- Last week, Target’s second annual retail accelerator Target Takeoff brought 10 beauty startups to Minneapolis to be mentored on the intricacies of the retail business, according to a company blog post.
- In the weeklong event, startups participated in workshops with mentors and networked with industry insiders, including Target leaders like Minsok Pak, chief strategy and innovation officer. At the end of the program, each brand pitched its products to a panel at "Bark Tank" – the name was inspired by Target’s canine mascot, Bullseye – and received feedback. The startups then returned home to refine their pitches and products, with a late-May return scheduled for a product showcase with Target executives.
- Startups included: Adwoa Beauty, a socially conscious brand with products for curly and kinky hair types; Amareta, a hormone-based skincare treatment cycle; Eu’Genia Shea, which strives to bring the best shea butter to market; Girl+Hair’s Under Hair Care system for hair in a protective style, such as a weave, braids or under a wig; Heritage 1933, a socially conscious company that donates hair care products to shelters that support women and children; HUE For Every Man, natural products for men; Oars + Alps, natural skincare products for men; Rosen Skincare, acne treatment without harsh chemical ingredients; Sienna Natural, which treats hair care like skin care in a four-step ritual; and YUNI Beauty, natural products developed mindful of social and environmental sustainability.
It’s a well-worn truism that new products are the lifeblood of retail — especially for "cheap chic" Target — but waiting for the right concepts to come along is an iffy proposition. Target is stepping up and encouraging innovation with its retail accelerator program. Last year, the company held a similar program for startups with wellness-oriented products and services; This year, it was all about beauty — a category the retailer is heavily investing in.
Target got started with accelerator programs in 2016 when it ran its first Target + Techstars program for technology startups. It ran a similar program in 2017, and has recently announced its third wave of Techstar and Takeoff programs. The tech program is run in partnership with a startup accelerator company, Techstars Retail, and also includes an accelerator in Bangalore, India. Target Takeoff is run jointly by Target’s internal innovation team and its corporate responsibility team, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Fashion and beauty categories have long been a hallmark of Target’s greatest successes, and thus it is working to bring new retail concepts to these areas. In an example of a more traditional collaboration, the retailer recently announced a limited-edition design partnership with British rain boot and footwear brand Hunter for more than 300 items. Showing how important innovation is in its beauty product aisles, Target will debut eight new cosmetic brands with more than 150 products designed for medium to dark skin tones. The brands are Coloured Raine, EveryHue, Haleys Beauty, Hue Noir, The Lip Bar, Makeup Geek, Reina Rebelde and Violet Voss.
"We know our guests have a wide range of beauty needs and preferences, and we want to make sure Target has the best assortment for all hair types or skin tones," Christina Hennington, senior vice president of Beauty and Essentials at Target, said in a recent blog post. The retailer and last week’s accelerator participants hope the 10 beauty brands in Target Takeoff can eventually join these on the shelves and Target.com.