Q & A Catch up with YSL


Emily Byrne, General Manager for YSL Beauty.


Please introduce yourself

I’m Emily Byrne worked for L’Oréal for just over 13 years in a variety of marketing roles in the luxury division, both in global product development and local operational marketing. Around 3 years ago I stepped into the role of General Manager for YSL Beauty.


Congratulations. What does it mean to you and the brand winning one of this year’s Copra Awards, especially in such a challenging time.

It was fantastic both for the whole YSL team to be recognised for a Copra award this year. The launch of YSL Libre was the project that consumed 2019 for us. It was so inspiring to collaborate with our retail partners on this launch. They were so committed to making it a huge success from day one.


What’s your favourite aspect of working within the Beauty and fragrance industry?

The most wonderful thing about the beauty and fragrance industry has to be the people. We’re a group that never stands still, always innovating together. I love the excitement in the room when our teams, or our retailers and other key partners discover a new product or launch. I also love L’Oréal’s incredible brand portfolio that really offers something for everyone.


The industry has been going through some incredible changes. What are the most exciting opportunities for someone looking to start a career in the beauty industry?

We’re at an inflection point, and 2020 was the catalyst for a series of profound shifts in how we talk to consumers, how people discover our brands and how we retail those brands. For those looking to start a career in beauty, I would encourage them to be really curious about what consumers want and how that is changing, and adjust their skillset to respond to it.


What’s your number 1 most important part you will take from last year and what’s your new focus for 2021?

There are so many lessons I will take about the shifts in our consumers’ mindsets and the beauty market from last year, but perhaps the most important shift is more centred on how we work. The first Covid-19 lockdown thrust us into new working patterns, as well as requiring new levels of agility that we had never seen before. Coming out of 2020, we have two big changes that are going to benefit both employees and companies alike. Firstly, we have had a unique opportunity to consider how we want to work in the future, which I am hopeful can give us and our teams more flexibility and fulfilment, and make us more productive for our employers. Secondly, having had our agility – our capacity to pivot and adapt quickly – tested so much in 2020, employees have a new-found confidence in their own abilities, and companies now have a proven route to profound change at pace.


We are looking to share all things positive. Do you have a positive memory, phrase, or an event you can share with us?

This year we launched a campaign called Abuse is Not Love, the beginning of a long-term partnership with Women’s Aid to fight against Intimate Partner Violence, which is a form of Domestic Abuse. It’s part of a global initiative that aims to raise awareness of the signs of Intimate Partner Violence, reaching at least 2 million worldwide. Here in the UK we’re funding Women’s Aid’s Expect Respect Tookit and Safer Futures Project which aim to raise awareness of Intimate Partner Violence to children and young people in an age-appropriate way, as well as training our YSL staff to sensitise them to the issue. I am so proud that we are able to use our brand voice to raise awareness of such an important issue, and I was delighted to see so many members of the YSL team posting about the partnership on their personal social media accounts, and saying how proud they were to work on such an important project. If you want to learn more, search for ‘9 Signs YSL’ or visit our website https://www.yslbeauty.co.uk/in-the-now/9-signs.html


What’s your key Beauty tip or quote?

I’m a big fan of products that can multitask. Bestselling YSL Touché Eclat Primer is not only a brilliant primer that makes any foundation glide on an stay put, but I also like to mix it with my foundation or Touché Eclat pen for a more lightweight radiant finish to my base. And finally it works brilliantly on hair too – I use it to smooth fine flyaway hair after blow-drying.


How important is Copra to you?

Copra brings together such a unique group of retailers, brands, and partners within the luxury beauty industry. In these changing times, it’s so important that we have these spaces to be able to celebrate our industry and innovate together.