The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way fashion and beauty brands produce, sell, and market their products.
Business Insider asked founders how their companies have pivoted in response to the pandemic and how their industries will change as a result.
Rebecca Minkoff's Female Founder Collective organized a Support Your Ladies directory of women-owned businesses in partnership with Ladies Get Paid.
Michael Preysman, founder and CEO of Everlane, said there's a new sense of urgency to create a more sustainable supply chain.
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Coronavirus has pushed every industry to face the present and future simultaneously with caution, resilience, and innovation.
This is especially true for the beauty and fashion industry, which is perhaps one of the most accustomed to change, as it adapts to new trends and consumer behaviors on a monthly, if not daily, basis. The pandemic is yet another shift that will define what we wear, how we shop, and whose style we emulate for years to come.
Retail, for example, has been shifting online for more than a decade, but quarantine put ecommerce brands in the fast lane since they are instantly accessible to at-home shoppers.
"Now, brands are required to innovate at an accelerated pace in order to survive," Manish Chandra, CEO and cofounder of Poshmark, told Business Insider.
We asked founders in beauty and fashion how their companies have pivoted in response to the pandemic and how their industries — and the world — will change as a result.
Below are their responses as told to Business Insider.SEE ALSO: Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra on the future of 'solopreneurs'
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Rebecca Minkoff, founder of fashion label Rebecca Minkoff, said a newfound degree of transparency is building strength and power
When I first launched Rebecca Minkoff, I wanted to design collections that made women feel strong and powerful. We'd help you celebrate your milestone moments. These past few weeks have really challenged that initial intention and mission of mine. I've had to, like so many others in retail, pivot my business on a dime. Truth be told, I find it hard sometimes to feel strong and powerful, and those celebratory moments can feel fewer and farther between lately.
My industry – our society – is faced with so much uncertainty. I take a little comfort, though, in what this ordeal has taught me, and the hidden superpowers I've seen emerge among networks, businesses, consumers, and frankly, within myself and my team. Never before have we embraced this degree of transparency or kind of deep connection with one another. 'How are you feeling? What can we do to help you now?'
The Support Your Ladies directory of women-owned businesses – which my network, Female Founder Collective, launched with Ladies Get Paid – came together in a matter of weeks, for example. That's pretty badass, and it was borne out of a real place of vulnerability and connection to our fellow female small businesses owners. I hope the world remembers that there is strength and power in these moments, too. They may look a little different to us, but they're still something to celebrate — as friends, as parents, as a community, and as business leaders.
Michael Preysman, founder and CEO of clothing brand Everlane, said there's a new sense of urgency to create a more sustainable supply chain
This pandemic forced all of us to confront the challenges of the world and reflect on how connected we are as a global community. With this comes a responsibility as an individual and a business to drive change and create positive impact for both people and the planet.
We now have even more of a sense of urgency to create a more sustainable supply chain using the innovations already at our disposal: renewable energy, regenerative agriculture and recycled materials. These are seemingly small yet important steps in creating cumulative change for a better way of operating our business.
As we make plans for the long road ahead, those plans must continue to offer true value to our customers without sacrificing our values of protecting the planet.
Katia Beauchamp, cofounder and CEO of beauty subscription Birchbox, said 'digital' will take on a new meaning
I've always been a believer that bringing our whole selves to work is an asset to productivity. This experience has added depth to what it means; asking about each other's health and the well being of families, meeting our team's families, pet families, and literally inviting each other into our homes (albeit virtually) has added depth that would take months or years to create. This experience will change how we relate and collaborate because it is bringing down the walls and inviting the whole person to the work at hand.
The in-person experience will be altered permanently, and will likely have a positive impact on the penetration of e-commerce and foundational beauty. (i.e. skincare, supplements, wellness) With that, 'digital' is going to take on an entirely new meaning. Even digitally native brands will have to challenge their own status quos to adapt to this new normal. The key will be finding new ways to create real and authentic connections knowing that the entire industry is shifting online.
We are learning what we are capable of when we are deeply motivated to protect each other. There is an obvious opportunity to leverage the experience and apply this level of commitment to education, social justice, the environment — effectively putting our energy and talent toward building the world we want to live in.
Manish Chandra, founder and CEO of resale shopping app Poshmark, said retail will look very different on the other side of the pandemic
It's an unprecedented time for businesses of all kinds and few are immune to the impact that COVID-19 has had on our society and economy.
And yet, it has been wonderful to not only see how the Poshmark team has responded, continuing to serve our community and keeping the business running strong, but also see Poshmark's community in the US and Canada adapting to this new normal — finding creative ways to come together, list new inventory, and run businesses on the platform.
We built Poshmark from the ground up specifically to enable millions of people to sell from home, ship from home, shop from home, and receive their purchases at home. Our peer-to-peer model and extensive suite of seller tools makes it easy for anyone to earn extra income, while our highly distributed logistics and inventory network means that our model is more resilient to disruptive world forces than others might be. Because of this foundation, Poshmark has been able to continue to operate without extensive changes. Our innate architecture supports this new way of life and I believe the kind of personalized and immersive retail experience fostered on our platform will be the "new normal" going forward.
Pre-COVID-19, the retail industry was already undergoing significant changes as companies worked to meet consumer demands for genuine human connections and personalized online shopping experiences. And now, brands are required to innovate at an accelerated pace in order to survive.
Retail will look very different on the other side of this. As consumers continue to turn to platforms that prioritize financial and environmental sustainability, resale will be at the forefront. The intergenerational movement that resale has ignited is fueling the acceleration of social commerce at scale, delivering on consumers' need for connections and a newly awakened sense of community.
If one thing is true, this pandemic has exacerbated people's need and desire for genuine connection. While nothing can replace the feeling of a hug from a beloved family or friend, we're all looking to feel seen, heard, and supported, and our hope is that now more than ever, Poshmark can be a destination where anyone from anywhere can find this support from a vibrant and inclusive community.
Kendra Scott, founder of jewelry brand Kendra Scott, shifted the business to virtual try-on experiences
Since I started this company, being here for our customer has always come first. I knew that if we created an emotional connection with our customer, the transaction would naturally follow. We're seeing that connection pay off right now, and are continuing to meet our community where they are.
In the midst of these challenging times, we as a business are learning to pivot quickly, think outside the box, and fast-track innovative programs that will help our customers and communities most. We're finding more ways than ever to engage with our Kendra Scott customer, whether through new e-commerce experiences like Virtual Try-On to meet those shopping from home, or safely rolling out curbside pick-up to re-connect with our brick-and-mortar customers.
And while philanthropy has always been at the core of who we are, it is more important now than ever, and we are continuing our commitment to giving back through virtual events, raising funds for Feeding America to serve 2.1 million meals, and making masks for frontline workers in our local communities.
The customer experience and our heart for our community have always been important at Kendra Scott. In our world today that takes on a whole new meaning, reinforcing my belief that we are so much stronger when we stand together.