This Beauty Brand’s CEO Has Great Advice for Product Innovation and Job Security

Your customers have the answers, says Cover FX Skincare's Emily Culp

Video: Nick Gardner
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CEO Emily Culp can sum up her leadership style in three words: humility, humor and curiosity.

All three have helped her listen closely to customers of the beauty brand Cover FX Skincare, she shares on this episode of Top of Mind. Culp sat down with us at the CMO Moves Summit in New York this winter to talk about her best advice for leaders who want to innovate.

The best way to find and vet new product ideas is simply to ask customers what they want, she said. Cover FX recently asked its Instagram users this question: If you had a makeup genie, what abilities would he or she have?

“We had thousands of comments in a matter of minutes,” Culp said. “So that’s a great feed into our product innovation pipeline and how we evaluate different options.”

Culp said the beauty industry needs more innovation and transparency. Color-matching technology has improved, but it’s not perfect yet. And “clean beauty” has yet to be defined, languishing instead in the same murky space organic food was 20 years ago.

Culp’s most valuable advice is worth listening to, especially in uncertain economic times.

“Always stay close to a P and L, and be a revenue source, not overhead. I got that advice early on when I was going into marketing and as a result have always had a P and L associated with me,” Culp said. “I am really so grateful because the financial acumen along the way has made a massive difference taking that leap from marketing into a different type of leadership role.”

@stephpaterik Stephanie Paterik is the executive editor of Adweek, where she leads the editorial staff and strategy.