Will Beauty Festivals Be the Next Big Thing?

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 10 Sep 2019

Forget Coachella, Glastonbury and Burning Man – these beauty festivals are the next big way to help solidify branding in the beauty industry. Should other brands follow suit, or is this just a fad?

In 2018, Aussie makeup retailer, Mecca, unveiled the first Australian beauty festival, Meccaland. The event is full of beauty products, rides, influencers and all things beauty-related. Since its inception, this three-day festival has become one of the most important events for beauty lovers across the country.

The event is a massive and innovative step forward for retailers. Meccaland took the thoughts, ideas and reviews from its customers, and curated a diverse and immersive exhibition made for self-expression. Not only could consumers meet their favourite makeup artists, but they could also listen to them offer advice on panels, try new products and purchase Mecca’s merchandise with an exclusive discount.

“Digital – more specifically, the social platforms have been the greatest gift to beauty because I feel that everybody can express themselves … there are so many communities that have mushroomed up,” explained Jo Horgan, founder of Mecca Cosmetica.

Alongside the bright colours, loud dance music and endless beauty, the event heavily promoted the use of social media. Selfie-ready giant baths, oversized mirrors, booths, and branded walls were plastered on every corner, prompting event-goers to share their time at the festival on Instagram. Over 10,000 posts on Instagram feature the #meccaland hashtag.

What is Meccaland?

Dubbed the ‘Coachella of beauty festivals’, this event happens once a year and is packed with exciting things for the festival-goers to see and experience. “Revellers will discover five immersive worlds where beauty comes to life with next-level experiences, large-scale installations and plenty of photo opps. Popstar Park is a total playground for beauty junkies; the City Of Lights is a major makeup metropolis; The Queendom is where you live your best life; The Wildflowers is where you set your beauty bohemian free; and Temple Of You is a retreat for your mind, body and soul. There’s something for every one of your makeup moods, and we can’t wait for you to explore,” a Meccaland spokesperson explained.

Aside from the five rooms, there are celebrity guests, such as YouTubers, influencers and makeup artists from all over the world. This year, Victoria’s Secret Angel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was in attendance, as well as Chloe Morello, Shani Grimmond and many others. The festival also featured masterclasses, panels, free giveaways, show bags, and much more. Tickets ranged from $69 to $149, with every visitor receiving a ‘goodie bag’ as they arrive.

Meccaland 2019

Are Other Brands Following Suit?

Sephora is launching its first beauty festival, Sephoria. Skin to Meccaland, Sephora’s beauty festival presented a series of panels, makeup classes and exclusive products at the two-day event. Featuring special guests like NikkieTutorials, MannyMUA and Amoruso, it remains one of the most significant events for beauty lovers in North America. The tickets sat slightly higher than Meccaland, with the general admission tickets starting at 89USD and 350USD for the VIP tickets.

“Sephoria was an opportunity,” explained Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s CMO. “It was about bringing all of the best of Sephora and concentrating that down to a two-day event. What we saw was that those experiential moments were met a with huge demand.” With a whopping 4,500 guests at the 2018 event, this seems to be the new way for brands to experiment with a supercharged pop-up shop.

“We are playing to our strengths. Community is huge for us because we aren’t bringing together a number of brands that we do not have a pre-existing relationship with,” Ms Yeh continued. “We have been working with these partners for a very long time and have made our success integral to theirs. Even our clients are known to us because they have been shopping with us and coming to our stores for years. We think of Sephoria as a meaningful sub-brand and are extracting various elements as we look forward.”

Sephoria 2019

Sephoria 2019

What Are the Benefits?

There are plenty of benefits that brands can learn from these beauty festivals. Aside from a massive crowd of thrilled customers and the chance to unveil new products, there are some real advantages for a brand and its consumer.

  1. Branding Opportunity

    This is a crucial chance for retailers to secure a solid branding strategy. Whether the retailer sells food or car parts, an event like this solidifies the reputation of the brand in an instant. Using hashtags such as #Meccaland will give the attendees the chance to share the word across social media, thus securing the brand image even further. Of course, the brand style that these beauty festivals may not work for every brand, so make sure you create something that aligns with your company.

  2. Building Awareness

    Pop-up shops can come and go, but a festival is forever. An event of this size needs massive awareness campaigns. This means social media, sponsored posts, PPC ads, etc. Of course, it can be expensive, but it’s the price a company has to pay to increase awareness. Using brand-friendly hashtags will up the ante for customers, and whet their appetite for the event.

  3. Makes Shopping an Experience

    Every company should offer customer experience above anything else, but this event can present CX in a whole new way. Three days where customers can try, ask and immerse themselves in an oversized store is a company’s dream. This is a tricky step to achieve because if a brand presents itself as a CX wiz, it must deliver the same experiences for its customers throughout the rest of the year.

  4. Creates Urgency

    Meccaland and Sephoria have stapled the idea of launching new products exclusively at its events. A customer wants to try something new, but at these festivals, they get to try them before anyone else. This creates a sense of urgency – if they don’t get it now, they may not get it at all once it hits the shelves. Guests and makeup artists also create a sense of urgency – when else is a customer going to get the chance to receive tips and tricks from their favourite YouTuber? Offering ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities invites further sales for your brand.

Are Pop-Up Stores Are Still Effective?

If a brand can’t afford to create its own festival, there are plenty of opportunities for a pop-up store, instead. A pop-up store is an excellent plan for a company to branch out into a new field. With low-risk and low-cost on a company’s side, it’s an effective and easy way to secure further branding within the company name.

  1. Test out a New Location

    Not sure if this new location is right for your brand? Set up a pop-up shop to test out the waters. A product may sell well in Toorak, but it could present an entirely different reception in Chadstone. This is a great way to see how your customer responds to new locations.

  2. Low-Risk

    Unlike opening a new store, which is costly and riddled with risks, a pop-up store is a short-term chance to see how your brand will run in another spot. With no long-term contracts or fixed leases, if something goes pear-shaped, you can leave without a trace. Rent for pop-up stores can often be as low as 20 per cent less than regular leases, so you’re not too out of pocket if something goes wrong.

  3. Out With the Old, In With the New

    If you have unsold stock, or you need a clearance, using a pop-up store is a great way to drive customers to a new location and maximise sales. In contrast, if your brand has a new product to trial, a pop-up store is a great way to present it. Much like beauty festivals, this is an easy way to conjure up a sense of urgency for customers and test the waters for a new product without fitting out every brick-and-mortar store.

Whether it’s a big brand or an SME, festivals may just be the next op-up store. A brilliant branding opportunity, clear navigation into CX and a great way to maximise sales. It’s a win-win.

If you’re interested in the brains behind the online health and beauty shopper, it’s imperative that you read the Power Retail Shopper Profile Report on Online Health and Beauty shoppers.

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