Throughout my years of retail experience, the month of June has traditionally meant two things: Father’s Day and the month-long Pride celebration. Across the globe, various events are held during this special month as a way of recognizing the influence LGBTQ people have had around the world. In the U.S., while Pride month is a celebration, with parades and events happening all over the country, it is also an important time when issues related to LGBTQ rights tend to garner increased attention.
In the department stores and the apparel retail world, Pride is kicked off with a kaleidoscope of colorful merchandise pulled front and center, advertising affiliations with various LGBTQ charities. As June 2019 arrived, I watched as apparel retailers again raised the bar in their efforts to celebrate and bring awareness to all things Pride, but I also made an interesting observation: most beauty retailers are conspicuously quieter in celebrating Pride month.
While I observed a few skincare and makeup brands introducing limited-edition products with Pride themes, fragrance in particular was notably absent. It would seem natural that fragrance brands, specifically those marketed as gender-neutral would take part in the celebration of Pride. Genderless fragrance brands, which capture a small share of dollar sales in the U.S. prestige beauty market, have become a force in the industry with strong double-digit growth year-over-year. Consumers are clearly interested, so, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a missed opportunity here.
With beauty brands and retailers at the forefront of the inclusivity movement, taking the lead in the celebration of Pride seems like a natural way to support the community that supports them. Creating robust Pride campaigns within beauty, and fragrance in particular, could not only drive engagement to support the LGBTQ community, but also drive incremental business for our industry.