Follow us LIVE! Newby Hands on how to bring a beauty brand to market and stay there

Chloe Burney
02 November 2023

During LIVE! 'The trends to know that will futureproof your beauty business for 2024 and beyond', a crowd of beauty industry professionals learnt about the trends brands and retailers should focus on to meet the demands of today's consumer and drive their business through 2024 and beyond.

For the final session of the day, beauty industry veteran Newby Hands sat down with's Editor In Chief, Lauretta Roberts, to discuss all things beauty brands and how to future proof your business amidst a challenging market.


Newby Hands has worn many hats. Previously the Global Beauty Director at NAP and Beauty Director at Harper’s Bazaar, she is now a Brand Consultant and Contributing Global Beauty Director at Net-A-Porter.

Hands didn’t go to university, her career came about by happenstance. She laughed to the audience, "My first editor put 'beauty' in my title, so people knew not to take me too seriously. Back then, fashion was the 'serious' role."

When starting in the beauty industry, she turned to her friends to ask what they’d like to read about for guidance. Since then, Hands has always kept ‘real woman’ in mind rather than the industry, which may be the key ingredient to her success. She commented, "That’s why I like working with brands now because I like seeing real women, real products and real brands."

Back then, beauty coverage was restricted to the back two pages of glossy magazines. She joked, "We had the plastic coffee cups and they had the glasses of champagne.

"For years beauty wasn’t taken seriously because it was seen as something quite superficial. But now, it has changed because it’s viewed as ‘wellness’. Beauty has become something women, men and all people can enjoy. I think we’ve got rid of vanity and guilt. It’s fun!"

This is the reason the beauty industry is so exciting because it keeps evolving. In that same vein, in a constantly evolving industry, there is an endless stream of newness.

When asked how she navigates through new brands and products, Hands explained that there has been a new shift in recent years in regards to getting on board with emerging beauty brands. Whether you’re looking at a new brand or not, the industry has gone through that flurry of excitement and now people are looking at the profitability.

She said: "Nowadays, people want to know what the business behind new brands is. There’s been a much-needed wake-up call. Now, new brands have to be something more than just a passion project, they have to be business-focused and fill a gap in the market.

"We have a lot of brands coming through, too many brands. The good ones are product-led."

The industry's landscape in terms of investors has changed over the past five or so years. It used to be the case that they’d invest, wait five years for a return and maybe the brand will eventually sell to L’Oreal. Now, investors are quicker to put their foot down and want to see some sort of return on their money.

Coming out of the post-pandemic boom, the industry has become flatter. Hands laughs, "How many LED devices do you need?" But at the same time, there’s always something new and exciting. When it comes to beauty, we will keep buying and we will keep restocking when our products run out. So, the demand isn’t going to go away.

On the subject of newness, specifically tech, Hands acknowledges her cynicism and scepticism. Despite technology's impact on the beauty space, she reflected on the flurry of apps and technology that have come out and yet none are on her phone.

She added: "It sounds exciting and juicy, but customers don’t want it. But it absolutely will impact and become a part of health and beauty.

"In a perfect world, if technology was applied across the industry and not just by one brand that can afford to do it, it would be great. If it was universal, we could use it to compare various products from various brands."

When it comes to technology in the social-media space, this is something a beauty consultant like Newby Hands is frequently asked about, specifically TikTok.

In her opinion, "When it comes to using influencers on TikTok, it must be strategic and planned. Anyone can make a beautiful reel, but you need someone who knows the brand and knows their following.

"Tiktoks are just a moment that viewers may not remember. Make sure social media users are connecting with the band, or they’ll move on to the next TikTok beauty brand tomorrow."

So, according to Newby Hands, TikTok and influencer marketing is great, but when it's focused and strategic. Make sure it’s not cookie-cutter and make sure it stays true to your brand.

To finish up the conversation, Robert asked Hands what everyone wanted to know, "So, who is your favourite brand?"

Newby said: "Charlotte Tilbury and Dr. Barbara Sturm stand out. Charlotte Tilbury transformed the makeup world. She gave women what they wanted at a time when brands were doing multicoloured palettes. Everyone wants the basics. They want a good mascara, for example. They don’t want a bright yellow eyeliner."

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