Lady Gaga is Amazon’s golden ticket to beauty domination

On the make.
On the make.
Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly
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Lady Gaga has finally announced the launch of her cosmetics line, Haus Laboratories. Rumors of the line—a glitter-heavy, escalated drugstore-inspired collection—have been swirling for some time. What came as a surprise was who Gaga chose to be her exclusive launch partner:

Haus will sell kits with gloss, liner, and colorful makeup items on Amazon starting in September. The collection will be available throughout the US, France, and Germany, places where customers can use one-day and two-day shipping. In Asia and South America, they can buy Haus through Amazon’s global store.

Gaga’s partnership with Amazon—Haus will be the first major beauty brand to be released exclusively on the platform—is a curveball for the beauty industry. In an interview with Business of Fashion, she suggested that retaining creative control ultimately drove her decision:

“There are companies that see me and what I stand for and the way that I view the world, and if it’s not perfectly in line with what they do…they’ll be like, “Can you just change half of the equation?” The answer is no. No deal. No message of self-acceptance, no deal. This was so wonderful because this was like, “Let’s make a deal, let’s make a deal to change the world with their beauty.”

While it’s unclear what exactly that means, it’s true that other major beauty retailers, namely Ulta (which sells Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics) and the LVMH-owned Sephora (which sells Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty) might have placed more restrictions on what Gaga wanted to sell in stores.

In any case, the Haus Laboratories deal makes Amazon a legit player in the prestige beauty space, something it’s been making aggressive moves towards.

Amazon’s beauty moves

Amazon is already a premier destination for cosmetic products and a major beauty channel. It boasts three differentiated categories on its site:

It also unveiled a debut collection of inexpensive makeup products under its private label “find” in January.

In June, Amazon took two additional steps towards its main competitors (Ulta and Sephora, as well as Sally Beauty) with the launch of the Amazon Professional Beauty Store, an online venue for professional products. While it had offered a selection of pro-grade products for some time, the store means they’re now provided via brand partnerships with salon-grade companies rather than third-party retailers, a fact that had previously deterred professionals who were wary of purchasing fakes. (Shares of Ulta and Sally Beauty—the go-to suppliers for professionals—both fell on the news, with the latter dropping 17%.)

The Whole Foods connection

In addition, in an interview with the beauty publication Glossy, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market leaders revealed plans to make the grocery chain a sort of clean beauty destination by building on it’s already existing wellness and beauty section. This last step is perhaps one of it’s most aggressive: The beauty industry has proved unusually resilient to competition from Amazon, thanks in large part to the brick-and-mortar aspect of its competitors.

With all of that in mind, signing up for the Haus Laboratories line—which will be rolled out over the next two months with a Gaga-helmed marketing campaign is no small deal for Amazon. It’s exactly the kind of beauty cred it needs to get the prestige beauty world to take it seriously. And it wouldn’t be surprising if it opens the doors for even more high-end brands to come on board.