the shades and give our direct feedback to the lab.”
She also attributes her personal experience to the inclusive development of this product line, “As a woman of color, I’ve experienced major gaps in the market when it comes to complexion representation, so formulating in our set skin tone categories and undertones made it easier for us to focus on creating a really inclusive range."
Personally, it made me think about why more companies, especially beauty brands, don’t seek more diverse talent and leadership when it has been consistently proven that it leads to more innovation, stronger creativity and better overall financial performance. According to Boston Consulting Group, companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19% higher than that of companies with below-average diversity. The most significant gains came from management teams with a variety of national origins, industry backgrounds, gender balance and career paths.
An important point the NY Times brings up is that a lack of diversity in the product development phase will lead to products that fail female and minority users, thus alienating a large portion of consumers. For this reason, beauty companies like Estée Lauder and Lush are taking steps to ensure that people of all races, ethnicities and genders are represented on their staff. In fact, Forbes named Lush the most diverse beauty company in the U.S., as four out of six of their executives are women, and 83% of their workers are female. Estée Lauder Companies have created Employee Resource Groups, formed around a common social identity such as gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation to propel innovation, network in the industry and exchange ideas.
An equally important part of the launch is their new Instagram page @purshadedefiner, an additional resource for people to find their foundation shade match online. It features unedited before and after photos of real people with various skin tones each wearing one of the foundation’s 100 colors, showing customers how the foundation really looks in every shade. Their website, also offers a quiz that allows customers to find their shade by selecting a foundation they already use and finding its PÜR equivalent.
While this is one of the most thorough efforts to help customers find their perfect match, having so many options can ironically make it more difficult to find a match. Picking just one shade out of 100 can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but shade matching technology like our NUDEMTER takes all of the guesswork out of the process, making it much easier to find an accurate match on the first try.
The fact that they not only have diverse models, but a diverse management team shows that to succeed in the industry, brands don’t need to copy other brands, but rather hire diverse people with unique perspectives that better reflect the demographics of all beauty consumers. PÜR Cosmetics is the perfect example for how, when inclusivity starts at the top, innovation and a successful product line will follow.