Long read: Why festivals are a gift to the beauty industry

Afro Punk festival. Photo by Driely S
As Coachella mania threatens to invade all your social feeds, get ready for a gazillion guides to festival dressing, best dressed galleries and hair how-tos (heads-up: it’s still all about the braids). And just because you don’t ‘do’ festivals, don’t think you can ignore them. Festivals and fashion are all part of the commercial entertainment system. Much as I’d like to think it’s all about the music, it’s not, these days it’s an all encompassing ‘experience’. If you work in fashion media, design or marketing, the festival season is becoming as crucial as Christmas for opportunities to engage audiences and sell lots of lovely product promote your brand.

While we all know how effective festival coverage is for selling Hunter wellies, fringed ponchos and hair crowns, there’s another big opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. And the time to get involved is sooner than you think. Enter the festival beauty opportunity – here are five takaways on why festivals are a gift to the beauty industry…

1. Festivals are a golden opportunity for beauty brands
Why festivals are a gift to beauty brands

As I learnt at Hunter’s ‘festival summit’ last month, today’s festivals are approached like holidays. They’re a major event and one that we enjoy planning and shopping for. While stores love to push their ‘festival collections’ around this time of year (hello H&M), the real opportunity is even earlier. According to Google’s industry manager Pia Stanchina, people start to think about festival fashion and beauty prep as soon as tickets are announced. In fact, at the first mention of a particular festival, they go into ‘search’ mode, often searching said festival on YouTube (perhaps for the previous year’s coverage). As Stanchina points out, this is a great time to tap into their mindset. Example: At the time of the Hunter Summit, Chanel had a beauty ad on YouTube that appeared in Coachella searches, and the following ad was for a make-up remover. It would seem it’s all about grabbing that customer attention as early as possible in their festival journey.

2. Festivals are an all year round event

Afro punk festival beauty style 2015 - photo by Driely S
This month Hunter is launching its digital festival hub, a go-to digital destination for all things festival-focused. Why? Because it realised that at any given moment, there’s a music festival happening somewhere in the world and it wanted to benefit from all that search traffic interest. Remember, if you’re a brand with a young, music-loving fan base, consider that festivals are a big part of your customer’s identity. If they’re not at a festival right now, they might well be planning their next one.

3. Think micro moments

festival beauty - Why festivals are a gift to the beauty industry
When targeting your audience, think beyond being at the festival itself; think in micro moments. The build-up is a huge shopping opportunity so think of it like holidays; pre-festival prep might include hair appointments, brow grooming, a new tattoo and so on. And post-festival there might be ways to leverage products that deal with the festival aftermath that prolongs the memories and experience. A fragrance, perhaps?

4. Capturing the millennial mindset

Yoga at music festival
According to worldwide director of JWT intelligence, Lucie Greene, the millennial festival-goer is an experiential being for whom community, wellness and plain old fun matter more than stuff. Greene reports that a quarter of millennials go to four or more festivals a year, which means there’s ample scope to tap into their interest in feel-good beauty and grooming. This could be on-site massage suites, pedi parlours, organic juice bars and even creative hair or make-up workshops, especially anything that can be done with a group of friends.

Don’t forget, all these activities lend themselves to social sharing, so the more colourful, convivial and communal, the better. And another point worth noting, the experience starts well before the main festival event, so consider mirroring the playful community vibes in your store environment. As Lucie Greene points out, today’s cool retail space is a hangout; the product might not just be the eyeliner, it might be the store experience itself.

5. Festivals are the ideal place to showcase experimental make-up

Why festivals are a gift to the beauty industry
Today’s young festival fan has a bold and experimental approach to beauty. Festivals present a golden advantage to play with make-up and take millions of selfies so the smartest brands can use this opportunity to sell inventive, playful products. Forget the precision contour and high maintenance tools, think multi-tasking skincare and cream colour products that can be blended with fingers. Read on for some highlights:

MONKI Swedish high street store Monki has recently launched a line of make-up (above) which includes affordable face glitters, lip pens and nail stickers that range from £2-£8. “In keeping with Monki values, this isn’t the traditional kind of make up line,” says Minna Guan, Monki’s beauty concept manager. “Our make-up, like our clothes, is less about covering up and more about showing off and exploring your own personal style”.

3INA 3INA (pronouned ‘Mina’) is another international brand that focuses on self-expression rather than perfection. It delivers high quality products in an ambitious range of colours, while its marketing approach is rooted in experiential retail and creative collaboration, sourcing and promoting its ‘3INAMAKERS’ on Instagram and other social media.

TOPSHOP Topshop’s cool girl goes for simple things such as a light reflecting highlighter stick or a line of denim-coloured nail polishes to match her jeans. Easy, quirky and totally on-message for the festival crowd.

GLOSSIER Meanwhile, in the U.S, the buzz is all about newbie Glossier, for the girl who is up for a good time but doesn’t necessarily want to paint her lips gold. Products like ‘Boy Brow’ brow gel and Generation G sheer matte lipsticks are the type of fuss-free products its fans love that are expressive but enhance natural beauty.

ESTEE LAUDER Finally, Estee Lauder is going full throttle in its efforts to nail the millennial everygirl. Its new Estee Edit line (available at Sephora) is aimed at the kind of girl that shops at Nasty Gal and worships the L.A model-off-duty style of Kendal Jenner and Gigi Hadid. And incoming for August? Estee Lauder’s double-ended ‘star stamp liner’, a pen that can draw a cat flick or stamp a dainty star on your cheekbone in just a click or two.


WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: First and third image – Driely S; Fourth image – Corrine Day/Vogue; Sixth image – Monki
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