“We’ve been watching MCoBeauty’s success from afar and are thrilled to have their pop-up store launching in Best & Less,” she said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on making it easy for everybody to look and feel great for less, offering mum and her family affordable yet high-quality items. We know our customers will agree there’s no better brand to celebrate our debut into the beauty category.”
MCoBeauty founder Shelley Sullivan echoed Kenwothy’s sentiments.
“Both MCoBeauty and Best & Less are all about offering customers affordable prices without compromising on product quality, which makes this the ultimate partnership,” Sullivan said.
In this interview with Inside Retail, Sullivan discusses the strategy behind the launch, her thoughts on the state of physical retail and how retailers can successfully create a “luxe-for-less” experience for customers.
Inside Retail: Why did you decide to launch the MCoBeauty range into Best & Less and how does it align with your brand?
Shelley Sullivan: In 2022, part of our overarching strategy is to collaborate with different fashion brands and create pop-up executions, to introduce MCoBeauty to new customers. Being a luxe-for-less brand is one of our core MCoBeauty values, so it made sense for us to start our pop-up store journey at Best & Less.
IR: How would you describe the Best & Less pop-up store and what the customer experience is like?
SS: While our full range is always available at Woolworths and Big W, as well as MCoBeauty.com, we have curated a selection of our most popular makeup and skincare products to feature in the Best & Less pop-up store. It will be a unique and fun experience (in our signature baby pink branding!) featuring our hand-picked collection of products women can buy while shopping their favourite affordable fashion brands. The pop-up gives women who may not have tried our brand before the opportunity to have that luxe-for-less experience while they’re picking up clothes for themselves or their families.
IR: With the rise of e-commerce, why do you think these physical retail experiences are still important for retailers and consumers and do you see it becoming a larger part of MCoBeauty’s strategy in the future?
SS: While our DTC and e-commerce businesses have skyrocketed over the past 12-24 months, retail sales make up the majority of our revenue. We know many beauty customers love to touch and feel the product and see it physically in their hands before they make a purchase.
It’s also a great way for us to reach new customers who have not heard of MCoBeauty before. We find that we gain many customers who stumble upon our product in-store and recognise our packaging from content they’ve seen on Instagram, as part of our ongoing ambassador program and influencer marketing strategy. We are heavily focused on growing our DTC business, but bricks-and-mortar retail will always be a key pillar of our strategy.
IR: Getting “luxe-for-less” right can be a challenge for some retailers, especially if it’s also a diffusion line that doesn’t get as much love as a main brand. What are some of the lessons that you’ve learnt since launching MCoBeauty and what do you think it takes for an “affordable luxury” brand to be genuinely appeal to consumers?
SS: We have positioned ourselves as a “dupe” brand that creates affordable versions of some of the most popular luxury beauty products – and in order to create successful dupes, it all comes down to the formula and the packaging. Our formulas are just as good as those from some designer brands. If we don’t deliver an amazing formula, our customers will be the first people to tell us, plus the product won’t sell. Especially now with TikTok, our customers buy our products as soon as they drop in-store and then they film themselves posting their first impressions and genuine reactions. If the product isn’t amazing, they’ll tell you about it. So we always want to ensure our customers are blown away by our formulas – and I especially love it when they fall in love with the cute packaging too.
Our most popular product is XtendLash Mascara and that’s because it really is the best affordable mascara on the market – it’s just as good as some of the most popular and expensive high end tubular mascaras you can get from luxury beauty retailers.
IR: MCoBeauty’s partnership with comedian Celeste Barber was a huge success, exposing the brand to new customers and going global. Can you tell me about some of the observations and lessons that you learnt from that experience?
SS: Celeste was such an incredible ambassador because she genuinely loved and used our products for years before the partnership even began. She’s a genuine customer and fan. And she was able to communicate her love of makeup in a funny, real way that I think most women can relate to personally, but hadn’t actually seen before in a traditional beauty campaign. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s got almost 9 million Instagram followers, with a huge US audience!
I think the biggest takeaway for me from the success of Celeste is that our strategy of going against the grain worked. That’s what our customers want. They want to see campaigns and influencer content that’s fun, makes them laugh and shows them exactly how our products work. That campaign was super disruptive, so it solidified for me that our disruptive marketing strategy is working and we need to always be thinking outside the box.
IR: What are some of your other plans for MCoBeauty this year?
SS: We have just launched 30 new cosmetic products and five new skincare products in the first few months of 2022, which has been a whirlwind! The launch of our two SPFs, our Invisible Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ and our Mineral Mattifying Sunscreen SPF50+ have been in the works for a while – it’s the #1 product our customers have been asking us to create for a very long time, so it was a no-brainer for us. So we are in the process of taking those products to market and talking to our customers about how to integrate them into their existing beauty routines.
We also have an exciting brand partnership coming up as part of AfterPay Australian Fashion Week 2022 and will be looking to hold a large scale PR event in the latter half of the year. And of course, plenty more product launches to come!