Makeup powerhouse Sephora’s flagship event – and the biggest beauty event of the year – Sephoria, went virtual this year for their House of Beauty event. Pivoting from a live, ticketed event to a virtual, free one proved to create some unique opportunities for Sephora.

Sephora reinforced their inclusive approach to beauty and told the story of their brand values, while engaging attendees with virtual games, tutorials, surprises, and special content. From expert-led makeup demos, to Q&A sessions with makeup gurus – this event was packed with exciting content. Sephora really used the virtual space to their advantage, keeping attendees engaged with a variety of virtual experiences throughout the 3-hour event.

The makeup brand hosted the event in a virtual, 3D environment similar to a 360-degree gaming world, where attendees could explore 5 different virtual rooms while interacting with beauty icons and surprise guests. Games offered the chance to win exclusive Sephora swag, and you could even take selfies in the virtual photo booths powered by QR codes!

Inside the virtual house, which was elegantly decorated and – of course – featured Sephora’s signature stripes, event goers could explore different rooms at their own pace through clickable hot spots. The Sun Room featured Sephora’s clean and sustainable products through a variety of tutorials. In the Sephoria Loft, attendees had the chance to meet and network with brand influencers, beauty directors, and special experts including a skincare doctor. The Home Theatre offered masterclasses and long-form tutorials led by the brand’s founders. In the Family Room, beauty icons engaged in “real talk” about underrepresentation in the beauty industry and attendees discussed what “belonging” meant to them. The final room, the Back Yard, acted as a party space where a virtual DJ played music, event goers played games to win prizes, and special guests showed up.

The event offered options to purchase special tickets, which included a Virtual House of Beauty Experience Kit mailed to attendees’ homes. Inside the kit you’d find product samples in both travel and full sizes, swag bags, and more.

Strategic partnerships at the virtual event included a virtual fitting room by ThirdLove and workouts powered by obé Fitness. Plus, shoppable links to Sephora products were placed throughout the experience.

“As we have all adapted and have learned to connect in new ways during these unique times, there are definitely advantages to the virtual format,” said Kate Biancamano, Director of Events & Experiential Marketing at Sephora. “It allowed for us to connect with attendees from all over the country who may previously have not been able travel to attend the event in person, for example. The virtual format also allowed us to gather some additional pre-recorded content from our participating brands and talent, which helped enhance the experience by offering even more content for attendees to explore during and post-event.”

Will the success of this virtual event set the bar higher for other brands who host online experiences? Is this a stepping stone into the world of virtual reality events and experiential opportunities within the metaverse?