Launching In Tough Times? 'Be Brave, Conscientious, Flexible'

Jamie Glassman, CEO of start-up One Click b.eauty, had been preparing the launch of the cosmetic line for more than a year. She ran through many planning scenarios for One Click -- available exclusively on Amazon, and developed through the Amazon Accelerator program -- but none included a global pandemic.

Glassman decided to launch anyway. Currently hunkered down at home in New York, she’s watching the first-day sales tick into the hundreds (and keeping an eye on her three-year-old and eight-month-old kids)

She tells Marketing Daily why she decided to go ahead with launching the $24 eye and lip kits, despite the COVID-19 onslaught -- and how she rewrote her marketing plan accordingly.

Marketing Daily: As you got closer to launch date and the pandemic worsened, how did you weight the pros and cons of delaying?



Jamie Glassman: Obviously, we never could have predicted this. And it would have been easy to say, “This isn’t the right time.” 

Makeup is, after all, a superficial product. And people are losing their lives. But I was just so amazed at the dedication and focus that our team has shown in adjusting our strategy and finding something that works in the current environment. It makes me excited about what we can accomplish in good times or bad.

MD: What were some of the challenges?

Glassman: Well, there were operational issues -- and you expect that -- questions about fulfillment and shipping, for example. And bandwidth issues. 

But there have been challenges on the emotional front, which we couldn't have predicted, questioning whether we are doing the right thing. How do we make sure that we are not tone-deaf, when so many people are scared and suffering? How do we give back where we can?

MD: What made you decide you could pull it off?

Glassman: The brand has always been about empowerment, positivity and accessibility. But we knew we needed a new campaign, which we’re calling #FaceTheWeek. 

We came up with it as we watched women flood social media with posts about how putting on real clothes or lipstick made them feel better, that a little color energized them. People feel better when they take just 30 seconds for themselves. My three-year-old was in tears the other day, asking me to get dressed and put on lipstick. She wants me to look like me. It gives her a little normal.

MD: While many experts are predicting a walloping for the beauty industry in the months ahead, “the lipstick effect” has persisted for decades: When people are broke, the thinking goes, a new lipstick is an affordable mood-booster. What are your sales expectations?

Glassman: Start-ups always brace themselves for slow beginnings. But we feel lucky in that there are shifts we can make in our marketing budget to build brand awareness now. 

For example, we planned to spend on physical activations and influencers. Now that we can’t, we’ll allocate those funds to other sources. Working with Amazon, there are many ways to optimize marketing.

MD: Have you lowered your initial forecasts?

Glassman: I’m not going there yet. Lipstick plays a role in women's lives even through the toughest times -- and maybe especially through the toughest times. In a time like this, makeup becomes more about the self and less about the selfie.

MD: What advice can you offer other brands as they consider whether to pull or delay launches, whether for new products or new marketing campaigns?

Glassman: I would say, be brave. But I’d also say to be conscientious and flexible. 

Life has changed, but there’s still an opportunity to bring moments of joy and use your brand for good. 

We just need to be mindful of adjusting messaging to how people feel and what their limitations are. And it’s more important than ever to give back. We’re in the middle of finding partners for our “buy one, give one” program.

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