Startups and indie beauty brands have a reputation for innovating first and fast. Bigger companies keep an eye on the indie sector in case the opportunity for partnerships, mergers, or a compelling inspiration should arise. The incubator strategy gives big corporations access to what could be considered fast-past, higher risk, or even experimental R&D. It creates a mutually beneficial business environment, where startups can tap into the experience and reach of multinationals, and the multinationals can get in on emerging innovations.
Just one week ago, on January 10, P&G launched a project in Cincinnati, Ohio, that puts a new twist on this concept. Preneur is a sort of indie retail popup marketplace. Or as the travel guide site CincinnatiUSA.com describes it: “Sponsored by Tide, Preneur is a shop that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship in Cincinnati.”
The shop features a rotating group of small, local businesses in any number of sectors. But the plan is that each grouping of retailers will have a central theme. 12 companies are part of the first cohort at Preneur, including the wellness technology platform Rhinomed, Urban Blooms (a non-profit that builds mural-like living wall gardens), and luxury skincare and wellness brand Arkadiance, according to an item about the P&G endeavor on the Cincinnati Business Courier site.
Quid pro quo
The participating companies get to be part of a very on-trend local, entrepreneurial retail concept. While P&G “is getting access to early adopters and innovative new products and learning from that. It's a reversal of what a corporate giant the size of P&G may typically do,” Andy Brownfield, writing for the Courier explains.
The incubator model doesn’t just expand R&I capabilities for the small and big brands, it builds loyalty and channels creativity toward corporations with the global infrastructure to scale new, lucrative ideas. It’s a logical next step in an economy that increasingly values the ownership of ideas.
These sorts of relationships are being cultivated by not only P&G at Preneur, but also by L’Oreal’s NEXT Generation Award program, the Sephora Accelerate initiative, Johnson & Johnson’s JLINX R&D program, and similar projects throughout the cosmetics and personal care industry.