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The Future of Beauty: Ross Miller of Jane Iredale On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Beauty Industry

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

I’ve always found beauty to be so inspirational, consumers get excited when they find a product they really love. I think technology will play a bigger and bigger role in helping the consumer find the product that’s right for her, that creates this emotional connection. I think discovery, more dynamic recommendations, and understanding the benefits via technology are going to become an expectation for consumers in the near future.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years I had the pleasure of interviewing Ross Miller, Vice President of Digital at Jane Iredale.

Ross is an Executive with over 15 years’ experience driving strategy, ecommerce and technology decisions for consumer brands ranging from $10 million to $1 billion in online revenue. He has leadership roles in analytics, marketing and ecommerce across prestige beauty. Ross is recognized for helping organizations elevate consumer relationships using data and insights. He is a speaker and panelist across a variety of industry events including Shop.org, Internet Retailing, and Client Summits such as Cheetahmail and Bazaarvoice.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started my career in the marketing technology space leading relationships with brands to own contracts and drive adoption of products and services. I was working at a digital analytics company and Estee Lauder Companies was one of my top accounts. My main contact at the client was leaving her role and said “Hey, you should take my job” — the rest is history!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? I’ve always enjoyed the consumer enthusiasm for new product launches. The highest anticipation I’ve experienced was when Rihanna collaborated with MAC, there was a conference room full of team members monitoring the site and I think it was the biggest thing anyone had ever seen at the time.

Sort of work related, I used a search for a company event space to land a regular DJ gig in NYC. We were looking for a location for our team holiday party and there was a lounge area that many people liked.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

I was fortunate to see performance results for many clients early in my career and then across the entire portfolio of brands in my role at Estee Lauder Companies. It gave me a great sense of what works and what doesn’t. As I’ve grown into bigger leadership roles, I attribute my career success to effectively using data to understand consumer needs and really taking a consumer first approach to everything I’ve done in my career.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I worked under a Vice President, Heather Brunner, early in my career. She taught me a lot about dealing with senior stakeholders that really helped me up level my own delivery. She was extremely positive and enabling, she had about 70 employees in her organization, but I always felt like I could walk into her office when there was a serious issue to get help or approval. She’s gone on to win many leadership awards in a CEO role.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

I’ve always found beauty to be so inspirational, consumers get excited when they find a product they really love. I think technology will play a bigger and bigger role in helping the consumer find the product that’s right for her, that creates this emotional connection. I think discovery, more dynamic recommendations, and understanding the benefits via technology are going to become an expectation for consumers in the near future.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Within beauty, I think it’s really about helping the consumer in her decision journey at each step of the process. As long as you keep the consumer in mind, I think it limits this type of downside. I think the shift of increased screen time is a larger concern, but the exploration and shopping process are such a short amount of time, it’s not something I really worry about.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

I think that it’s evolving rapidly to serve the consumer in her decision journey and let her experience products in new ways is really exciting. 1) Augmented Reality and Virtual Try On in advertising. This is such an amazing way to stand out and drive engagement in a crowded space. 2) Interactivity like Virtual Consultations to really create a connection when you’re not in a physical space. 3) scientific diagnosis of skin conditions and recommendations via technology applications

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  1. transparency and standards in ingredients — there is no standard definition of “clean”, and the ingredient labels don’t serve the consumer well in terms of what they should and should not be concerned about.
  2. make manufacturing and product development practices more transparent, such as animal testing and cruelty free

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Get a facial — a comprehensive service with an esthetician feels so refreshing and relaxing at the right location

Add a facial oil to your routine– this adds lots of hydration and other skin benefits

Get a makeover — makeup artists can create a completely different look and show you how to replicate at home

Try a new shade of lipstick and change your mood

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I don’t know if it’s one particular quote, but I feel like people like working towards a positive versus avoiding a negative is so much more enduring. I love to create a sense of team and collaboration and that we’re all working together, having fun, and celebrating success.

How can our readers follow you online?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rossmiller808/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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