Estée Lauder Companies and TikTok team up to launch incubator programme

By Julia Wray | Published: 26-Jun-2024

Two beauty industry ‘storytellers’ will get the chance to win $250,000 in financial backing

Estée Lauder Companies’ (ELC) early-stage investment and incubation arm has teamed up with TikTok to spotlight emerging ‘storytelling’ talent in the beauty industry. 

Called The Catalysts and created by ELC’s New Incubation Ventures (NIV), the new global programme will reward “emerging storytellers with fresh visions for the beauty industry”, according to the cosmetics giant.

Two winners will receive up to $250,000 in financial backing, as well as mentorship and project assistance.

“Today, founding a beauty brand takes more than traditional business acumen; it’s about crafting narratives, building communities and shaping not just trends but also broader conversations and movements,” said NIV’s Senior Vice President, Shana Randhava. 

“Founders are storytellers, cultural ambassadors, filmmakers, designers, gamers and artists.

“Their visions of beauty – expressed via product, retail experiences, films, content – continue to fuel growth in the beauty sector. 

“We set out to create a programme to identify and elevate these visionaries as they continue to drive innovation and push the conversation forward.”

TikTok’s Global Head of Partnerships, Vanessa Craft, added: "We’ve witnessed the evolution of beauty firsthand on TikTok, not just through how products are shared and discovered, but how they are experienced.

“We’re proud to have created a space where everyone is able to explore the diversity and inclusivity of beauty – driven by our incredible community of creators and brands who enable enthusiasts to be a part of something and see how beauty products perform on people that look like them.”

Craft added that TikTok was “delighted to be joining The Estée Lauder Companies in finding and nurturing future pioneers of the beauty industry”.

The Catalysts’ applicants will be judged by a 21-strong jury of creative figures. 

These include Randhava and Craft, as well as hairstylist Eugene Souleiman; make-up artist Hung Vanngo; Ruba Abu-Nimah, Global Creative Director at Revlon; Drew Elliott, Global Creative Director of MAC Cosmetics; and Made By Mitchell’s Mitchell Halliday.

To support applicants, The Catalysts will unveil ten masterclasses in which industry leaders share their insights for building a next-generation beauty brand.

Applications for The Catalysts are now live and will remain open until 4 August. 

Winners will be announced in October at a Paris-based event.

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