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The New Standard

Hey. Hi. Hello. Welcome to another Monday – another start to a *glorious* week…and by glorious I do mean another week of me searching for a job while simultaneously laying around my apartment buying things I don’t have money for.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or are on a social media cleanse, then you probably know that some companies have recently launched some new foundations in the past week. Most specifically, Tarte launched their highly anticipated Shape Tape foundation in two different formulas and Estee Lauder released their Double Wear Nude Water Fresh. However, both were instantly met with harsh criticism for lack of shade diversity. Today, I thought I’d tackle this topic, and hopefully apply some business knowledge I picked up from college.

In late 2017, Rihanna released her first line of cosmetic products in her Fenty beauty line. Part of this launch was a foundation, which came in an unprecedented 40 shades. Something of that caliber had never been seen in the beauty world, especially when considering it was the first launch for a new company. However, after this line was released, every other cosmetics company immediately faced pushback for not being as inclusive as this line, especially if that company had been around for quite a while.

I think that these claims are warranted, but I think some people are quick to just assume a lot about the business side of companies. Fenty Beauty is Rihanna’s line, and I can only assume that she had a hand in funding this venture of hers. As such, you have to imagine the access to a plethora of resources this opened up in order for her company to have such a massive first collection. Even when a company is hugely successful, this doesn’t mean they are going to have the same amount of funds to dedicated to expanding specific products. The larger a company is, the larger their corporate functions are, meaning their profits have to be divided amongst more individuals, and thus cannot be dedicated to a specific cause like say creating expansive shades of a foundation.

Additionally, no matter how highly demanded a product is, there is no guarantee that the final product released to market is going to do even remotely well. Even in the case of the Tarte Shape Tape, where the original concealer product did so well, a foundation is different than a concealer, and therefore may not have the same profitability as the original product. Arguably, in a business sense, its more logical to launch a limited amount of shades to gauge engagement and sales data in order to expand the range for the future, rather than launch plenty of shades for a product that has the ability to perform poorly when released.

In my personal opinion, it seems as though individuals, especially large influencers with a massive following and therefore a loud voice on the internet, are quick to shame companies for having an initial launch of a product with limited shades. And, unsurprisingly, they utilize the Fenty Beauty model, with an argument of, “Oh if Rihanna is able to have her first collection feature so many shades, why can’t a larger company include more diversity with their launches from now on.” While the idea in itself is good, it’s not often the best business plan for companies to follow. And, at the end of the day, businesses are going to do what’s most logical for their profit margins (for example, selling in China, etc).

I’m not condoning the actions of these companies, but I’m just saying I understand from a business standpoint what their reasoning could be for their initial product launches. Both Estee Lauder and Tarte have released official statements on their social media pages stating they have heard the feedback and criticism of these launches, and are working towards creating more diverse shade ranges for the future. Moving forward, I, of course, would love to see more launches like the Fenty Beauty, which promoted a message of inclusion right from the beginning, but I also think it would be beneficial for individuals to be empathetic towards companies that aren’t backed by wealthy individuals, because the business world is a hard place to exist, especially in a rapidly expanding and evolving industry like beauty. That’s just my two-sense on this whole situation. I hope I was able to express everything I felt needed to be said, but if you have anything to add to the discussion, feel free to leave it in the comment below. Until next time, xoxo.

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