Odile Roujol is well known in the cosmetics and personal care industry for her work with YSL, Channel, and as CEO of L'Oréal Lancôme brand. In the intervening years, Roujol has made quite an impact in the startup world, working with an array of business ventures and accelerators as an advisor, board member, mentor, etc.
In early 2017 she founded BeautyTechSF, the first chapter of a now global Meetup community. Besides that first group in San Francisco, California, and the newly launched chapter in New York City; BeautyTech also hosts events and networking meetups in Los Angeles, California; Paris, France; London, England; Seoul, South Korea; and Tokyo, Japan.
The full BeautyTech community numbers around 400 entrepreneurs and investors. And Monday’s launch gathering brought in around 50 people: beauty tech founders, accelerator specialists, investors, advisors, and allies.
Roujol and a handful of the beauty tech founders in the room began their day speaking on an Innovation in Beauty and Fashion panel at the WIN Forum, an event focused on women in innovation. In her remarks there, Roujol highlighted several trends that are influencing the cosmetics and personal care industry today; most notably perhaps the fact that “millennials are shaping our behavior.” Consumers with shared interested, she explained, are coming together (often though tech) to learn about, discover, and buy products. It’s a trend that makes beauty tech all the more relevant in the modern and future marketplace.
Founders and startups at every stage—early, mid, as well as those that have already effectively used tech to scale—are the primary members of BeautTech. However, investors, corporate allies, and media are welcome too.
Philippe Garnier, vice president of business development at Octoly and a local leader of the new BeautyTechNY Meetup group, spoke with Cosmetics Design about why entrepreneurs in the beauty technology space are so necessary.
“Tech innovation is coming from founders and entrepreneurs,” Garnier tells this publication. “The corporate world is another world,” he says explaining that executives in conventional beauty and personal care companies are eager to hear about or discover something truly new.
“The disruption that is happening in beauty is very interesting,” says Garnier, “and New York needs that.”
Roujol seems to agree, in her comments at the WIN Forum and again at the launch event, she suggested that the best beauty tech startup will have a co-founder from Los Angeles and a co-founder from New York, bringing together the best engineering with the best creativity—a venture that could well come into being thanks to BeautyTech.
The BeautyTechNY group is currently planning a panel event for September of this year. To learn more follow @BeautyTechNY on Twitter.
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.