The multinational retailer Sephora is renowned for gathering members of the world’s most passionate beauty community and offering these members unique consumer experiences, particularly during its largest, most inclusive event of the year — SEPHORiA: Virtual House of Beauty. In September 2022, Sephora announced the return of this event, and, this year, the annual U.S. occasion expanded to welcome beauty enthusiasts from Canada, Italy, Spain, and France.
The event took place on Sept. 18, 2022, and saw attendees from around the world immerse themselves in the virtual SEPHORiA experience, which allowed them to discover the latest Prestige Beauty trends, brands, and products. The event highlighted the best of the latest beauty innovations and allowed attendees to chat with beauty industry icons and surprise guests, including Melinda Solares, David Razzano, Myiesha Sewell, Helen Phillips Dagdag, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Jason Hoffman (News - Alert). In total, over 35 brands participated in the event, including those that are both new and exclusive to Sephora.
Steve Lesnard, Sephora’s global chief brand officer, has commented on the success of the event, noting that, “following a successful virtual event last year, we are thrilled to bring SEPHORiA back again this year to even more visitors from around the globe.”
SEPHORiA: A Global 3D Event
SEPHORiA 2022 saw Sephora introduce brand-new pioneering programming that aligns with its dedication to nurturing inclusivity and celebrating diversity, all while showcasing its differentiated product portfolio. The 3D event featured an interactive “beauty house,” in which attendees could explore seven rooms of exclusive content from the company’s most popular brands, including those that aren’t necessarily present in Europe.
The seven virtual rooms included the following.
In this greeting area, attendees could access helpful resources, such as an events schedule and a 3D map of the beauty house. The Foyer acted as a central hub for attendees, who could visit the concierge desk to register, pick up Beauty Insider information, and redeem a free, unique Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) to prove ownership of digital items and serve as a virtual ticket.
2.The Home Theatre
On this virtual main stage, brand leaders presented Sephora’s most sought-after products and presented exclusive masterclasses. The Home Theatre offered shoppable touchpoints and gave attendees the chance to take part in interactive games. U.S. clients had the opportunity to accrue Beauty Points as prizes when playing these games. Attendees could also interact with talent using the live chat feature.
Brands featured included Sephora Collection, HAUS LABS BY LADY GAGA, Danessa Myricks Beauty, CAY SKIN, Tatcha, and KAYALI.
In La Sala, a family room, attendees celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. Sephora’s Latin American brands and talents shared their beauty tips, presenting tutorials in both English and Spanish with subtitles.
Brands featured included Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez, NARS, beautyblender, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, Tata Harper, JLo Beauty, ABBOTT, and Ceremonia.
In the Kitchen, attendees had the chance to explore “what’s cooking” for the holiday season, including various products and gift sets that are only available at Sephora. The company’s beauty directors were also on hand in this virtual room to offer gifting tips.
Brands featured include Charlotte Tilbury, GXVE by Gwen Stefani, Too Faced, Sol de Janeiro, ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr, amika, First Aid Beauty, Maison Margiela ‘Replica,’ PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross, and Yves Saint Laurent.
In this cool, calm space dedicated to self-care, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to reflect and explore wellness-focused activities, such as facial exercises, aura readings, and meditation.
Brands featured included Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, PHLUR, Shani Darden Skin Care, Crown Affair, and FORVR Mood.
In the Sunroom, attendees enjoyed discovering Sephora’s latest “Good For” brands, taking note of natural product ingredients and brands’ sustainability practices. Attendees also took part in live polling with the company’s beauty directors to help create clean make-up looks and test themselves on Sephora’s efforts to have a positive global footprint.
Brands featured included Milk Makeup, Farmacy, ROSE INC, The INKEY List, Glow Recipe, Fable & Mane, Briogeo, The 7 Virtues, and Ellis Brooklyn.
Available to attendees in the U.S., the Backyard provided a space for attendees to enjoy games, XR photo experiences, interactions with special guests, and bonus surprises. The Sephora Credit Card Program managed this virtual space, which they billed as the go-to place to celebrate all things beauty.
Brands featured included CAY SKIN, GXVE BY GWEN STEFANI, KAYALI, and FORVR Mood.
While SEPHORiA is free to attend, attendees could upgrade to take advantage of Sephora’s “Beauty Besties” and “Shelfie Standouts” packages. These sell-out packages were retailed at $50 and gave attendees access to additional content, full-sized products, travel-sized products, and samples, all from leading beauty brands.
Steve Lesnard on Sephora’s Rapid Expansion
In the run-up to the event, Steve Lesnard explained that SEPHORiA’s international pool of attendees and Sephora’s embracing of the latest technologies are fueling the company’s rapidly expanding reach.
“Not only will this year’s event reach the U.S., Canada, France, Spain, and Italy, but we also have enhanced experiences to ensure SEPHORiA is the most interactive, and inclusive virtual event for the Sephora community, with unparalleled access to exclusive content, founders, product sneak-peeks and, engaging gamification,” he said.
About Steve Lesnard
The internationally recognized marketing C-suite executive Steve Lesnard is perhaps best known for his former role as The North Face’s chief marketing officer and global vice-president of product creation. He has held other senior roles too, including acting as the general manager of a $5 billion athletics division in one of the global sports industry’s largest companies.
Having pivoted into his new role as Sephora’s global chief brand officer in October 2021, Steve Lesnard is working to globalize the brand through omnichannel marketing approaches. He oversees the brand’s adoption and management of multiple shopping and communication channels to ensure consistent, cohesive, high-quality customer experiences. This is an increasingly technological role, as brands that master omnichannel marketing must embrace ground-breaking technologies that allow them to improve user experiences.
By leveraging new technologies into Sephora’s marketing operations, Steve Lesnard is accelerating personalization by creating richer personal profiles of the Sephora community. This approach ensures customers enjoy tailored experiences that meet their specific needs, all while allowing brands to trial new products or services and scale faster.
Steve Lesnard developed his omnichannel marketing skills with The North Face, where he oversaw the development of personalized consumer interactions across various platforms. By collating first-party data that consumers shared, The North Face could replace generic brand marketing with a customized, helpful approach that benefits consumers as much as it does the retailer.
With over two decades of marketing experience and expertise, Steve Lesnard is strengthening Sephora’s international presence in line with its global ambitions surrounding sustainability, ingredient transparency, energy consumption, and diversity.