Meet Leigh Humphrey, the President of Swan Beauty. She founded the “big idea” behind Swan Beauty almost two years ago. Immediately after realizing the blank space for all things beauty, services, and education, Leigh diligently began building Swan Beauty, a digital beauty concierge. For those of you who might be new around here, we’ll take a moment to introduce you to Swan Beauty and a fun interview with our leader, Leigh Humphrey.
How did your previous career lead you to the idea of Swan Beauty?
I have always been somewhat of a nerd- Ha! My first job out of college was with Arthur Anderson Consulting in their strategy group and is where I first realized how valuable customer data was to companies. I eventually landed at LVMH in Europe as a CRM manager (customer relationship manager) for Louis Vuitton where we utilized data on our customers to inform decisions on everything from marketing, advertising, and product development. I was able to utilize that experience to help prepare me for the Innovation team at VF Corporation – working with brands such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland and Wrangler. Our group utilized cutting edge technologies in AI, data analytics, cognitive science, multi-sensory and neuro-marketing to help inform decisions about innovative product design and to assist in the development of experiential (retail & digital) experiences for our customers. It was towards the end of my time consulting for VF Corp that I really got the itch to start my own company. I wanted to use what I had learned over the years to develop a new and fun way for women to better shop for skincare and makeup online. I really wanted to replicate the in-store beauty counter experience that you could receive from a really good expert – but one who had multiple brands and products across all price points. I liked the idea of creating a digital version of this – so that it would allow for a truly personalized shopping experience but one that could be done without having to go to a mall or store. It wasn’t until I met my amazing business partner Lindsey Regan Thorne and together with her ideas and insight really helped it all to come together.
How does the technology work with Swan Beauty?
We really rely heavily on every bit of information that our customers give to us when they creating their beauty profile. The more information we receive – the better the experience is that we can create for them. We are very deliberate about the questions that we ask in our quiz as each answer is a data point we can then utilize to filter our database of products and will help our experts to know which brands, ingredients and categories to focus in on. We work with a very talented development team led by an amazing husband and wife duo (Zach and Amanda) that have been instrumental in helping us create Swan. They have built our entire database and proprietary “Beauty Portal” which is really the magic behind Swan- it is the link between our Beauty Experts, our customers and the products we sell. The technology is important but it is really our amazing team of dedicated people at Swan that is really what makes the difference.
How has COVID changed the world of shopping for cosmetics?
It has made it really hard for people to interact with products prior to purchasing them. This is especially challenging for color cosmetics where it really makes a difference to be able to see yourself in the product – with Swan we’ve tried to create a way to let our customers do just that.
Favorite place you’ve visited?
What is your favorite part of what Swan Beauty offers to customers?
I love how we’ve developed a platform that really allows our experts to connect with our customers to not only help them find products but to also educate our customers on the best ways to use and apply their new products. I love it when an expert is really able to share unique tips and connect with our customers to help them really find what they need and to get the most out of their products.
Swan Beauty has been written up as a digital beauty concierge – explain what makes Swan different from other beauty technology companies?
I think it is that we create such a uniquely personalized experience. We don’t have a template that is repeated. Each box for each customer is crafted specifically for that customer – from helping someone find the perfect lipstick to wear on her wedding day to skincare for a new mom or a makeup overhaul for a customer starting a new career. Every experience is personalized to that specific customer and their specific preferences and needs. We also really put our heart and soul into every box that ships out the door, from the expert that chooses the products to the warehouse team that hand packs the items and perfectly folds the tissue paper in the box. Every person on our small team really cares about our customers and delivering a great overall experience!
Favorite makeup & skincare product at the moment?
Makeup: Anything with a glow
If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old-self something, what would that be?
To stop worrying and live in the moment!
Dare I ask you to name your favorite beauty brand?
It changes daily and we’re constantly playing and testing out brands, products, etc. Every brand has that hero product!
Thank to all of our wonderful customers, supportive brand partners, and our team for making our vision come to life!