QVC Joins the Beauty Festival Fray

QVC will enter the beauty festival fray this summer with Beauty Bash, its own iteration of the immersive, Instagram-ready beauty experience favored by Millennials and Gen Zers.
About 6,500 attendees are expected at the three-day event, which will take place June 7 through 9 at the Fillmore event space in Philadelphia. Tickets, which go on sale March 29, will be available in two tiers: VIP access is priced at $225 per ticket, and general admission is priced at $125.
Retailers are increasingly getting involved in the beauty festival space, dominated by mega-events such as Beautycon and Ipsy's Generation Beauty. West Chester, Pa.-based QVC, a division of Qurate Retail Group, is the latest beauty retailer to introduce a live event, following Australia-based Mecca's Meccaland and Sephora's Sephoria, which made its debut in Los Angeles in the fall.
QVC's Beauty Bash is looking to differentiate by catering to its core, beauty-devoted customer, rather than the young consumers most festivals tend to draw. "We're not necessarily hoping to bring in a new customer with this — it's more about driving continued loyalty," said Rob Robillard, vice president of integrated beauty merchandising at Qurate. "For us as a retailer, we lack the ability to touch our customers one-on-one because of the nature of our platforms. such an important part of how we can expand the QVC experience."
Beauty Bash is a revamp of an event QVC held at its West Chester headquarters from 2005 to 2011 — the company would sell 2,000 tickets to some of its top customers, and hold a daylong event where they could meet with on-air hosts and walk away with a gift bag. Robillard called Beauty Bash of 2019 "a complete and total reboot" of the original event. "We don't want a table and chairs and people just saying hi," he said, noting that there is no strict criteria for participating brands other than an expectation to provide an Instagram-friendly experience and plenty of product samples. "We've tried to push our vendors to think about how to make this an event where they can truly connect with consumers," said Robillard.
About 50 of QVC's vendors are expected to participate in the weekend-long event, which will begin with a VIP cocktail party — the retailer's top 200 beauty customers will be gifted free admission — and there will be two sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday. Products will be available for purchase — no sku count was available at press time — and all attendees will receive a gift bag with a retail value of close to $600.
Brands confirmed to participate in Beauty Bash thus far include It Cosmetics, Dyson, Wen, Josie Maran, BareMinerals, Mally, Laura Geller, Sunday Riley, Peter Thomas Roth, NuFace, Beauty Bio, Elemis, Tarte and Dr. Perricone. Also happening throughout the event will be various speaker sessions and panels with QVC brands. Robillard said the speakers, including Jamie Kern Lima of It Cosmetics, Chaz Dean of Wen, Josie Maran, Sunday Riley  and Laura Geller, have been asked to speak to the Beauty Bash crowd about their own experiences as entrepreneurs. There will also be opportunities for attendees to meet QVC on-air hosts, such as Shawn Killinger.
QVC declined to discuss the cost for vendors to participate in Beauty Bash, though Robillard noted much of the cost of the event will be absorbed by ticket sales and outside-beauty sponsors from the greater QVC portfolio, including kitchen and electronics brands.
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