\Sephora is launching a new initiative in the world of influencer marketing. The beauty retailer has announced the Sephora x TikTok Beauty Incubator, a partnership that will teach cosmetic brands how to make the most of their short-from video channels.
The incubator, which has been launched in partnership with full-service agency Digitas, will span three sessions. The first two will be conducted via Zoom, while the third will be held at TikTok’s New York City office. The brands chosen to participate in the initiative are women-led and POC-led startups that have completed the Sephora Accelerate program. Three of those brands — Topicals, Eadem and Hyper Skin — will make up the first class of Incubator participants.
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Sephora VP of Social and Influencer Marketing Brent Mitchell told Glossy that the first Incubator session will focus on TikTok strategy, while the second session will help brands devise “a bigger TikTok plan.” For the final session, TikTok is calling in three members of its beauty community. Amy Chang, Rocio Lopez-Jimenez, and Nyma Tang will serve as advisors for incubator participants.
Chang, Lopez-Jimenez, and Tang all have substantial followings on TikTok, but their participation in the Incubator Program won’t include collaborations. Instead, TikTok and Sephora will pair brands with smaller “community creators” who hail from BIPOC backgrounds.
Sephora has a long history in the online video world. It has stocked products from beauty stars like Patrick Starrr and Manny Mua. More recently, it struck deals with TikTokers Addison Rae and Hyram Yarbo, though those partnerships ended with the associated products being removed from Sephora’s shelves. One issue, according to a recent post-mortem, was that the brands flagged whenever their founding influencers ceased to promote them.
With its new program, Sephora is helping partner brands adopt more sustainable influencer marketing models. “Brands that have a savvy understanding of creator-led social media and creator relations have a clear advantage in not only conceptualizing beauty content that resonates with their audience, but also in building genuine connections,” Mitchell said in a statement. “At Sephora, we have long been known as a brand builder in the prestige beauty landscape, and we are thrilled to partner with TikTok to share this unique creator-driven perspective with our brands and build a more inclusive beauty community.”
Sephora, TikTok, and Digitas are hoping that their partnership will continue past the first class of their co-led Incubator. Mitchell told Glossy that will program will run every quarter, with different Accelerator participants featured each time.