Learning to Navigate Institutional Markets for the Next Generation

Young people today are thinking about their future earlier than ever. Gone are the days of “I’ll find my major before I graduate.” Instead, it’s the days of the lemonade stands that turn into business plans, seed capital, and a resulting entrepreneurial journey.

In many ways, branding comes early in the life of the very young, also known as Generation Alpha. According to an NC State article, the habits and outlook of Generation Alpha mirror those of their millennial parents. “As health-conscious guardians, millennial parents are looking for a lot of information about the products they buy and expose their children to,” says author Heather Dretsch. Like their parents, Alphas seem to seek out high-quality, health-conscious, and sustainable products with technology, diversity, and immediacy at the forefront.

Today’s youth has been marketed through social media, television, apps, games, and other media. But, according to Common Sense Media, advertisers are acutely aware of the long-term effects of getting their brand to young people as early as possible. “Advertisers know that children are a major influence on their parents’ purchasing decisions, to the tune of $500 billion a year,” Common Sense cites of advertising for children.

However, in some industries, such as beauty products, advertisers tend to position their marketing around already established models that appeal more to adults than young people. As a result, mature messages are presented to younger audiences trying to develop their identity and explore their emotional space in the world.

Samantha Cutler, the founder of Petite ‘n Pretty, has used 17 years of product development experience in the professional makeup industry with brands such as Smashbox, MAC Cosmetics and others to launch a line of age-appropriate products for young girls. to explore their personal development and self-esteem.

Cutler recognized that if beauty products were already marketed to a younger age group, she might as well deliver a healthy, age-appropriate product that educates through inspiration, empowerment, motivation, and motivation. equity and inclusion.

While working for famous brands, many friends and acquaintances asked her if she could recommend products, and she realized how many products were not suitable for young children.

“I never got a response, the products weren’t age appropriate. Many products had suggestive naming conventions, or the colors were extremely pigmented, which many parents wouldn’t feel at home. comfortable giving to their daughter or son,” Cutler says.

Product integrity is essential to Cutler, and some merchandise marketed does not represent clean beauty. Additionally, some have been produced overseas without proper testing, which would appeal to parents who want the safest products for their children.

As a mother herself, she knew there was a need. “I felt like there was this white space of opportunity in beauty, beauty education, and I always wanted to create a brand. But the beauty market is saturated with 300 times more brands launched each year than when I started working. So I wanted to make sure there was a purpose behind what I was doing.”

Niche Market

Cutler primarily focuses on the 7-12 year old niche market. Although cute in nature, the company name is imbued with feedback from young children’s associations and enforcement principles. “I gave my three-year-old daughter names and when the word ‘pretty’ came up, she immediately understood what it meant. There was a familiarity, and ‘pretty’ is a feeling that comes from the inside, a good feeling. Small is everything we produce. Everything is slightly smaller and gives a first-time user the best initial experience.”

At its core, Cutler tries to bring confidence and comfort to children by beginning what she calls “the journey of beauty” and building into the offerings. “What I like to say is if your daughter or son is going to ride a bike for the first time, you’re not going to give them a mountain bike,” she says. “Everyone starts the journey at a different age, and we’re here to support them and be their friend, knowing there are no mistakes along the way.”

Zoom Educational Camps

During the pandemic, Cutler has found using Zoom Camps to be a wonderful educational and informational tool. “The camps were a great source of income for us and a brand building experience. These kids were so bored and stuck at home, and ultimately it was an opportunity for us to create a fun brand building experience. brand with dynamic, engaging and creative activities.


Cutler’s ability to team up with influencers like Piper Rockelle, with nearly 10 million YouTube subscribers, is part of the process of bringing people from other worlds together. Cutler noticed that the number of certain influencers skyrockets after the collaboration process. “There’s a fascinating dynamic with influencers, actresses and dancers, and we bring them together for photo shoots. As a result, different audiences come together, and everyone starts to follow each other and learn socially from each other. .”


Many brands try to target young consumers. Still, Cutler acknowledges that many brands don’t integrate them directly into marketing or bring them together for learning workshops or photo shoots. “They know there’s an audience and a consumer that sits on TikTok all day, or Instagram, but they don’t necessarily hire a 12-year-old for a photoshoot. They’re trying to get the audience to engage with their brand but not directly.” It’s a direct relationship that seems to set Cutler’s efforts apart from others.

big picture

With growth rates of 30% to 40% last year, Petite ‘n Pretty plans to grow at a rate of 30% this year. Online sales on Amazon and others have been successful, and Cutler is returning to Ulta.com stores this year. The projection is to build the brand image in stores in the United States with international efforts on the horizon.

Cutler’s approach is a more hands-on collaborative effort. An iterative educational process that gets to know the younger generation while generating consumer behaviors authentic to their consumer needs. Cutler recognizes that the younger generation is not necessarily and usually brand loyal, but rather driven by a loyalty found in authentic experiences that speak to them and speak to the world they form.

Samantha Cutler has found her entrepreneurial groove with her maternal instincts intact. His thriving business exemplifies the scale businesses can grow if brands and owners maintain a sense of identity along the way and learn about the needs and understanding of the younger generation.

Even though cosmetics tend to be viewed as “outward-facing,” Cutler is building a business of substance that stays true to the consumer base with sensitivity to market trends, sustainability, and safety.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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