Image credit: Ron Kurokawa (@yakooza).
And we may not get this right, as our own education has just begun, but we’re doing the best we can.
Having looked at our budgets, our resources and our operational realities, we think we’ve got a great, sustainable idea to support equality and justice.
As you know, the whole idea for BEAUTY PIE came from the desire for equality, democracy and access to the world’s best beauty products – our inspiration being that everybody should get a ‘bigger piece of it’. Now, we hope that we can band together as a community to represent what we believe in!
(A bit of background for those who are new here, or those who think change should be immediate: execution in the cosmetics industry is not as easy for us as it seems. An order just for new jars can take up to 6 months to be delivered. Bottle pumps just went from a 12 to a 22 week lead time. So to manage expectations – if we start something tomorrow – we may not see a new product on the (virtual) shelf for at least 28 weeks. And we like to under-promise and overdeliver.)
Now, we operate a Buyers’ Club. This means that the bigger we get, the better prices we should be able to bring you. And 3 years ago when we started, our software system was programmed to literally take prices from lab invoices and reflect them dynamically into our product prices. This is still true today, and it sounds boring, but PLEASE KEEP READING!
Part of our pledge as a Buyers’ Club to members is that when we are able to buy a larger batch of product, members benefit from that, because the prices we feed through should be lower on each item. We receive invoices, prices adjust dynamically in our systems, and the savings are sent in real time to the member shopping on our website.
Plus, when we launched, we ordered huge batches of everything to ensure we’d have supply for a few years. Since then, if we’ve had to top-up an order or reorder a particular product, we’ve reordered in both big and small batches (automatically, depending on sell through of items per week). So prices may have gone up a little or down, but as our members are still not paying for middlemen, celebrity marketing or retailer markups (and never will), we always know our prices are unbeatable. And to go into further detail – we’ve never stopped to compare or contrast prices between shades of the same item. (We get that this is detailed, but PLEASE KEEP READING.)
It was pointed out that one of our products (a dark-toned oil-free Tinted SPF Moisturizer) was much more expensive in the darkest shade than the other four. We hadn’t noticed this, because our prices, as always, fed in from the factory invoice from the latest delivery we received. But it was quite a bit higher, and we understand how that might make someone feel buying that shade. It wasn’t something that was done intentionally. (Across all other products with shade ranges, prices go up and down, and often the lighter shades are higher because we sometimes place top-up orders last minute – again, based on the rate of sale.) If you’ve read our recent transparency report, you’ll see the other factors that influence the prices of a product at any given moment.
So PIE members, for now, we have changed the price of the item in question to be in line with the other Tinted SPF Moisturizer prices (and Beauty Pie will pick up the difference) which may go up or down as new batches come in.
Now, we’ve had comments from some people on our social pages that ‘all shades should be the same price’. And because of the way our software works (and anyone who works in tech programming will know that Rome is not changed in a day), it would take some reprogramming or manual adjusting for us to offer this. And so we’ve started thinking about how – in the future – we could have all foundation shades set at the exact same price.
Because it is very important that everybody feels celebrated at Beauty Pie, and while we thought we had a good mix of shades, we’ve listened and heard that it’s not good enough. At the same time, we have a commitment to the earth and our environment, and to not order so much product that it expires before we sell it and it ends up in landfill. (Minimum order quantities are 5000 per shade, so X 20 for example, that’s 100,000 bottles of foundation, which is not nothing.)
Now, it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to stock 40 shades of foundation – but we aim to introduce a wider selection of shades which should provide more breadth (and we’re sorry, but we know we’ll never have the same range as some of those giant conglomerates). We’ve already got 10 shades of a killer new concealer launching in September 2020 (we’ve been working on them for a while) and each one should work with at least two shades of foundation.
And to celebrate what we see as a spiritual awakening towards the mastering of equality and balance. And all those things are represented by the number 11. (Stay with us here.)
We thought: If we manually adjust the prices of all our foundations so that they are equal (instead of having dynamic pricing flowing through), each would have a members’ price of $11*. So when you buy a bottle of foundation, you donate the difference between the real members’ price (lower than $11) and the new $11 price (about a $3 increase, depending on the size of the batch that we buy), to a charity that supports justice, opportunity and unified action towards change, equality and anti-racism.
We love this idea because we can all support it, it represents our belief that we are all equal no matter our skin tone, and we can help others every day through the use of a beautiful daily reminder (our skin).
We have other initiatives in the works, along with our Invisible Hand Cream Project – we are just waiting for legal ‘OKs’ from the charities we’re partnering with to use their names in our communications (yes, we have to).
We’re setting up a monthly mentoring program with the leaders of our teams, whereby we’ll provide coaching and advice to young black men and women who want to get into the beauty industry. Also, we are all reading, listening and learning to get into the shoes of others so we can be as supportive and sensitive as possible.
And Marcia is going to rent herself out for advisory sessions about entrepreneurial thinking (which she never does because she’s a bit pressed for time) to large organizations who ask her, and will donate all proceeds to BAME and Black Lives Matter-related initiatives across the UK and the USA.
As always, if you have any feedback, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The whole team at BEAUTY PIE
*The typical retail price of an Italian luxury foundation is $40.