How do I even begin to sum up a year like 2020? Perhaps by sharing the moments, events and changes that struck me most in this unprecedented moment.
I will remember the fear. The loss. The anger and frustration. The physical distancing and the lockdowns. The Zoom meetings. (So many Zoom meetings.) The heroism and sacrifice of everyday essential workers and medical personnel. I will also remember the swiftness with which the beauty industry responded to a world that changed virtually overnight.
From maskne skin care solutions (Page 8) to at-home hair and nail care, suppliers, brands and retailers delivered new experiences designed for this unusual time. Countless companies pivoted operations to manufacture and distribute the must-have personal care product of 2020: hand sanitizer.
Industry leaders stepped up to support ailing professional beauty businesses like salons and spas, creating new ways to bolster small-scale entrepreneurship.
Supply chains experienced unprecedented global disruption, impacting the distribution of some of the industry’s hottest brands. With stores closed or restricted, consumers flocked online, requiring everyone to think direct-to-consumer.
Despite the upheaval, clean, conscious, sustainable and ethical beauty charged forward, expanding circular economy concepts and becoming more inclusive. Wellness, meanwhile, shifted from luxury to necessity.
Amid the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others, the Black Lives Matter movement surged like no time before. Its impact shook up the industry, thanks to leaders such as Sharon Chuter, founder of Uoma Beauty, whose “Pull Up or Shut Up” campaign spurred brands and retailers to publicly account for their representation of BIPOC professionals across their organizations. The repercussions of the revelations and ensuing pledges from companies will have impacts for years to come.
Meanwhile, upstart initiatives, such as the 15% pledge, which calls on major retailers to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses, equivalent to the proportion Black people represent in the U.S. population, is making change at the point of sale.
In my end-of-year sign-off last year I wisely declined to make any predictions for 2020. I will keep that tradition this year. But I will say this: beauty finds itself in an entirely changed world. New norms and market realities will reshape the industry long after this pandemic. I believe all of us are up to the challenge and well-equipped to emerge stronger and better.
I wish you all a happy, safe and successful 2021. Be well.
Editor in Chief