Indie Beauty Brands Are Already Using AI In A Big Way. Here’s How.
For the latest edition of our ongoing series posing questions relevant to indie beauty, we asked 19 beauty entrepreneurs, executives, public relations professionals and marketing specialists the following questions: Will you use AI in your business? Why or why not? If you are using it or will use it, what for?
- Alia Raza Founder, CEO and Creative Director, Régime des Fleurs
I will absolutely use AI in my business, if for no other reason than to experiment with new ideas and new technologies. AI is happening whether we like it or not. No business wants to be left in the dust.
I asked ChatGPT to suggest some tweaks to my new perfume Pollination, and I was pleasantly surprised by its knowledge of aromatic molecules and raw materials. And I loved working with Dall-E on the accompanying campaign imagery. It was inspiring and fascinating on an artistic level.
- Justin Silver Co-Founder and COO, Aavrani
We have already started implementing AI into the business. Social media planning, writing hard hitting emails, even product photography are all influenced or handled by AI. We're in the beginning of seeing tons of new tools leveraging AI.
That quote itself was from ChatGPT answering the prompt. My photo, also made with AI. Some of the main AI tools I use include ChatGPT (for all things text), TryItOn AI (for headshots), Gamma AI (for landing pages and decks), Dall-E 2 (for text to new images), and Pixis AI (for AI optimized Meta Ad buying).
If you're not using these tools and learning new ones each day, you're missing out. This is treadmill-type technology, either you're running forward or you're falling behind.
- Brad Farrell CMO, Beekman 1802
We believe in taking advantage of all of the latest technologies that can help us to connect with our neighbors (what we call our customers) in a unique way. For example, we were one of the first beauty companies to incorporate AR technology into our packaging last year with our Bridgerton x Beekman 1802 collection, where it literally came to life for fans, creating a highly visual and interactive experience.
For example, when you hover over the cameo on our Lady Whistledown Soap Set using the app Artivive, the woman in the image will blow a kiss, turn into a bouquet of 3D flowers and leave you a message. The candle, aptly called “I Burn for You,” has a flame that comes to life, etc.
We even turned our Kindness Shop in Sharon Springs into the Bridgerton family home using the same AR technology. Our plan is to continue bringing AR to life this year and into 2024 both in our packaging and brand experiences as we find it can truly create disruptive and fun ways to surprise and delight our neighbors.
As for AI, we just started experimenting with ChatGPT while working on an upcoming campaign launching in August. It’s equal parts amazing and almost scary how precise the output can be! We asked a variety of questions and received some great results that helped guide us on scripting digital and social video content.
Not only was it inspiring, but a quick and easy way to move the project forward. What’s even more fascinating is the level of detailed education ChatGPT can offer around products and ingredients. However, when it comes to skincare consultations, we still find that nothing can replace one-on-one in-person or virtual conversations with a skincare expert, even AI.
- Jamie Mandor-Glassman Co-Founder, WYOS
The easy answer here is yes, of course. If you are not already using AI on a daily basis, even if it is just to learn, you are probably behind. But the implications of using AI are nuanced and not fully known.
As brand leaders, we need to be aware of what we are both putting into the system and what we are taking out. For example, if we use AI to generate headlines, social media copy, product names, etc., there is no president yet for who owns those assets. If we look to visual AI programs like Dall-E 2, the lines continue to blur.
Say I have the program put a WYOS Shaving Suds Stick in front of an AI-generated background, do I own the rights to that image? Unclear.
Today at WYOS we are mostly using AI for inspiration, research, prompts and idea generation, but there are so many more uses we have not yet put to use mostly because of some of the issues mentioned above.
With the constant need for new content, we could see us using it more often to write copy lines, generate imagery and prompt idea generation.
- Raquel Roxanne Nowak Founder and Creative Director, Matrescence
In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, leveraging AI is crucial for maintaining efficiency and remaining relevant. Our team at Matrescence has been actively exploring and testing various AI tools to optimize operations and provide an enhanced experience for our audience of mothers. The tools we are testing are ChatGPT 4, MarketMuse, Microsoft Designer, Flick and Adobe Firefly
As a result, we've experienced significant productivity gains by reducing the time spent on research, organizing product selling points and generating compelling copy for ads and social posts. AI has also proven invaluable in quickly evaluating content that resonates with our audience. By tailoring content for each segment, we can produce more of what they love and pivot swiftly, if necessary.
While AI cannot replace the human creativity that our team brings to the table, it has substantially improved our efficiency and output by automating numerous tasks and given us a deeper understanding of customers' needs and preferences. This insight allows us to focus on and nurture the aspects of our business that we value most like the community building and helps us maintain our customer-centric approach.
- Richard Anderson Founder, Hi Beautiful You
I do not plan to use AI tools like ChatGPT in my business because I find them impersonal and cold. I’ve helped build successful beauty brands over the last three decades cultivating relationships, being creative and taking the time to find the unique white space and opportunity.
AI has none of that and never will. You cannot replace the human connection that allows for creativity, warmth and perception. I can’t imagine a time where I would feel comfortable turning to an AI tool versus a creative director, copywriter or another person on my team to help develop new products, brainstorm an advertising campaign, build my website or speak directly with our customers.
I feel that businesses that use AI show their customers that they do not care for them or have enough time to connect with them via a customer service portal with a real person behind it. When I need help and receive a “bot” message, I immediately ask to speak with a human. That could make someone call me “old-fashioned,” but I fear that AI will quickly lose the personal touch that makes the shopping experience an actual “experience.”
- Pooja Johari Founder and CPO, 7e Wellness
We currently use AI in our business and absolutely intend to continue doing so. In terms of product, our primary area of focus for AI is how can use it to enhance the MyoLift device as the personal aesthetician and skin coach for our consumers. Our MyoLift QT app is already progressing in that direction by offering personalized treatment plans based on users’ skin conditions and needs.
Our goal is to further this implementation by using machine learning algorithms to hyper-personalize the user experience of the MyoLift devices. For example, we can use AI technology to analyze user data to identify patterns in usage, skin condition and results, and use this information to automatically adjust the device's settings and recommended treatment for each individual user.
Another area is real-time interactive usage feedback and following along using combination of the smartphone vision and human augmented aesthetician bot to ensure accurate movements, form and frequency for best results. Targeted promotional ads, best practices, tips and motivation based on users usage pattern and engagement are other areas where AI will be leveraged.
Besides the aforementioned product areas, there are numerous internal business operations where AI will be leveraged to make the business more effective. For example, sales and marketing is one area where lot can be done. Leveraging AI for best most targeted ad copies, content creation for marketing collateral is one area our team has started some efforts. Customer support is a huge dimension where chatbots providing 24/7 customer service support can help us respond to customer inquiries quickly and efficiently.
These are immediate low-hanging areas where we have lot of thinking and some efforts already under way to leverage AI.
- Kyle Landry Co-Founder and President, Delavie Sciences
Absolutely! The pharmaceutical industry is looking towards AI to help accelerate the identification of novel compounds for specific indications. So should the cosmetic industry. Using AI will help identify new ingredients more efficiently and potentially predict molecular pathway interactions which would provide R&D scientists a stronger foundation.
Delavie Sciences is always looking for the next disruptor, and AI will allow us to screen our R&D portfolio for the next class of active ingredients. It would not surprise us if a few unexpected candidates were identified along the way. The use of AI for ingredient development will not only help the industry, but will also help consumers since they will gain access to effective ingredients fast than ever before.
- Gabrielle Braden Founder, Day+West
There are several ways to incorporate AI into Day+West's day-to-day business. We could leverage AI to analyze customer data and behavior to effectively focus marketing efforts to reach the right customers with the right message at the right time.
AI can automate tasks such as inventory management, scheduling and customer service, streamlining operations. It could empower me as a founder to stay up to date with innovations in the beauty space to ensure we are offering cutting-edge products and services
(The above answer was generated with the support of chat.openai.com).
Every founder and CEO, irrespective of industry, would be remiss not to explore how AI can produce human efficiency. With that said, every tool can be weaponized.
As a company founded on the principles of transparency and kindness to people and planet, Day+West will continue to carefully monitor the ethical and societal implications of any and all technology we employ and partnerships in which we engage.
- Cherie Hoeger Co-Founder and CEO, Saalt
Yes and no. We’ve discussed as a team how AI could be used by our content team to help jump start our blog, SEO and educational writing needs that can then be reviewed by our internal team and expert consultants for quality and accuracy.
However, as with all content, the way you differentiate your brand and bring unique value to consumers is through original and innovative content that’s true to your brand ethos and voice, and that will always be accomplished best by real human ingenuity and authenticity.
- Stephanie Scott-Bradshaw CEO, First and Last PR
We started looking into AI for business and, although I was extremely skeptical at first, we are finding some ways to help automate and make our operational processes more efficient while growing our revenue.
Keeping our company values top of mind, we have set some AI usage rules, which include continuing to author our own work and not using ChatGPT or any other AI
software for writing, interviews or pitching.
I see AI as a supplemental tool to enhance what we are doing, but not a tool to replace anyone or anything. For example, we are using an AI platform that recognizes sound differences to help transcribe meeting notes, which in turn helps with our accuracy in reporting, something that we take very seriously. Error-free work leads to happy clients and a happier team, so I’m all in for that.
We are also looking into software that measures engagement behavior to help identify areas that will increase profit by helping to vet and qualify our sales leads.
Authenticity is really important for us as a company, so we are also “reverse AI” as a part of our hiring process to detect if a candidate is using AI to create answers to job interview questions. This would help to show us that this may not be a practice that aligns with our company ethos therefore, not exactly a fit for our team.
- Mahay Tremblay Co-Founder, Nuda
There are several areas in our business where I could see us implementing AI. Although AI lacks voice and creativity, it does help organize and improve the efficiency of tasks. We often use tools like ChatGPT to aid in research or Dall-E to help us brainstorm new design systems or directions.
I think the beauty industry or all industries in general will be shaken up by the implementation of AI in the workspace. At Nuda, we want to take advantage of every advancement we have at hand in order to deliver the best product to our customers.
- Jaleh Bisharat Co-Founder and CEO, NakedPoppy
I love this question because NakedPoppy is an AI native. This means we use AI and lots of color science to pick out your best makeup colors. Our AI-based system rates every makeup and skincare product in our online store just for you based on how well the color will flatter you (of course!), but also factoring in dozens of other variables like your skin type, age and any ingredient sensitivities.
When I walk into a store or go to an assortment-rich website, I’m overwhelmed by the number of brands and products. Most of them will never flatter me. I think we’ll look back someday and wonder how we ever shopped in such a chaotic way. Fueled by AI, NakedPoppy generates your personalized online store, with your best matches sorted to the top.
In terms of ChatGPT, we’ve invested some real time to test it out. So far, it’s been like a well-meaning, but junior intern not yet ready to be promoted. The more concrete, specific and detailed you can be in your brief to this intern, the more likely you are to get results that save you time.
ChatGPT saves us time on things like Pinterest captions because, to be honest, pinners are more interested in the visuals than the captions, so just generating the draft with the right keywords is most of the work. For higher stakes content, we still don’t really use ChatGPT, for reasons you may find ironic.
As an AI company that cares deeply about personalization, it’s very important that customers know we care about each and every one of them as individuals. This is why, for example, we have knowledgeable people doing thoughtful one-to-one customer service and why each order goes out with a personalized note. This may be the antithesis of AI and the efficiency it promises, but we think the personal touch will never stop being important.
- Megan Brown Bennett CEO and President, Light Years Ahead
In my line of business, public relations, the key to our success is building personal relationships with the media. Because of this, AI would not work in our business because it wouldn’t be authentic.
I believe that this would take away from the success of our business. We are all about building trust and this is from our personal outreach.
- Fred Scarf Founder, Stop Guessing
As the founder of Stop Guessing, we are launching an AI-powered skincare app that uses machine learning to change the ingredients in your skincare routine as your skin changes. The app monitors changes in your skin through monthly updates.
Every month, you take a picture of your skin, and the app looks at the success of the ingredients you're using and determines what ingredients your skin needs. Stop Guessing then sends you that product with data driven ingredients. I have relatives that were building algorithms before it was even a common word and my relative, Herbert Scarf, was considered for a Nobel Prize nomination for his creation of the Scarf algorithm.
At Stop Guessing, we believe that your skincare routine should be as smart as your smartphone, and research shows that artificial Intelligence can sometimes outperform doctors for these kinds of skincare determinations.
As we further develop our app, I've learned that it's not about piling on skincare products, it's about finding the right ingredients at the right time to get the job done.
- Kazuko Tatsumoto Deputy GM, Albion
We use AI technology in the production line to maintain our pristine production. In partnership with a professor at Tokyo University and other technology companies, we implemented a quality check AI system that detects dust or irregularity in the films wrapping the product box.
The film covers reflect light and seeing tiny dust with human eyes is difficult. With the implementation of deep-learning technology, we improved our detection level so that we can deliver high-quality products to our customers.
- Nora Zukauskaite Global Marketing Director, Brand Agency London
At Brand Agency London, we have trialed the use of ChatGPT across the marketing, PR and social teams, where each team utilized and implemented the platform across their job role.
We have seen the advantages of utilizing AI tools such as ChatGPT across the marketing, PR and social media channels to increase efficiency, productivity and creative thinking across all marketing channels. It can assist in tactical tasks and serve as a springboard when it comes to ideation for campaign, product and new brand launches, writing SEO optimized captions and drafting product press releases.
The tool is not able to completely replace creative ideation, but helps serve as a springboard for self-starting ideas. It is also able to pull a lot of information from other online sources so saves research time. We, of course, are carefully monitoring all industry conversations regarding fake news and privacy so that we can ensure only for positive practice.
At Brand Agency London, we are currently testing and utilizing the AI tool ChatGPT in the front end of the business (marketing) using the technology in a positive approach to aid in positive change, and this is what we have witnessed thus far. We are analyzing to see where further developments in the back end (e.g., warehousing, supply chain, etc.) can be utilized.
- Amy Yuan Co-Founder and CTO, Proven
In 2017, Ming Zhao and I founded Proven using AI and other advanced technologies to fundamentally change the relationship between consumers and skincare. AI is at the heart of everything Proven does. It starts with our proprietary Skin Genome Project, the largest beauty database on earth, which learns about customer’s individual skincare needs and concerns.
I created The Skin Genome Project by combining insights from thousands of academic articles about skincare with millions of customer reviews about thousands of products to build a massive dataset. Consumers then take the Skin Genome Quiz on Proven’s website, which gathers inputs based on 47 factors about you that matter when it comes to determining what skincare products you should be using, and they span four key categories: your environment, your lifestyle, your skin concerns, and your skin goals.
The quiz categorizes people into more than 60,000 subcategories to know exactly what ingredients would serve your variety of 47 factors. Once the quiz is complete, your personalized skincare is created and shipped directly to you. And, as the seasons change and your life changes, be it moving, having a baby or even entering menopause, Proven products update like a software update in order to continue to serve your skin and be the most effective for your skin at that time. This is all possible thanks to AI.
In 2018, our company was recognized for our groundbreaking work in AI, being awarded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Award. Proven has also been awarded two groundbreaking patents protecting Proven’s approach to personalization. Proven believes that consumers deserve better. When there is technology that can provide personalized, adaptive skincare products, one-size-fits-all solutions no longer make sense.
By harnessing the power of AI and other advanced technologies, Proven is fundamentally changing the traditional methods of product discovery and recommendation, setting a new standard for personalized care in the skincare industry.
This AI-driven approach has revolutionized the skincare industry by leveraging advanced technologies such as NLP (Natural Language Processing), GPT, LLM (Large Language Models), recommender systems to analyze 80 million consumer testimonials on over 100,000 products. This enables us to match users with personalized product recommendations, bringing significant benefits to consumers and setting a new standard for skincare companies.
Proven is using AI to achieve the following:
- Offering personalized skincare solutions: Our AI system, powered by GPT and LLM, processes vast amounts of consumer data to provide tailored recommendations, improving skincare outcomes and satisfaction.
- Reducing time and saving costs: Machine learning-based recommender systems reduce trial and error, saving consumers time and money by connecting them with proven products.
- Providing access to reliable information: Our approach offers data-driven insights derived from analyzing 80 million consumer reviews, helping users make informed skincare decisions.
- Enhancing customer support: AI-powered tools deliver prompt, personalized assistance, ensuring a positive experience.
- Adapting to changing needs: Our AI system continuously adapts to users’ evolving skincare needs, maintaining relevance and effectiveness.
- Accessibility to a wider range of products: Our AI-driven approach helps users discover diverse products from a pool of over 100,000 options suited to their specific needs.
- Sienna Park U.S. Brand Manager, Vodana
I am already using AI for marketing purposes. I usually ask it to create a list of slogans or taglines and mix them up to create the one that best fits our brand.
I think it'll also be useful for creating product detail pages by asking the AI to identify the different types of hair types or skin, and then leverage the key features of our products for each type.
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