Friday, March 13, 2015

Beauty May Be Skin-Deep, But It's Green and It Folds, Too

Just as we were talking about connecting marketing, social, and branding, BeautyCon launched a new site "to connect social media stars with fans and brands". This is a great idea, and it got me thinking about an interesting mix of industry types. As a marketplace or clearinghouse, BeautyCon's site is in excellent shape, because it has all the desirable properties of a sustainable two-sided market. Scale is important, and self-perpetuating. Once BeautyCon becomes the industry standard, it will be extremely difficult for anyone else to compete with it, and BeautyCon can enjoy a long and profitable run at the top. That's of course true of other business models, whether they relate to fashion or not: retailing, warehousing, publishing, etc. All of these businesses have had longtime dominant players at one point or another.

However, fashion itself - now that has been elusive. Western fashion essentially began in the mid 14-th century, and it has not stopped since. There has not been a singular driving force behind it since the death of Marie Antoinette in 1793. Sure, there is always some person or institution exerting influence over it, but that never lasts, and it is never pervasive.

I wonder if the application of web technologies to the field will enable a kind of grand consolidation for the first time in centuries. Web-enabled de factor monopolies like YouTube do seem to be fairly durable. Yet human taste is famously fickle, and I think that fashion will continue to be the glorious, constant flux that it is.


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