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New Prestige Beauty Online Retailer Coterie Launches

Posted: September 18, 2012

Coterie is a new online shopping experience designed for the ultra-busy woman that makes discovering and purchasing prestige beauty products informational, social and effortless. Coterie introduces a technology platform that is designed specifically for online beauty shoppers, curating and editorializing peer-influenced exclusive offers, then enabling replenishment of these items direct from their personalized virtual vanity.

Specifically, members receive access to the most noteworthy prestige beauty products coupled with rich content and exclusive introductory offers, and Coterie partners with beauty influencers who will help launch Coterie's most unique feature—the virtual vanity. Members may shop influencer vanities adding these products to their own vanity for future shopping.

Based in San Francisco, California, Coterie was founded by veterans of companies such as Bare Escentuals, Sephora, Amazon, YSL and L'Oreal. This team fuses a deep understanding of the beauty industry with next generation e-commerce trends.

To date, the beauty industry has seen little impact from consumer Internet trends compared to other marketplaces. Muna Farhat, Coterie’s co-founder and CEO, states that this is because of marketplace dynamics and consumer needs. She shares, “Women need more help when making beauty buying decisions online [compared to goods like fashion] and thus far, traditional beauty e-commerce sites have not provided this level of support." The beauty industry is characterized by large manufacturers, which are selective of their online suppliers. This makes it challenging for innovative ecommerce start-ups to emerge in this space. "We've overcome this hurdle by having a seasoned beauty team, which have enabled us to secure 95 brand partners pre-launch,"Farhat states. Coterie brand partners include Kevyn Aucoin, butter London, Dr. Brandt, Perricone MD, Stila and Ellis Faas.

Coterie is venture backed by SoftTech VC, Javelin Venture Partners and other angel investors focused on e-commerce. "What struck us about Coterie was the team's ability to balance the white-glove standards of high-end beauty brands with the end-to-end discovery-to-purchase needs of their discerning customers in a single online platform. Through a combination of content, influencers, and value-driven offers, Coterie lowers the barrier for women everywhere to discover, try, and replenish coveted prestige beauty products and unlocking the online potential for exclusive brands," notes SoftTech VC ‘s Jeff Clavier.

Coterie also aligns with two key consumer Internet trends: the continued growth of female shoppers moving online, (114 million women in the US shop online today, driving a social commerce CAGR of 94%) and the use of new social tactics that help spread word of mouth. Catherine Magee, Cotterie’s co-founder and senior vice president of marketing, states, "Word of mouth is the top driver of beauty purchases and influences over 80% of beauty products purchased today. We connect today's beauty conversations with commerce in a way that's never been done before."