In the context of e.l.f. Cosmetics’ new expansion in Italy, where this renowned brand seems poised to revolutionize the beauty industry with its innovative and highly inclusive approach, we had the privilege of interviewing Kory Marchisotto, Chief Marketing Officer of e.l.f. Beauty and President of Keys Soul Care. In this conversation, Kory will share with us the mission and vision of e.l.f., as well as her valuable experience in the luxury and beauty world.
Since 2004, e.l.f. Cosmetics has been telling the story of 100% cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics and skincare products. This incredible brand is a pioneer in the online beauty universe, continuing to capture the audience’s attention and engaging in a genuine dialogue. These products are widely distributed at major retailers, including giants like Target, Walmart, and ULTA Beauty. With a growing global presence, they are also available in exclusive stores such as Boots, Superdrug, and Douglas.
THE INTERVIEW WITH KORY MARCHISOTTO, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER OF E.L.F. BEAUTY AND PRESIDENT OF KEYS SOULCARE
THE BLONDE SALAD: One of our favorite e.l.f. products is undoubtedly the concealer…
KORY MARCHISOTTO: When we launched the Camo concealer in its original version, not the hydrating one, the feedback was incredible, and it immediately went viral. The adult audience, however, wrote to us saying they loved the coverage but that it settled into fine lines. So, the Camo Hydrating version was born.
TBS: When did you start working for e.l.f.?
K: In 2019, but I had already been working for 20 years in the luxury sector. I was excited from the start to bring everything I had learned in building a brand with rigor and discipline in luxury and bring it to the mass market.
TBS: Specifically, what have you learned from your past work experiences?
K: Everything. I worked for many designer brands with a very strong vision and ethos. I started and worked for many years with Jean Paul Gaultier, and his motto was “Why not?” We’re talking about a nonconformist, and I was in tune with that rebellious spirit. Then I also worked for Issey Miyake, always in beauty. What I loved about this reality was the spirit of innovation that arose from curiosity and vision in creating things never invented before. After my experience at Burberry, I worked for nine years at Hermès, and here I really learned the power of storytelling. Then Shiseido and Bare Minerals. In conclusion, with my past experiences, I breathed in nonconformity, innovation, curiosity, digital dominance, storytelling, and transformation. All of this has simplified the work done with e.l.f. in the last five years.
TBS: e.l.f. Cosmetics has revolutionized the beauty industry with the virtual try-on experience. How much has this project changed the consumer experience for you?
K: I would go even further back and say that e.l.f., as a digital-native brand, has revolutionized the beauty industry by making luxury quality accessible and affordable. They were the first to sell cosmetics online starting in 2004. This brand places a lot of importance on the tech space and strives to be at the forefront, advancing our brand in this dimension.
TBS: What are your thoughts on Social Media and TikTok creators posting content dedicated to e.l.f.?
K: It’s ‘e.l.f.-ing amazing.’
TBS: We love ‘e.l.f.-ing amazing.’
K: It’s the power of personal expression. We care that our community lives their truth and encourage everyone to live it. Often, we use our platform as a tool for empowerment. We believe our consumers shape the brand with us. We’re doing it together. e.l.f. is the people’s brand, made by the people and for the people. Going back to Camo Hydrating, we created it because they asked us to. We just launched our lip oils because everyone was shouting, “e.l.f. needs a lip oil!” So, not only do we listen, but we act on what we hear. We give our customers what they ask for, and that makes them truly personally involved.
TBS: e.l.f.’s journey began with selling high-quality products at affordable prices…
K: The action of making high quality accessible comes from our values, ethos, who we are, and what we represent. That ethos starts with our vision, which is to create a different kind of beauty company. I would even say that we have created a different, and especially innovative, company in the present. We have a very startup, entrepreneurial, rebellious, and disruptive spirit. And our desire is to build brands that defy norms, which, by definition, is the path of maximum resistance. We are making the world of beauty accessible. Why should you pay $50 for something you could have for $10 with the same quality or, as most of our community says, even better?
TBS: What attitude do you think you have in the social context we live in?
K: We defy norms, shape culture. Our secret is to be part of our community and live it. We bring together like-minded people, kindred spirits to encourage self-expression and empowerment. And, of course, we are very interested in embodying our ethics and doing the right thing for people, the planet, and animals. Being cruelty-free is really fundamental to us. We do all this with positivity. e.l.f. is a joyful place to spend time with us, right. Lastly, speaking of inclusivity, everyone is welcome. We were one of the first brands, years ago, to choose a trans influencer in our community.
TBS: Yes, in the beauty industry, it’s not always like that…
K: We have always welcomed every color, every shape, every size, every position, perspective because we say we are for every eyelid and face. “Every” is a very important word when making a statement that says, we welcome everything and love everything.
TBS: In 2020, e.l.f. expanded its portfolio of brands with another brand. Among these, Keys by Alicia Keys…
K: For 15 years, e.l.f. focused mainly on cosmetics, color, and, in general, the United States, becoming famous in one sector and country. However, we reflected on our exceptional ethos that began to resonate a lot with Gen Z. This generation wants to know the values and ethics behind a brand, and we were able to understand that our story had great power. We wondered if we could extend it to shape culture, connect communities, and collaborate with other brands that share these values. Alicia Keys follows an imaginary similar to ours. She has always wanted to create a skincare line because of her personal experiences with acne-prone skin. However, she didn’t find brands that shared her vision and values until she got in touch with e.l.f. We created Key Soul Care from scratch and acquired Naturium, which offers more affordable skincare products. There are now five brands under e.l.f. Beauty, but each of these seeks to defy norms, shape culture, and connect with its community. Alicia Keys was a perfect match because she shares this vision of treating not only the exterior but also how we feel inside, reflected in the affirmations and rituals associated with her product line.
TBS: It’s very nice to see young people getting passionate about the beauty world…
K: It’s wonderful! Our position for 20 years has always been one: be yourself. People love our brand because we invited them, first of all, to have access to things they couldn’t access before. The number of letters we receive from college students who don’t have the opportunity to invest a lot of money in beauty is very high. And why shouldn’t they have access to beauty? Or makeup artists starting their journey who can’t afford brushes or experiment with different palettes and colors. But e.l.f. has opened a door for them that no one else would have opened.
TBS: What is your favorite product?
K: I love all our “babies.” I don’t have a favorite product; I choose different products based on different moments. For example, I follow my ritual to be fabulous in 5 minutes during the weekend. Then there’s the week when I take more time to get ready. So, for me, it’s all more based on the moment than the product. In general, my skincare ritual is very based on Keys Soul Care. And as for makeup, for days when I do more makeup, I use three layers of Camo. I start with concealer for dark circles, then do Camo Hydrating, and then finish with the classic Camo because I need more coverage.