Net-A-Porter's Beauty Director Newby Hands Talks Trends and Bestsellers

She was a former beauty editor and now edits the world’s beauty products for Net-a-Porter. Ultimate beauty insider Newby Hands tells us what customers really want
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Net-a-Porter has always been known as an online luxury fashion destination but five years ago, it dipped its toes into beauty. Launching with just 11 beauty brands in 2013, it became the first online global retailer to stock luxury beauty. Today, Net-a-Porter Beauty has grown tremendously and now stocks over 220 brands ranging from big names to niche ones.

The woman spearheading the success is Newby Hands, beauty director of Net-a-Porter. To mark the 5th anniversary of the beauty category. With customers from over 170 countries, Net-a-Porter has an extensive overview of what women buy.

Beauty Bestsellers on Net-A-Porter

Apart from observing beauty trends according to country, Hands can also pick them up based on customers’ sartorial choices. She shares that over 70 per cent of Net-a-Porter customers buy fashion and beauty together. And among these customers, it’s obvious that those who shop a particular fashion brand tend to have similar beauty shopping habits. Hands refers to these groups as beauty tribes and lists three examples.

The Balenciaga customer, for one, loves her labels – both in fashion and beauty – and tends to buy top brands like Tom Ford Beauty and Burberry Beauty.

The Chloé customer, on the other hand, prefers to keep her beauty regime as clean and simple as her wardrobe. She opts for natural skincare and haircare products from brands like Tata HarperSunday Riley, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare and Rahua

To complement her always edgy outfit, the Saint Laurent customer has to have her smoky, metallic eye makeup and dark red lip. And it needs to be flawless, so tools like the Beauty Blender and Artis Brushes are a must.

It’s clear that there are various types of Net-a-Porter women, but according to Hands, something they all have in common is that while they love beauty and want results, they are also open to discovery and experimentation.

“The Net-a-Porter woman trusts us a lot and I think that’s one of the key things about shopping online — that you have to trust,” says Hands. “Not just the brand, but the people there too.”

To Hands, this trust is important because she recognises that buying beauty online takes away a lot of the largely tactile and olfactory experience one gets in a store, which makes for a risker purchase. While she fully believes in her carefully curated selection of luxury beauty products on Net-a-Porter, she’s found that discovery kits present a different kind of shopping experience.

“Fragrance is the toughest beauty product to shop online, so when we have a fragrance brand, we put four or five smaller sizes in a kit and those sell really well for us.” She adds, “So there’s a way around it and I think the element there is that they’ll discover something completely new that they love.”

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