Clubhouse: Inside the exclusive app and what it means for the beauty world
And whether it’s here to stay
By Tiarne Blackwell
April 15 2021
Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall during unedited, in-depth discussions between people who are experts on the topics that matter to you most? With Clubhouse, you can do just that.
At just a year old and already valued at $1 billion, the voice-based chat app has been making tremendous waves worldwide. The platform grew to two million users in January, before spiking to a whopping 10 million in February. And it doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down any time soon.
In fact, Clubhouse is no longer just a haven for the select few (although you still need an invite to join). While some wildly familiar names have recently graced it with their presence (think the likes of Zendaya, Paris Hilton, Drake and more), Clubhouse is now home to an incredibly diverse range of users – the beauty world included.
Beauty professionals and influencers have all flooded the app over the past few months – and these key players have a lot to say. Below, they reveal everything we’ve been dying to know about the platform that could take over the social media world.
What exactly is Clubhouse?
Confused as to what this new kid on the block actually is? You’re not alone. Put simply, Clubhouse is a social media platform that allows users to pop in and out of audio chat rooms discussing different subjects. It has been described as a podcast and a live panel discussion hybrid, but with absolutely no editing or soundtracks.
You can start your own chat room, simply listen to others, or you can even work up the courage to participate in the conversation, should the rules of that particular room allow it.
The only hindrance? The invite you need to start has to come from an existing user and currently they only get two at first, as Clubhouse is still in its beta stage. This, however, is arguably what gives the platform its current air of exclusivity.
What does Clubhouse offer?
The most vital thing Clubhouse offers brands and publicists is information, according to Hive HQ director, Jessy Marshall.
“Clubhouse allows industry leaders, consumers, marketers and brands to connect and share,” explains Marshall. “Whether it be on ingredient trends; celebrities seen using particular products; how to guides; or social platforms and engagement. There is always something happening on Clubhouse of high value – and if you aren’t on and listening or interacting, you might miss out.”
Stellar PR account manager, Sophia Shannon agrees, confirming that however you choose to participate, you're going to be learning and connecting. This, she believes, is because through actively engaging in discussions, there’s great potential to spread the word about important and innovative things clients are doing. It’s also a great opportunity for brands with experts, as they can lead informative discussions and talk directly with customers.
From a brand’s perspective, Ipsum Skin founder, Janet Hayward has been participating in discussions on inspiration and ingredients for her brand, which has been great for making contacts. She has also witnessed other brands spreading awareness by starting a room and hosting Groups to promote discourse around their beauty products.
As for what Clubhouse can offer influencers and bloggers, beauty influencer Hannah English says it’s fabulous for connecting with and building communities, as it makes it easier to show more personality and build a real rapport. She is yet to promote any beauty products, but has participated in talks and is using the app as a tool for networking.
How does Clubhouse compare to other platforms?
While there’s no doubt Clubhouse offers a unique, unparalleled social experience, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will replace the other big players any time soon.
“We’re still using other platforms, and with the massive audiences these platforms have, it doesn’t seem like that will change,” says Shannon. “We think each app has a purpose and a place. Our challenge on behalf of the brands we represent is to provide the right information that the consumer is looking for in the right place and continue to develop authentic and engaged communities.”
There are definitely things Clubhouse can’t compete with, says Marshall. For instance, it doesn’t offer recording, or the option to replay audio. You also can’t share directly, or share imagery or video. This, she believes, means Clubhouse won’t replace the platforms that offer these features.
That being said, it is unique enough that other existing players won’t be able to easily compete. While platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, for instance, offer competing features, Clubhouse is in a league of its own (for now anyway!)
As a reputable influencer who works in beauty and is a woman, English finds Clubhouse much more refreshing than anything else, expressing how nice it is to take a break from the pressure of visual platforms like Instagram.
“As much as we protest about gendered beauty standards, there’s still an impact on my metrics when I wear makeup on Instagram stories compared to when I don’t.”
In fact, she often receives messages when she posts makeup-free, with fans praising her for braving the ‘no filter’ look. Thinking she looked perfectly fine and having not even set out to make a particular statement, English welcomes Clubhouse’s unique respite.
So is Clubhouse here to stay?
While Clubhouse is still very young and – like all platforms – has its share of both positives and negatives, it has already made incredible headway and is only predicted to continue on this path once it becomes available to the public.
One standout feature that makes the app successful though, says Shannon, is that it offers an open space for anyone and everyone to speak, which is empowering for a diverse range of people.
“It will grow and we think it’s a platform that women have been waiting for in a sense. Unlike so many apps, it has nothing to do with how you look, but rather what you have to say. It gives women a platform to use their voices and meaningfully connect with one another beyond a like or a small comment.”
Meanwhile, Hayward feels one of the great advantages of Clubhouse is that the membership is a level playing field.
“When you join a room you can put up your hand to join any conversation – whether it’s with a group of magazine editors or beauty brand start-ups. Diversity is pretty much covered by Clubhouse, which is why I find it so relevant and inspiring.”
Main image credit: Getty Images
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