Authenticity has been a buzzword in the beauty world for years, but for new social media platform Newness, it’s a core part of the company’s mission.
Newness is a livestreaming platform focused on beauty. Founders Jenny Qian and Youri Park came together to launch the platform — which is still in its beta phase — in 2019 with the goal of creating an inclusive and friendly space for beauty-obsessed people to come together and share their love of skin care and makeup.
“One of the quotes that a fellow viewer had said that really stuck with myself and Youri is that ‘Newness is a place where you go to show up, not show off,’” Qian said. “That really captures the feeling of you’re here to hang out and be yourself and show up for the community, not just highlight the best of life.”
The founders met while working at video game livestreaming platform Twitch in the company’s early days and bonded over their mutual love of beauty. Qian, a life-long gamer — as is Park — saw how much livestreaming was resonating in the gaming industry and thought that the medium could also work in the beauty world. She pitched the idea to Park, who at that point had moved over to Facebook’s gaming division, and the two decided to pursue the venture together.
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“Beauty is an inherently social thing,” Qian said. “I view beauty as something that really brings people together, regardless of background or who you are. I think it could be something that not only strikes conversations, but in time also deepens relationships. Livestreaming is just the best conduit in having those conversations.”
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Each day, Newness has a schedule of livestreams from its content creators and brand partners. The livestreams are often focused on specific topics, like “Following Olivia Rodrigo’s Makeup Tutorial” or “My Current Curly Hair Routine” or are more generally beauty-focused. They also expand outside of beauty and oftentimes focus on topics such as mental health and race. Viewers can also shop products directly through the livestreams.
Newness’ livestreaming schedule. Courtesy
While virtually all other social media platforms offer livestreaming, Qian and Park see their point of difference as fostering and creating a safe space for their creators and viewers to come together. This is created initially through a chatroom moderator, who is present in all Newness livestreams. The moderator approves each message before it is posted in an effort to combat trolling and negativity.
Creators and viewers also do not see the viewer count, unlike platforms like Instagram, Facebook or TikTok, when the livestream is happening. This is done to eliminate any pressure from having a highly viewed livestream and helps the creator focus more on being in the moment and connecting with their viewers.
“I personally really hated going live on Instagram,” said influencer Alex Ayaub, who has streamed on Newness since the platform launched. “I didn’t like how you could see how many people were there and you could see when people arrived and left. It just wasn’t an organic experience. On Newness what I have found is that the biggest thing for me is it cultivates and creates a community that’s rooted in kindness, compassion and true support.”
The missing viewer count is just one aspect of Newness’ livestreams that for creators enhances the authentic vibe. Others see the raw, live videos as a stark contrast to the edited and filtered images that have become the norm on platforms like Instagram.
“Livestreaming is really important because people want to see you behind the filter,” said David Yi, founder of beauty brand Good Light, who hosts the talk show “The Glow Down” on Newness weekly. “In the mid-2010s, we were inundated with filters, AR and VR because of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram and now people want to see what people say and are behind those layers and filters.”
Newness has 187 creators livestreaming on the platform. Creators can apply through Newness’ website to stream on the platform or be invited by Newness personally.
The platform encourages inclusiveness by rewarding viewers who leave positive comments on livestreams with crystals. Viewers can later redeem their crystals for beauty products that Newness supplies through brand deals.
Rare Beauty’s Newness livestream. Courtesy of Newness
Newness has also recently started working with brands through a pilot program, where it is partnering with beauty brands such as Rare Beauty, Tatcha and Joanna Vargas for livestreams. These beauty brands have used Newness for product launches, speaking directly to their customers about the products’ ingredients list, benefits and usage.
Skin care brand Tatcha was one of the latest to launch a product on Newness, teaming with the platform in March to release its Silk Powder. Tatcha employed its newly appointed global director of artistry and education, makeup artist Daniel Martin, to do the two-day livestream event and connect with beauty fans.
“When we were working on this product, because it was so unique, I felt like we needed to have some sort of educational element to the launch,” Martin said. “I just felt like Newness would be a great platform because I was able to share why and how to use the product and answer questions in the chat.”
Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty also used Newness to debut its eyeshadow palettes last month and speak directly to its customers.
“Newness brings back an authenticity and excitement to beauty that we’ve been waiting for,” said Kate Welch, chief marketing officer at Rare Beauty. “What Newness does is it carved out a new space within our social media mix where you can truly have this positive, two-way conversation with beauty enthusiasts, which is something every brand wants.”
Newness is in growth mode. The company received $3.5 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital this February.
Qian and Park have plans to officially launch Newness soon and bring on more creators and brands, but emphasize that preserving the safe and inclusive space they’ve created on the platform is their top priority.
“In the long term, we really wanted to redefine beauty and empower,” Qian said. “Beauty is one way that brings people together, but ultimately, it’s much more than what we see at the surface. The way our platform is set up — because it’s so inclusive and inviting — it really empowers people to share their more vulnerable stories, which takes courage.”
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