It was in late 2016 when QVC announced the debut of its cleverly branded all-beauty-all-the-time channel Beauty iQ. At that time, beauty comprised 17% of QVC’s sales globally, as Cosmetics Design reported.
Many current cosmetics and personal care industry success stories involve Qurate retail channels—QVC is famously where IT Cosmetics (now a L’Oréal brand) got its start. And, other innovative startups and indie beauty brands have made a good showing on QVC as well: brands like Tula, DermaFlash, blendSMART, and NEST fragrances to name to few.
“Qurate Retail Group will be a new venture in more ways than just a change of name,” says Greg Maffei, who will be company chairman going forward, in a media release about the debut of Qurate Retail. “We will be a select group of like-minded businesses that provide customers with curated collections of unique products, made personal and relevant by the power of storytelling, combining the best of retail, media and social.”
Mike George, previously CEO of QVC, is president of the new company. A company that comprises “eight leading retail brands — QVC, HSN, zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, and Improvements — all dedicated to providing a ‘third way to shop,’ beyond transactional ecommerce or traditional brick-and-mortar stores,” according to the release.
The new company and the businesses that led up the realization of Qurate exist beyond the boundaries of conventional retail channels. They exist in the psychographic and new media spaces where consumers circulate in real time—they provide the entertainment, products, and service that shoppers (or perhaps, shall we say, people) crave and expect.
“As Qurate Retail Group,” the release notes, “the combined organization will serve 23 million customers worldwide and will have 27,000 team members in the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Poland, and China.” And that’s a business that generated $14bn in revenue last year.
“We are creating a unique organization,” George tells the press, “with the scale to drive extraordinary innovation in the retail space. With our highly innovative teams working together across brands, we will be able to offer an expanding array of engaging, content-rich shopping experiences, featuring world-class and entrepreneurial brands, supported with outstanding customer service.”
In case it isn’t clear by now, Qurate is about curation—selecting and delivering a mix of lifestyle brands that address the sensibility of the current moment. As George puts it, “Our new logo and name reflect our unmatched expertise in curation, which goes far beyond product.”
“We will be the unrivaled leaders in curating experiences, conversations, and communities for millions of highly discerning shoppers — bringing joy, inspiration and humanity to shopping. In addition, we will curate large audiences, across multiple platforms, for our thousands of brand vendors. These strengths, which are all thanks to our team members, set Qurate Retail Group apart from other retailers.”
Curation as commodity has never seen an entity such as this, until now.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.