Indie Beauty Brand Founders On Their New And Improved Black Friday Deals

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 14 founders and executives: What Black Friday deals are you doing, and what learnings have you applied from past Black Fridays to determine those?

MURPHY D. BISHOP II Co-Founder and CEO, The Better Skin Co.

This year’s promo: 35% off site-wide with select exclusions, free shipping with $50 or more purchase and a free gift once you hit $100.

What we learned from the past: Market the promotion as clearly as possible. If not, customer service will blow up. We will literally spell out: Site-wide 35% discount/free shipping once you spend $50 or more on product, taxes excluded/receive a free gift once you hit $100 in product, taxes excluded.

Do not change the promotion during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period. Keep the offers consistent. If you change them (i.e. upgrade), customers always want what they missed, are upset and want an adjustment or to return.

Communicate the promotion in many places on the site (i.e., banner and a pop-up). The more they see it, the more they spend to hit the targets. Steer clear of any similar promotion 30 days before and 30 days after. If not, people ask for “adjustments” or are angry because they missed the “good one.”

Ada Polla CEO, Alchimie Forever

We focus our Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion on friends and family, with a 30% discount on our own website. This is a deep discount we do not offer at any other time of the year.

From previous years of doing this promotion, our two key learnings have been: First, consumers appreciate not feeling rushed. There is so much going on during Thanksgiving weekend, so we have extended our sale to start the day before Thanksgiving and end the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. That’s a full six days of offering the 30% off.

Second, our key retail partners love to be aware of our extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale ahead of time, so they have the option to match our promotion if they so choose.

Shemika Harmitt Founder, Prime Beauty Cosmetics

For Black Friday, all of our sales will be reflected in the product pricing on the site, no coupon codes this year. As a newer brand, people are still discovering our site for the first time and may not receive our email marketing or see our social media posts, so we want them to be fully aware of the sales as they peruse the site. Last year, when we used codes, some first-time costumers had no knowledge of the sales and paid full price.

Kristen Bowen Founder and CEO, Living The Good Life Naturally

After 17 years of trying different approaches, I have learned to keep it simple. We offer wholesale pricing to our customers for four days on physical products and digital products we go 50%.

I went to my first Black Friday sale and was so disgusted at the women who were pushing people to grab that $10 scooter. I had no clue that the entire line of people wanted it, and there were five sent to each store. When I say pushing, imagine a stroller with a toddler, and the toddler being pushed out of the stroller by aggressive women fighting and grabbing at the same scooter that I wanted for my boys. I didn’t get the scooter. I helped the toddler instead while his mother joined the fight for the scooter. 

When I started my business, I created what I call “Calm Black Friday,” a celebratory, joyous, fun and, above all, calm experience for those who attend.  There was no way I was going to be part of the grabbing and shoving I witnessed so many years before.

With Calm Black Friday, I remind people every year that this is our gift to them and have people there asking customers what they are grateful for. It changed the entire vibe of the day. We now have women that fly in just to be a part of the tradition, and I receive thank you notes from customers telling us that it helps set the tone for their holiday traditions.

Annie Tevelin Founder, SkinOwl

We try not to focus on Black Friday ever since launching Purple Thursday five years ago, which is a day dedicated to our signature color and falls on Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity for people to shop while they’re hanging at home, kicking back with their family and watching football versus fighting the stampede of Black Friday. We find this to be a more fun and branded approach to holiday shopping than the often overwhelming Black Friday.

We've learned that giving people a soft day to shop before the crowds and chaos is very much appreciated. It also allows us to not feel the pressure to compete with everyone's inbox on Black Friday. We've also learned that different promotions are fun on different days. When you switch up your offerings, you open yourself up to new customers who might not have jumped at your first offering.

Lindsay Knaak-Stuart Founder and CEO, Meant

This year we will be offering 25% off full-priced items for Black Friday weekend. And, on Cyber Monday, the same discount applies, plus, if the customer spends $100 or more they’ll receive a free recycled tote bag. Last year we offered a gift with purchase (GWP) only, but found what customers really want (and expect) on Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a discount.

We don't discount very often, and never at 25% off, but we see this as being our one big sale of the year. It's how we, as a small indie brand, can compete at this very noisy and discount heavy time.

Lissette Monzon Founder, Lilly Be

In the past, I have launched specials and promotions in posts and on my website only to find that they didn’t have much reach. This year is going to be all about excitement and really focusing in on all the advantages of digital marketing. 

I am going to launch three different offers for not just Black Friday, but also Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. I have mapped out a plan that will allow my offers to reach people via email, social media posts/stories and ads which will all drive traffic to my website or events I am taking part in. I am focused on engaging with my customers so they are just as excited about the holiday promotions as I am.

Kethlyn White COO, Coil Beauty

Leading up to this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we will be launching our updated shipping policy. One of the biggest things we learned from last year was that, even with our awesome sale options during the holidays, customers were still having a hard time keeping up with the shipping cost. So, as of November 15, we will be launching our new policy. Make sure to stay tuned! 

Black Friday will also be the kickoff of our “Crazy Coil Christmas," where we take an advent calendar approach to sales leading up to the holiday. So, each day a new item will be on sale and, sometimes, it will be bundles or items of the same color. Our customers enjoyed the different themed sales each day, and they were also able to give them as gifts with our cute new holiday boxes. They are making a comeback as well.

Janet Schriever Founder, Code of Harmony

We will be doing a few gift sets that are great deals as well as our annual 25% off regular-priced items. I have found that the blanket discount is the most successful for us. What I have found is that people are not buying gifts as much as they are buying their favorite products for themselves.

Megan Whitman Chief Digital Officer, Kopari

Prior Black Friday deals showed us that some customers are looking for an opportunity to try new products. The deals don't always have to be the most giftable, but may encourage customers to try products they haven't yet due to the deal that's being offered. So, we are offering 20% off our entire portfolio to encourage trial versus just gifting.

Jean Baik Founder and Creative Chief Officer, Miss A

We’re going to be offering a lot of gift sets this Black Friday. Over the years, we have learned that customers get overwhelmed by our large selection of products and don’t know where to start. So we are making sets of best-sellers, self-care sets, and makeup sets so it’s easy to pick out as gifts. 

MICHELLE SHAFFER Founder and CEO, TwinMedix

We are doing a free gift of Pro:Essentials O2 Oxygen mask with every purchase. We learned from past sales that our customer loves a good advertising email with a free gift or a good discount such as 25% to 30% off. People are ready to shop during the holidays, and it's important to know your customer so you can offer them a deal that will get them ready to buy.

Sahar Saidi Founder and CEO, LUS Brands

Our 2019 Black Friday promo is still a secret, shhhhhh! We will be dropping that announcement to our email subscribers and social media followers early on Black Friday. Last year, we offered free shipping site-wide from Friday to Monday and that was crazy. We're trying to beat that this year, and have a big surprise for our biggest fans!

CHRIS CABRERA Founder, Naturally London

We will be doing some flash sales for our customers this year focusing heavily on Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Most importantly, we are offering a new limited-edition gift set that creates an experience for our customer. It allows us to partner with other small businesses. I have learned customers want to give the gift of an experience to their friends and loved ones. This is a huge focus for us this year.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to