What to buy and why—from a man who knows.
As the vice-president of global beauty and grooming for Net-a-porter (women) and Mr Porter (men)—two brands that define online luxury shopping—david Olsen is responsible for everything related to planning, buying, sales and marketing. He’s the guy who decides which skincare, haircare, shaving, makeup and fragrance items—nearly 4,000 of them—will be sold on the shopping sites. In other words, he can probably teach you a thing or two about eye creams.
“They’re shocked to discover that a middle-aged man with three kids is the beauty buyer for Net-a-porter! I got my start working as a litigator by day and helping my dermatologist mother develop an e-commerce business by night. I quit law and started an online business for plastic surgeons and medical spas to sell their own products, and I eventually sold it off. I joined the Net-aPorter Group in 2012, and we started selling beauty products online in March 2013.”
“That it’s okay to use high-end skincare products. It’s an investment, and good products are better at maintaining your skin. A $2 shaving cream is easy to get, but it’s not doing much for your face.”
“It takes time for men to get comfortable shopping for grooming products because we’re still skeptical and we don’t know what to do. Here’s what made me start to take a serious interest in the products I use: When I was around 27, I was in a bar with friends playing that ‘How old do you think I am?’ game with some women we were hitting on. One of them guessed that I was 42. I said, ‘What? Why?!’ She said, ‘You have horrible crow’s feet.’ From that day on, I was an eye-cream fanatic.” [Laughs]
“Every year they forecast that this will be the time when the men’s grooming market explodes, but I think it will be a slow burn. It’s important with beauty or grooming products that we explain to people very clearly how to use them so they don’t need to go into a store to try it first. We make videos and really educate those who come to our sites about the products they’re buying.”
“Pay attention to what your wife uses. If she loves YSL Touche Éclat, then go buy her that. You can also look at gifts as an opportunity to get a little of what you want too. If you haven’t seen her wear red lipstick but you love how it looks, buy her one!”
“I got this simple but very real advice from my mom: Treat people the way you want to be treated. It gets you a long way in both business and life. To succeed, you have to have a vision. I believe in creative visualization. Write down your goals and have a very clear idea of where you want to go or what you want to do. When you know what your end game is, making decisions becomes that much easier.”
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