The Disruptors:
Creative Trends from the
CEW Female Founder Awards Honorees

2 min, 31 sec

The cosmetics industry, like most others, advances in waves; in smooth, collected and predictable steps, with its inhabitants following suit in the great migration forward. But sometimes, visionaries enter the market like curveballs. They shake up the ordinary and anticipated with new formulas, and manage to broadcast a heartfelt message that resonates with their consumers.

CEW’s new Female Founders Award program continues the organization’s vision of helping women in beauty achieve, advance and inspire by recognizing some true industry disruptors. When asked why she decided to start her own company, Madison Reed founder Amy Errett responded with what seems to capture the motivation behind all the honored brands: “I like being creative, I like to empower other people to be creative - and I like to break the rules.”

In our five-part series, we explore what sets the first winners apart through the lens of their creative and visual strategies, and attempt to conclude on some cutting-edge trends all beauty brands serious about innovation and the journey forward should keep an eye out for.

New Consumers, New Industry

The inaugural March 20th CEW event saw the founders of Madison Reed, Summer Fridays, Beautycounter, Tatcha and Briogeo honored. Upon examining the brands’ foundational pillars, it’s easy to see why CEW selected these five as pioneers within the beauty industry. All companies have grown on the basis of intrinsic values that ensure they stand out from the crowd – and implemented innovative and disruptive visual strategies in line with the ever-evolving world of social media. 

We’re moving towards a consumer base that’s increasingly concerned with honesty, transparency and accountability. The cosmetics products women and men choose are no longer just about beauty enhancement; they’re also about the development process, the ingredient sourcing and the chemical recipe for every single item that goes on the shelf. 

Every honoree from the first Female Founder awards has succeeded in launching and building a business that’s clean, ethical and candid. Furthermore, all five pride themselves on one very important principle: They strive to contribute to their consumers’ confidence. Rather than positioning themselves as the only solution to their customer’s beauty challenges, they use their products to build a symbiotic relationship between individual and company. And this concept of reciprocity seeps into the brands’ visual strategies, too.

Conversing with the Consumer

There are many ways to open a line of dialogue with your customers. Traditionally, advertisements have been the main visual medium for beauty brands, but the honorees from CEW’s program have reshaped the mold. Consumer education has become crucial in the natural beauty space; an informed consumer will choose brands that are working in their best interests. Harmful ingredients, what to watch out for, and how-to-use are necessary components in an effective communication and visual strategy. 


Every winner from the Female Founder awards ceremony has their own take on this approach, and in the next five installments, we’ll examine how Madison Reed, Summer Fridays, Beautycounter, Tatcha and Briogeo have succeeded in using visuals to establish a unique connection with their ideal client.