HBA Global Expo: Where Beauty Meets Business

This week we kicked off the 20th Anniversary of the HBA Global Expo in NYC. The 3-day conference (which ends today) that celebrates “creativity, innovation & beyond” displays a vast variety of brands, products and packaging suppliers in the beauty industry.

{Key note Panel: The Future of Beauty}

The conference opened with a Keynote Panel on The Future of Beauty, moderated by Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Director of W Magazine. Panelist included Deanna Kangas, President & CEO, Stila Cosmetics, Sonia Kashuk, Make-up artist and Entrepreneur, Jim Markham, Founder & CEO ColorProof Evolved and Color Care and (possibly my new hero), Catherine Walsh, Sr. Vice President, Coty Prestige.

Key points I found interesting included the shift around 2009/2010, with the major skincare and cosmetic trend leaning towards having the “flawless face” and by such a serge in tinted moisturizers and a stronger desire for multi-use products. Also the role value plays into the sales model at both a mass and prestige level and how the lines between the two are becoming more blurred. And with this over-saturation of products in the market, consumers really expect new and different when shopping new brands and products. Sonia Kashuk made a good point that for brands to succeed (or at least increase the odds of being profitable) they need 3 things: a point of difference, funding, and strong distribution plan.

My favorite question was then Jane asked each panelists what their current “wow” product was that they considered phenomenal. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Deanna Kangas – Stila Beauty Balm
  • Sonia Kashuk – Oribe hair products
  • Jim Markham, His new ColorProof line
  • Catherine Walsh – Oribe hair products and Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

{Social Media Panelists: Peter Thomas Roth, Jeremy Goldman, Rochelle Ray}

While HBA has the standard expo format with booths lining the Jacob Javits Center, my favorite part of the conference is the panel discussions. There’s so many amazing minds within this industry dispelling their knowledge and discussing relevant topics about the industry today. One of the panels I attended focused on the roll of social media and branding and featured skincare founder, Peter Thomas Roth, social media guru, Jeremy Goldman and founder or Rae Cosmetics, Rochelle Rae. The point that really was drilled in was be transparent and human. Twitter and Facebook are very forgiving to human error and if anything relate to it and like you more. Case and point the more sterile and brand-like you are the tougher it will be to engage your consumers on this channel.

{Press lounge}

While the panel discussions are intimate, I find the main floor with all the booths displaying a little overwhelming. HBA was very generous enough to set up a press event and give my fellow bloggers and I a tour of the main floor and some brands to keep en eye out for. I also had a chance to reconnect with some friend!

{Me with one of my favorite makeup artists, KJ Bennett, and blogger/friend Shaunya of shopeatandsleep.com}

{And I got to hang out with the amazing and talented beauty expert Milly! If you don’t read her Beauty Logic Blog, you should!}

Until next time! Thank you HBA.