Home|Business Founder Interview, Webitorials|INNOCOS SUMMIT NAPA VALLEY

Can you share the inspiration behind founding INNOCOS Summit and what motivated you to create a platform dedicated to the beauty industry?

I have been working in the events industry for as long as I can remember, and previously I worked for an event company, organizing international events in Europe and the USA for Fortune 500 companies, primarily focusing on marketing and innovation.

When I started on my own, with a small group of my ex-colleagues, we chose the beauty industry after simply researching and realizing that beauty is an industry with a concise innovation cycle, where marketing can build or break a company; it’s that important, making it a very competitive industry and therefore a great topic to discuss at a conference. Plus, it’s an industry that I understand very well, being a beauty products junkie.

In addition, after spending a year researching, I saw a room for creating a beautiful event that differs from others. I had big vision and ambitions, but only later did I understand that when you go so niche with the target audience, they all know each other, and I yet had to make many more connections in the industry, which tripled the work I needed to do to build a brand. I was too naïve and enthusiastic, so I rolled up my sleeves. It took me years to build recognizable brands, one conference at a time, starting in Europe and later moving to the USA and Asia.

My formula for success was to put together a high-quality agenda that would be recognized by all, create a memorable experience, and improve every year. I was obsessed with asking my clients what they liked and what they would like to improve, bringing a long list of ideas for the next event year after year, perfecting the formula that now became the USP of INNOCOS. Hard work, sweat, and tears. Ups and downs, somehow, no matter what, I believed in myself, did not lose enthusiasm in hard times, and stayed humble in good times.

Can you share the inspiration behind founding INNOCOS Summit and what motivated you to create a platform dedicated to the beauty industry?

INNOCOS is very different from any beauty event out there. I have been obsessively perfecting the formula and created an event that my network appreciates and would like to attend.

We create events that build professional relationships and make friends for life! This is where business thrives, and collaborations are forged because it’s easier to do business with friends.

INNOCOS is not an event where you come to collect business cards and barely remember every contact you made; we create a 2.5-day experience outside of the office, where you take time to get to know each other on a personal level, something that feels like luxury these days, with an epidemic of longlines rising year by year. At INNOCOS, it is all about people, and we have the best people, the most innovative, ambitious, generous, hard-working, and fun!

As a professional connector, how do you approach curating the guest list and speakers for the summit to ensure a diverse and enriching experience for attendees?

I read the news daily—BeautyMatter is my go-to and a few others. I follow my network on social media, mainly LinkedIn. I attend beauty, health, and wellness events, big and small, and my latest obsession is biohacking conferences and summits. I want the best speakers, and I like to stretch the agenda beyond beauty, with the most diverse topics, speakers, and companies.

However, the main strategy is to listen to my community members; they are the biggest help in shaping the agenda, recommending speakers, and suggesting the best brands to invite. We are lucky to have a great network of industry leaders who are happy to contribute, share, and mentor others.

In your opinion, what are some of the most significant trends and innovations currently shaping the beauty industry, and how does INNOCOS Summit address these developments?

We’ve got a ton of fascinating topics lined up at INNOCOS this year, but if I had to pick the top three, here they are:

    • Tech Takeover: Beauty’s buzzing with the latest in tech, like AI and AR, set to revamp how we experience beauty. Get ready to dive into color-matching wizardry, virtual try-ons, and AI-powered product suggestions. Wayne Liu from Perfect Corp will spill all the details. With AI lending a hand, sales could skyrocket, and we’re talking about a 64% drop in product returns – now, that’s a game-changer! Plus, AI isn’t just about looks; it’s analyzing skin tones, detecting face shapes, and even brewing sustainable beauty formulas. It’s a whole new world of personalized, immersive experiences.
    • Data Dominance: Data is the real minimum viable product in today’s beauty scene. It’s the building block for brands, shaping their identity and driving long-term strategies. Nick Howard from EveLab Insight will walk us through how to wield data like a pro, from interactive quizzes to tailor-made product recommendations. With data at the helm, we’re not just refining approaches but crafting killer marketing campaigns and dialing into what customers really want.
    • Biohacking Boom: This year’s all about biohacking and the quest for everlasting youth. More folks are taking charge of their aging journey, turning to beauty, health, and wellness for a tech-infused fountain of youth. We’re talking science-backed skincare, IV therapies, wearables, and more. And guess what? At INNOCOS, we’re not just chatting about it; we’re diving in headfirst, experimenting with these trends in Napa Valley, Rhodes, and Singapore.
    And that’s not all! We’ll be delving into retention strategies with Pathern and Rebel360, Amazon mastery with Tony Morales from Luminize, and how to captivate the new-age consumer with Acquia. Get ready for an awesome adventure of learning at INNOCOS!

Can you share any memorable moments or highlights from past INNOCOS Summits that have left a lasting impact on attendees and speakers alike?

I’ve had the pleasure of organizing events in incredible cities worldwide, from Paris to Dubai, and each one holds its special memories. But you know what stands out? When we take our events to resort-style venues. Places like Dubrovnik, Topanga Canyon LA, and Florence offer more than just a backdrop; they’re destinations that inspire and rejuvenate. After COVID hit, wellness workshops became a big part of INNOCOS, and these venues became perfect for hosting them.

Oh, the memories! I’ll never forget touring the stunning Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul or soaking in the beauty of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Dubai. And then there were the serene moments, like meditating among the red rocks of Sedona or indulging in a self-love beauty workshop in Alicante’s Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. And let’s not overlook the unforgettable dinner at Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma.

Most importantly, not only do we offer unique content, but our speakers stick around for the event. This gives us an amazing chance to learn and connect on a deeper level. Let me tell you about just a handful of the incredible speakers we’ve had the privilege of hearing from: Stephane de la Faverie, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Angela Cretu, Pascal Houdayer, Sylvie Moreau, Daniel Langer, Jessica Hanson, and many more. Their presentations and the time we spend networking with them (which lasts around 2.5 days on average!) are some of the highlights that stick with us long after the event is over.

How do you see the beauty industry’s future evolving, and how will INNOCOS Summit continue to adapt and grow to meet the industry’s changing needs?

We had several futurists present at INNOCOS, and the most memorable was Jared Weiner from The Future Hunters. As he says, no one can predict the future, but we can follow trends and explore possibilities (and so far, all his predictions have been quite accurate).

So, the future is evolving around AI, and beauty is not just beauty anymore; it’s beauty, health, and wellness, which is poised to be heavily influenced by science, technology, and innovation.

This includes advancements in high-tech beauty gadgets and wellness routines, such as personalized beauty products, supplements, and cutting-edge bathroom fixtures. The role of robots in shaping beauty standards is emphasized, indicating a shift towards digital fantasy.

Longevity is a big wave, and despite potential increases in life expectancy, there are questions about the implications of extending life. Emotional beauty has become better understood, especially with the rise of longlines caused by technology.

Dermatology is taking center stage as clients value more efficiency, and regenerative aesthetics will “biohack” your skin.
I also hope sustainability, becoming increasingly important, will move above and not pollute the environment; that is no longer enough, as Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes, says. Brands need to become not just climate-neutral but climate-positive, and this is why we launched our Blue Beauty Awards, which are becoming increasingly popular every year.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals looking to make an impact in the beauty industry, based on your own experience founding and leading INNOCOS Summit?

A thriving career in the beauty industry isn’t just about knowing your stuff; it’s also about nurturing the right connections.
First, let’s discuss client relationships. These are crucial because, let’s face it, clients pay the bills. Strong bonds with your clients create a ripple effect. Impress one client, and you’ll likely get referrals and repeat visits. We always emphasize this at our summits.

Then there’s your team. Your employees are like the glue holding everything together. They’re the bridge between happy customers and unhappy ones. So, it’s vital to keep a solid relationship with them.

And let’s not forget about community ties. It’s not just what you know; it’s who you know. And I speak from experience here—I’m all about making connections. Building relationships shouldn’t be a one-off thing you do to get ahead; it should be a way of life.

Networking in the industry can open doors you never knew existed. It’s about finding mentors, expanding your business opportunities, and getting the support you need. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our products that we forget the power of connections. Events like INNOCOS aren’t just vacations (though they’re a little slice of heaven); they’re golden chances to forge deep bonds.

Here’s some advice:
Before the event

    • Do your homework. Know who you’re meeting.
    During the event:
    • Always be ready to lend a hand or make introductions.
    • Share your story. Being open makes conversations more meaningful.
    • Find your niche. Become the go-to person in one area to boost your value.
    • Keep in touch. A few times a year is all it takes to maintain connections.
    • Be bold. Believe in your worth, and others will too.
    • Get involved in networks like INNOCOS. Being a speaker can put you in a leadership position.
    After the event:
    • Follow up within 12-24 hours.
    • Stay in touch, even if there’s no immediate gain.
    • Grab coffee or dinner with contacts. Offer something valuable to keep the connection alive.
    Remember, the quality of time you spend with people is more important than the quantity.

As someone who values creating unforgettable experiences, how do you ensure that each INNOCOS Summit leaves attendees feeling inspired, educated, and connected?

Building meaningful and long-lasting connections is the main goal at INNOCOS. To achieve this goal, we make sure we balance work and play as best we can. Dr. Stuart Brown, a renowned psychiatrist and play researcher, stated that “the opposite of play is not work; it’s depression.” Play is a social signal. It invites others to engage. Play sets the tone for expectations of trust, freedom from judgment, and mutual sense-making. Play is ” the secret souse” that brings our members together. So the key here is to gather an incredibly talented group of people, create the best atmosphere for learning and build memories.

What role do you believe collaboration and networking play in driving innovation and growth within the beauty industry, and how does INNOCOS Summit facilitate these connections?

I believe in collaborations, and collaborations are happening nonstop at INNOCOS.

Collaborations contributed to the growth of INNOCOS, and I have seen many collaborations formed during our events. And if you think about it, of course, it’s a no–brainer; you often have just one line of product as a brand, for example, clean haircare, and decide to collaborate with clean skincare for a project. It’s a win-win! Each of you has clients with similar values of clean beauty, and this can be an opportunity to double your revenue; why not? Win-win. And there are many more ways to collaborate.

Collaboration is one way your business can innovate. By joining forces with other businesses, you can bring new expertise and ideas to your business challenges and attract new clients.

Finally, what can attendees expect from the upcoming INNOCOS Summit, and why should industry decision-makers mark it as a must-attend event on their calendars?

Expect to make new friends, learn from real case studies and real-life experiences, and have fun! When I look at the event program, what excites me the most is the people, all the amazing speakers and attendees who are coming. And with our events, speakers are more than just coming on stage and going, so you are desperately trying to make a connection running to the stage after the presentation. Our speakers are staying for all two days, and we get to know them closely; we have plenty of opportunities to talk.

Another essential part of the event is the pre-conference wellness workshop, which combines talks by experts with experiences—vigorous exercise, sound baths, meditation, cold plunges, and a tea ceremony, among others.

Health, longevity, and biohacking are big trends that took beauty by storm. We will celebrate the inaugural Biohackers Choice Beauty Awards during the dinner in a winery and host a shark-tank-inspired startup panel to discover new innovations in this area.

What else? AI makes big waves in beauty and completely changes how we buy and discover beauty products, and we will have an opportunity to try the latest, most advanced technologies presented by EveLab Insight and Perfect Corp.

And don’t forget about one of the best-rated parts of the program: the brainstorming session facilitated by David Silbergleit, CEO of PIMS. We will divide attendees into smaller groups and ask them to create the ultimate unboxing experience. This is an opportunity for all to express their knowledge and creativity; nothing unites more than an interactive part of the program!

So in short, what to expect – meeting the right people and creating unforgettable experiences, this is what INNOCOS stands for.