23 Nov 2021 --- Chris Cormier’s first taste of the beauty industry was working in magazine publishing in Canada. “When I first started out I worked with many different categories, but I always seemed to have the most success with my beauty clients,” the beauty industry veteran reveals.
After years in print, Cormier got the opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious lifestyle magazines, covering fashion, health, entertainment and, of course, beauty. “Eventually, I was offered a role as the Beauty Director at ELLE in New York and the rest is history,” he says. “It was a natural fit for me because it is an industry of strategy, newness and relationships - three pillars that I thrive in.”
Talking about his most memorable roles and milestones during his beauty career to date, Cormier shares: “Certainly, my role at ELLE was an important one. It was my first role where I focused 100% on beauty and began my relationship with companies like Estée Lauder, L’Oréal and LVMH.”
Click to EnlargeChris Cormier has gone from covering beauty stories to being the story. Source: SoPost.When Cormier ultimately pivoted out of magazine publishing into the digital media world, he learned a different side of the beauty business as Head of Sales at SocialCode (now Code3). The company ran social media campaigns for large Fortune 500 companies and Chris was able to leverage his expertise within beauty and fashion to grow its client roster.
“My most rewarding experience there was pitching, winning and running the LVMH social media assignment where I developed a particularly close relationship with all of their beauty brands, including Dior in the US and in Paris,” recalls Cormier.
Most recently, Cormier was the Industry Manager for Fashion Global Accounts at Walmart Connect (WMC). As part of the inaugural leadership team that brought Walmart's media business in-house, Cormier developed and led the team. In under three years, he helped grow the business 500% and developed unique partnerships for WMC within the influencer, marketing and branded content spaces.
Working in the beauty industry for over 10 years, managing remote teams is among Cormier’s specialisms in beauty business development. He has managed teams and clients in both North America and Europe for many years, enabling him to adopt and cultivate a more global perspective on the business. “I understand that there are many stakeholders that drive a business's success and they are often across multiple time zones,” Cormier details. “I thrive in linking all the key players to drive success, regardless of their geographical location.”
Sharing key goals that beauty brands in the industry frequently prioritize, Cormier reveals: “The customer always comes first. Everything else ladders up into that, whether it is a new product that meets a need, or an overarching retail strategy, the customer is always at the center.” It is this customer-centric approach that Cormier sees as the driving force behind all strategies, philosophies and activities. “This makes innovation within the digital media industry that much more important,” he adds.
The question then quickly becomes: How do we work with beauty brands to deliver a more personalized product and experience to the end consumer? “This is why I am so excited with the work we are doing at SoPost. We are laser-focused on getting the right product to a qualified end consumer, driving innovation along the way,” highlights Cormier.
Seeking success with SoPost
On 26 October, sampling platform SoPost announced the appointment of Cormier to the role of General Manager in North America and Vice President of Sales. In his new position, Cormier will lead growth and innovation for SoPost in the US market. This will involve expanding its team, helping the company to scale and bringing its sampling platform to more customers.
Sharing his top three tips for scaling and succeeding in the beauty business, Cormier details: “A focus on the team, client relationships and tech innovation.”
When building a beauty business, Cormier explains that at SoPost its founder and CEO has built a dynamic collection of people who are passionate about what they are building. “The team is engaged, collaborative and excited to work with our brand partners,” emphasizes Cormier.
Click to EnlargeSoPost aims to expand into new sectors. Source: SoPost.Priding itself on being strategic partners and a valued resource for the brands it works with, the team strives to help solve their specific business challenges which, in turn, spurs innovation. “We work closely with our tech and product teams to be nimble and stay ahead of what is happening in the industry,” adds Cormier.
Commenting on the biggest hurdles to achieving key business goals, Cormier notes: “Moving fast but not too fast. We have so much opportunity and our business is growing very quickly but we need to be sure we are keeping the foundation strong and our focus sharp. I once had a boss whose mantra was that sometimes you have to ‘slow down to move fast’ which I think is so relevant today, after what we've all been through over the past 18 months.”
“The online sampling world is an exciting one to be in at the moment and it is still very much in the infancy stage,” expresses Cormier. “There is a lot of opportunity to scale and innovate in how to reach more end customers, to provide more actionable insights to our brand partners and to offer even more innovative tech solutions.”
Providing a glimpse into its beauty growth plans, Cormier explains that while SoPost works with some of the largest and most coveted brands within the beauty industry, there are still a few partners that it doesn't work with on a regular basis. As a result, Cormier’s first priority is to develop a partnership with them.
“We also have a great opportunity to expand into new verticals beyond beauty. We have had great success with consumer packaged goods and food in the UK so I am looking forward to replicating that in North America,” details Cormier.
“There is a really exciting energy in the industry right now, both from consumers and from the brands, and SoPost is going to continue to ride this wave to drive growth and to build on our extraordinary success to date,” Cormier concludes.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist