Behind the Scenes: Becoming Beauty For All Industries (BFA)

Andy Huang
CODE + CONTOUR by IPSY
5 min readFeb 18, 2022

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In late 2020, when I was part of the IT team at IPSY, the company announced it would be acquiring BoxyCharm. It was an exciting time — we formed our entire organization under a new name: Beauty For All Industries (BFA), in addition to creating official systems for a few in-house brands. But it was also a challenge for our small but mighty IT team, as we would be responsible for making sure the many back-end changes required happened smoothly.

Our approach? Plan diligently, test continuously, and communicate actively. Here’s a look at our journey to becoming BFA — from an IT perspective!

But First, Why Am I Writing This?

This was an extensive technical project that went fairly well, so I wanted to share this win with others who may be facing a similar challenge in the workplace. Nearly every employee we have, every system we use, and every vendor we work with was involved in this transition — and the end result was something we were all proud of: a new BFA brand with minor interruptions to day-to-day operations.

As a bonus, I’m happy to finally offer some insight into an age-old question: “What does IT do?” Sure, we may have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, but most non-IT employees may have only noticed an hour or two of server downtime and a fancy new email address. Of course, there’s usually more to it than that — so hopefully this article will tell you more about how IT works.

Setting the Stage

These were the end goals that formed the basis for our transition plan:

  • BoxyCharm would join IPSY as part of the Beauty For All Industries (BFA) brand
  • IPSY would continue to be its own brand, now part of BFA
  • Madeby Collective, previously a department at IPSY, would become its own brand at BFA
  • Complex Culture, ITEM Beauty, Refreshments, and Treslúce Beauty would become departments at Madeby Collective

What We Did

The first few months of my life on the “Becoming BFA” timeline were entirely dedicated to updating the IT framework of our existing company with all the exciting changes (in addition to keeping up with my day job, of course).

Let’s break down what my team did at a high level:

Rebranding work (IPSY to BFA, Madeby Collective, Complex Culture, ITEM Beauty, Treslúce Beauty):

  1. Purchasing, creating, updating, and verifying domains across all our platforms
  2. Testing, testing, testing
  3. Updating existing employee records
  4. Training employees on what steps #2 and #3 meant for them
  5. Planning proper downtime and maintenance windows for #2 and #3
  6. Updating existing applications
  7. Connecting with vendors to update systems accordingly

Integration work (BoxyCharm joining BFA):

  1. Many of the same steps as our rebranding work
  2. Testing, testing, testing
  3. Migrating BoxyCharm data over to BFA systems as necessary
  4. Training employees on what steps #2 and #3 meant for them
  5. Training employees on new tools

We rolled out these changes by department, scheduling Zoom meetings with each of them over the course of a few weeks or months to analyze their access and systems, address any concerns, share our proposed steps, and finally push the changes live.

Shout-out to Zoom for being a useful collaboration tool that made this communication possible!

The Result

Hours became days, days became weeks, and weeks became months. As early 2021 approached, we were finally finishing most of the work. We stress-tested anything and everything, coordinated with every team within each department, worked with folks around the globe, provided essentially 24/7 support, rolled out changes in batches, and…it was a success!

New and old domains worked as expected, systems worked as expected, new usernames/Google Authentication/SSO worked as expected, and emails/email groups worked as expected. Everything went as expected, and that’s what made it a success. It sure sounds anticlimactic, but in the IT world, it’s wonderful when such a huge volume of changes just works and our employees can move forward.

Going back to the question of “What does IT do?,” this particular project showed us just how big of a role active communication from IT played in making sure everything went smoothly. Whether it was collaborating with departments before the transition, troubleshooting within the IT team throughout the process, or finally announcing the rollout of changes to employees, the IT team kept a constant line of communication open, in addition to executing all the technical changes needed.

Cheesy plug, but huge shout-out to the folks at the parent IPSY company and the folks coming in from BoxyCharm. Honestly, this work would not go as smoothly as it did without the companies’ (plural!) willingness to support and trust each other to make these big changes happen. Not only that, I was lucky to work alongside strong managers and an experienced senior leadership team who gave me the opportunity to lead these initiatives.

What We Learned

This project was a big milestone for my team and I think that we did a great job.

Now that it’s been over a year since most of these changes were rolled out, here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. Early Bird Is the Best Bird
  • You really have to start planning ahead of time. Time is the most critical resource and hours can easily become days. What sounds easy on paper can really shift (and become more difficult) once you realize how unpredictable things can be. Mistakes you didn’t even know were possible can creep up on you and add hours to your days.

2. Repeat and Repeat

  • Overcommunication might be annoying, but it’s also key in these kinds of projects. With so many different tasks and initiatives, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and on the same timelines. Events can happen outside of your control — or even within your control — but the most important part of a large, collaborative project is to make sure everyone is aligned.

3. Stress Testing

  • Stress testing is another big factor in making sure the work you’re doing does not lead to more unnecessary work in the future. Again, things that sound easy on paper need to be put to the “real word” test to make sure they are as easy as they seem.

4. Culture Is Important

  • A strong culture promotes strong relationships. Being in IT, when you have respect for the folks you support, it can improve the quality of work you can do. I stressed this above, but it was awesome to see how willing other departments were to work with IT to make necessary changes and communicate their concerns with us ahead of time.

The integrations and rebrandings were a big accomplishment not just for our IT team but for our entire company. Now that we’ve become BFA, I’m excited to see what’s next.

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