The Monday Media Diet with Katie Welch

On beauty regimens, career advice, and a very good breathing app

Katie Welch (KPW) is a longtime friend of WITI. She’s always been interesting on trends and emerging consumer behaviors and is doing some cool career coaching and mentoring work on an unexpected medium: TikTok. Here, she shares her recommendations with us. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself. Midwesterner, dog-rescuer, beauty industry mentor, friend and … and suddenly, a TikToker. I’m currently the CMO of Rare Beauty, Selena Gomez’s beauty brand.  We launched Rare Beauty at Sephora stores in US, Canada and in September 2020. We built much of the brand during the height of the pandemic—in hindsight, I’m so proud of all that we were able to accomplish!  Previously, I was the GM of Honest Beauty and CMO of Hourglass Cosmetics. 

From St. Louis, but for many years, I lived in New York. Much of my career was in communications at Weber Shandwick. I learned an immeasurable amount from Gail Heimann; if she were to ever have a book or newsletter, it would be at the absolute top of my media diet!

I recently moved to Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles. And I love it. Much to my surprise (!) I now own surfboard and a wetsuit, but odds are you would find me walking along the beach versus in it.  

Describe your media diet. 

So much of my attention span is dedicated to social media due to my job that I make a conscious effort to read things outside of my industry. 

I admit to being an over-subscriber to newsletters.  Here are a few of my always-open favorites: 

For pop culture curation, I make sure to read Public Announcement and Pop Culture Mondays.  I won’t lie: it’s satisfying if I already read or seen what they’ve curated!  

The quarterly reports from High Snobiety have been really great, as well. 

For brand marketing, Lean Luxe, Marker on Medium, Marketing Brew and New Consumer are always at the top of my list. I try to stay on top of Afdhel Aziz’s Forbes column, too.  He often profiles executives in social impact.  

Of course, I read the headlines for fashion and beauty trades every day.  My list includes Business of Fashion, WWD, Beauty Matter and Beauty Independent.

Other favorites include NYT In Her Words and Forbes Broadsheet.  I glance at HBR Ascend occasionally, too. 

Print magazines are my weakness.  I miss a NYC magazine store like crazy. There are some in LA, but their inventory isn’t nearly as broad!  My subscriptions include: Monocle, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Mag, New Yorker, Adage, Adweek, Artform, System, The Gentlewoman. I get the Sunday NYT, but I sometimes only read the Style section. Don’t judge me. 

What’s the last great book you read?  

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 

What are you reading now?

Adam Grant’s Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know 

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

Start to finish, front cover to the back. I take in everything, ads included. I still tear sheets out for inspiration. I’ve been doing that since the ‘90s…when I was an intern at Marie Claire.  

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

I really enjoy Sari Azout’s points of view in her Check Your Pulse newsletter.  Her insights on micro-communities have stuck with me as we built Rare Beauty.   

Darian Symoné Harvin’s beauty and pop culture newsletter Beauty IRL is also a must-subscribe, if you’re interested in beauty or its impact in culture.  It’s a mix of curated stories as well as Darian’s takes.   

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

Breathing App – I have tried all the meditation apps – ALL OF THEM – but this one? I stuck with it.  It’s just breathing.  No mantras, no talking, no stories.  With a super simple interface, the sound and visuals are synchronized to guide your breathing.  I was having a tough time getting into traditional meditation apps but this one felt different.

Plane or train?

Plane. And, like most of us, I miss travel right now.  I’ve gotten my travel fix from my friend Michelle’s TikTok account, @laxtoluxury.  Michelle and I once bonded over our obsession for EVA Air’s Rimowa amenity kit—she’s truly travel and plane obsessed.  She turned her passion into educational and entertaining content.  I love seeing travel through her lens!    

What is one place everyone should visit? 

This is tough to narrow down, but I’ll say Singapore, for a few reasons.  In 2008, I lived there for several months.  There’s much to experience from Singaporean, Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. AND…after you’ve seen much of Singapore, it’s a quick flight to almost anywhere in Southeast Asia. 

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

I’m afraid I have fallen so deep into a TikTok rabbit hole, that I now have my own account.  As you know, their algorithm curates content that fits you best.  I naturally landed beauty, marketing and career side of the app.  I realized that I could use the app to pay it forward and share my career insights—many people want to work in beauty, but don’t even know where to begin.  In fact, had I not met Robin Burns when I was 19, I don’t think I would have ever known it was a career to be had!  

And suddenly, a TikTok account was born. I received so many questions that I started mentoring individuals one-on-one.  I’ve gotten to know some incredibly kind and determined individuals. I’ve even helped two people find jobs. And hopefully, more to come. The industry can be tough to break into (you gotta know someone).  Maybe I can be that someone.  

BTW: All of TikTok is a rabbit hole.  Once you find a creator that you like, you’ll watch their videos all the way to the beginning. And then…3 hours have passed!  A few of my favorite creator accounts include @theEthanFields, @Lemonheaven_, @sarah_hennessy1, @xoxoethan and @JaleesaJaikaran.  

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Katie (KPW)

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