Kory Marchisotto is no stranger to being first.
The chief marketing officer of E.l.f. Beauty and president of Keys Soulcare, who first brought the brand on then-fledgling TikTok and whipped up the brand’s viral Jennifer Coolidge commercial for the Super Bowl in a mere three weeks, likes to be first to any space. It’s what she calls “moving at the speed of culture.”
When she has an idea, “Don’t do it in six months, or nine months, or 12 months from now when all the KPIs are perfect and buttoned up,” she said. “Do it now. Jump in the deep end of the pool, and start swimming.”
That’s an important tenet of her roadmap to success: starting with getting ingrained in the audience, dream big, put one’s feet on the ground and end with lightning fast execution.
Marchisotto was the first of her siblings to attend college, when she landed a job at Parfums Givenchy after a slew of financial job interviews that she found sterile. “Minute one in the Givenchy office, I was totally seduced,” she said. “I realized the power of how beauty makes you feel, that this was a category with a deep emotional connection — this wasn’t actually about selling products. It was about feelings, emotions, and that you could touch people in a way I had never seen in the CPG space, or in anything I had studied.”
From there, she went to Puig, working on brands like Jean Paul Gaultier, Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci. After that, she worked on a slew of designer brands at Shiseido. She carried lessons from each to E.l.f.
“When I think about where I started, it’s an incredible collection of experiences,” Marchisotto said. “Jean Paul Gaultier is the ultimate anti-conformist. Issey Miyake taught me the power of infinite curiosity…my experience with Burberry was digital domination, they taught me about having my finger on the pulse of digital synapses. I worked at Hermès, I still have orange blood in my veins, they taught me about captivating and compelling storytelling, and I worked on Narciso Rodriguez for years, which taught me discipline.”
In 2019, when Marchisotto joined E.l.f., the goal was to translate her learnings from prestige beauty — with high-spend consumers she calls “the lucky few” — to touch more shoppers via beauty.
“It’s a culture of innovation and humility,” she said of the ethos of E.l.f. “That’s what makes us a unicorn; I was drawn to the idea that you can be both disruptive and do it with humanity. The second thing is, I saw limitless potential.”
Among her coups is Keys Soulcare, the brand she helms alongside founder Alicia Keys, which she sees as the future of beauty. “Beauty has to deliver more than a functional benefit, more than going to reduce fine lines and wrinkles,” she said. “It takes me full circle to what I learned the minute I walked into Givenchy, which is all about how people feel. [Brands] have to deliver a deep, meaningful emotional resonance that is on this bridge between beauty and wellness. Beauty needs to transcend into another dimension.”