That was the topic on hand at HBA Global Expo’s June 10 product development conference, “Launching a Product in the Highly Competitive Beauty World.” Personal care products were reviewed from start to finish and consumer shopping trends were also highlighted in the presentations.
Cynthia Beesemyer, general manager of Marula-The Leakey Collection and founder/president of The Brand Initiative, Los Angeles, shared her company’s success story with the launch of Marula Oil. The collection was co-founded by Philip and Katy Leakey, along with a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ashton Kaidi. Marula-The Leakey has been clinically tested to have 16% more antioxidants than argan or grape seed oil, according to the company.
The brand’s distribution plan really helped propel the skin care into the right hands, according to Beesemyer.
“With our target audience, we reached out to hybrids like Ulta, BlissSpas and Beauty Collection as well as specialty beauty outposts that were trendy and great for our image. Home shopping was also great for brand awareness,” she said.
Beesemyer added that Marula took “a rifle not a shotgun approach” with its public relations and social media and selected co-op advertising and merchandising at Sephora as well as sampling via Birchbox and Beauty Army to spread the word about the skin care line. For Fall 2014, Marula will expand to include an eye cream that is very “high quality and treatment oriented,” she said.
Ultimately, the success of Marula hinged on leveraging a unique concept in an emerging skin care market, contended Beesemyer.
“We took beauty oils and translated them into a saleable, uniquely differentiated and compelling product via brand positioning and premium pricing,” she explained.
Matthew Malin, founder of Malin+Goetz, New York, also shared his successful business models. This unisex, high-end apothecary brand targeting those with sensitive skin is big in stores like Barneys and Bloomingdale’s. According to Malin, the “luxury niche” angle of the brand positioned it well in major cities like New York, London and Los Angeles.
“Our brand identity is of a modern apothecary,” said Malin. “And public relations is one of the best investments we ever made.”
Malin+Goetz personal care products, which span from grapefruit face cleanser to peppermint shampoo, feature color-coded fonts set at “high-end men’s and lower-end women’s luxury price points,” according to Malin. He added that the formulations feature “a traditional approach using natural ingredients that perform.”
In recent years, Malin+ Goetz has expanded into ancillary products such as fragrances with non-synthetic ingredients. Its popular Dark Rum fragrance was expanded into a candle format and is now a key player in the brand’s amenity program.
“Our strong relationships with contract manufacturers and packaging suppliers have also really helped us,” said Malin.
Strategic partnerships have also fueled the momentum of the brand. For example, LVMH collaborated with Malin+Goetz for a limited run, 50-000 piece mojito lip balm to distribute at bars in relation to a drink launch. Even though it took “months of logistics,” the project was a success, said Malin.
Health and beauty is the secret to anti-aging—and the multi-channel marketplace is rife with ways to spread the word, noted presenter Diane Miles of TSG Consumer Partners. Miles, who has more than 25 years of experience in building skin care and cosmetic brands and was previously profiled in Happi (http://www.happi.com/issues/2014-03-01/view_features/miles-a-minute/), has been at the helm of many companies that have made their mark in the beauty sector. Today, she is an operating partner at investment firm TSG and has served as CEO of both Perricone MD and Benefit Cosmetics as well as president of Bare Escentuals.
“Beauty now is being offered in many outlets to reach as many consumers as possible,” said Miles, “and multi-channel gives indie brands a foothold into the industry.”
According to Miles, a brand’s website is critical to define the image that it reflects. Research shows that 50% of people will go online before purchasing beauty products to get information, 67% to read product specs, 51% to read reviews and 41% to learn more after seeing an advertisement. Additionally, one out of four beauty shoppers make purchases online.
“The digital revolution is here to stay,” said Miles.