Takeaways from Beauty Innovation Talks
The need for beauty tech is now + notes on upcoming events.
31 Oct 2023

Hey guys, welcome to another edition of Observations, coming this week from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where the oldest daughter is camped up with her boyfriend. Amsterdam is host to some of the best vintage stores in the world, and I always enjoy going visiting Mood IndigoBis!, and Episode looking for. vintage Levi’s. Don’t miss if you are in town.

I also discovered the wonderful The Book Exchange, a seller of vintage English books (among my picks; Seneca’s Letters from a stoicCopywriting by Mark Shaw, and One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty.

Programming notes:

• Next week we are hosting the first edition of Virtual Creatives Live. A series of live podcast conversations at the Lynk & Co showroom in Stockholm. First out is the brilliant 3D visualiser and Scandinavian MIND contributor Katarina Håkansson. Sign up here.

• I will make an appearance at the upcoming Fashion X, the second installment of Swedish Fashion Council’s updated take on a Fashion Week-type event. More on this later.

• Going to Borås Textile Days? I just booked my trip, and look forward to networking with leaders within fashion, tech, and academia. Let me know if you are around, would love to meet up.

• We are getting more and more interest for our Agency offering. The other day I got a request for a proposal from a gallery in Lima, Peru (!), so word on our branding prowess is traveling fast. Learn more in last week’s podcast, and at our website here.

Me welcoming guests at Beauty Innovation Talks last Wednesday.

Facing technology

It was a lovely crowd of 40 or so insiders from the Stockholm beauty scene that gathered in the auditorium of our headquarters at Grev Turegatan 30 in Stockholm last Wednesday. The occasion was the first Stockholm-based edition of Beauty Innovation Talks, and it was humbling to look out onto the crowd to see a mix of industry friends and new faces, all who seemed eager to learn about this edition’s topic: beauty tech.

We had some great speakers, inducing Selah Rui Li, founder of Ellure, and Miroslav Slavic, Chairman and Nordic CEO, FOREO, as well as our partners from Helsinki: Miikka Mäkiö, Senior Vice President of EMEA, Revieve, who together with Marcus Fogel, Senior Director Global Digital Services, Oriflame Cosmetics, delivered an insightful take on the future of digital technologies and personalisation.

Clearly, the discussion around beauty tech is an underserved one. Many speakers pointed out that it is not, in fact, the high-tech Nordics that are leading the way, but rather the South Koreans and Japanese. A humbling insight from an editor who regularly boasts about the Scandi supremacy when it comes to technology.

That could also explain why the three companies on stage that was leading the Nordic charge in new technologies in the beauty sector – the success saga Foreo, the startup Ellure, and the AI/AR savvy Revieve – all talked about how their business was thriving outside of the Nordics.

With Johan Magnusson, Miroslav Slavic, and Selah Rui LI, at Beauty Innovation Talks.
More photos from the event here.

A few takeaways from the talks:

• The line between beauty and medical is about to blur, according to Miroslav from Foreo. More in this in Johan Magnusson’s interview with their Founder Filip Sedic here. Keyword: diagnostics.

• Digitising the beauty industry is not about taking away the physical aspect of beauty, it’s about enabling better customer service, and more accurate diagnostics, and opportunities to optimise your supply chain. Miikka from Revieve: “We are not trying to replace human experience.”

• What’s the future for beauty retail? Selah Rue Li had a refreshing take: if we would design the beauty industry today, instead of 100 years ago, it would look completely different. If you prefab materials and produce on demand, you can offer an infinite amount of products and minimise overproduction. Other predictions from Selah: e-commerce will continue to reign, and physical retail will become even more experiential.

Stay tuned in this feed and on our podcast to hear more from the event.

Shout-out to my dear colleague Johan Magnusson for leading the charge in our Beauty Innovation track. Without his expertise we would not have the authority and confidence to host these events.

And if you missed this one, you get a new chance on November 22, also at our HQ at Grev Turegatan 30. The topic this time is “Science-backed beauty”. Lots of interesting ideas and insights to be shared by a great rooster of speakers.

See you then!


Loved hosting this conversation at Transformation Conference earlier this fall with two of the Nordics’ leading sustainability experts in fashion: Sandra Roos, Vice President Sustainability, Kappahl, and Jessica Cederberg Wodmar, EVP Global Sustainability & CSR, GANT. We talked about what they are doing to prepare for the new EU legislation, their view on the extended producer responsibility, and the need for new tech solutions. Listen here.

Reading list

This piece from Forbes makes the case that the luxury industry is getting away with a lot of greenwashing by pointing towards Fast Fashion as the sole culprit of environmental destruction by the fashion industry. The truth is of course far more complex. My five cents: yes, it’s good that one sector is not categorically good or bad for the environment, and the luxury sector has a lot to answer for. But overproduction is real and perhaps the biggest problem, and here fast fashion has a lot to answer for. The recommendation came via H&M’s new acting creative director Jörgen Andersson, who posted it on LinkedIn.

I’ve been getting a lot of reactions on my reporting on Digital Product Passport. One pilot project that I haven’t mentioned is Keep Electronics, which are developing DPP for the consumer tech industry. Thanks Per Brickstad from Transparent for pointing it out.