The Round Table discussions at the Marketing Trends presentations brought together leading experts from across the beauty and personal care industry to highlight their work and engage in debating key issues. The discussions were also an opportunity for the audience to participate by posing questions and, in some cases, challenge the views of the experts. This year, there were Round Tables on the business of launching green products, how niche brands tackle a crowded marketplace, the growing impact of smart technology on beauty and how it is empowering the consumer, and the latest trends and innovations in dermocosmetology.
How to Launch Green Products in Big Retailers vs Specialty Shops
Moderator: Julia Wray, Editor, SPC magazine
Panellists: Sonia White, Managing Director, Love Lula; Imelda Burke, Founder, Content Beauty; Jo Chidley, Founder, Beauty Kitchen
Julia Wray began the discussion with an overview of the natural & organic beauty market in numbers. Natural beauty products are worth $32bn globally (Kline Group), while the organic sector is valued at $10.4bn globally by Organic Monitor. When it comes to skincare purchases, natural or organic is the fifth most important influencer behind price, well-known brand, super-high quality and function, according to Euromonitor. Highlighting the many certification bodies in the US and Europe, Wray commented: “The downside is that they all have different criteria which ends up confusing the consumer.” However, the increase in ethical labels fits with the green and ethical messages that many certified natural and organic brands seek to promote. “Beauty brands are focusing less on words such as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, and instead are promoting other selling points,” she explained, highlighting Bull Dog men’s toiletries, Pai and Odylique skincare and the Beauty Kitchen toiletries as examples. Other influences on the growth in natural & organic beauty include the trend for wellness and ‘clean’ cuisine, with their focus on organic and unprocessed foods.
Jo Chidley developed Beauty Kitchen, a 100% natural toiletries range that offers everyday luxury. She was a disgruntled customer, who could not find what she wanted, so built a brand with no compromise on efficacy and that relies heavily on consumer feedback as an important part of the product development process. The Beauty Kitchen shop in Glasgow runs workshops where customers can learn about natural ingredients and create their own bath bomb, body scrub or face mask products that are tailored to suit their skin and personal preferences. Chidley has also adapted the DIY approach for Holland & Barrett where it sells Create Your Own Bath Bomb and Create Your Own Lip Balms kits. Describing how she managed to persuade the Holland & Barrett buyer to stock her products, she said: “The pitch is key. My meeting was in Starbucks and I made a handscrub for the buyer whilst we were talking.” This helped her stand out and the retailer accepted five products to sell in its stores and online. “It was a challenge, but I had the confidence we could deliver. It is a partnership, rather than a supplier/buyer relationship.”
Imelda Burke launched Content Beauty in 2008 as a shop in London and website, after finding a gap in the market for premium natural and organic beauty products. “We created a series of events for organic beauty which linked the maker of the products with the consumer. It resulted in high engagement,” she explained. By involving the brand founders who talked about organic ingredients and food, Burke was able to engage with her customers’ lifestyles, not just the products. The result has been a high level of customer loyalty to the Content Beauty website and shop. A strong trend is for premium organic anti-ageing products and colour cosmetics. “It’s hard to do natural colour, so there aren’t many good brands on the market,” maintained Burke.
Sonia White has similarly experienced high loyalty and repeat purchase from customers who want to know a lot more about brands and their ethics. She developed her own successful organic skincare brand, before merging with organic beauty online business Love Lula. “I’m approached so often by brands wanting to be stocked and rather than say no to them, they can upload their brand into a section of the site. It’s crucial they have the right ingredients, ethics and values. We can monitor what happens over a period of time,” she said. White is not fazed by the growing competitiveness of the sector. “It’s a good thing and we have to work harder to educate the consumer.”
Finding the Right Niche
Moderator: Angelika Meiss, Editor, COSSMA
Panellists: Sian Sutherland, Founding Partner, Mama Mio and Mio Skincare; Jonna Jalkanen, Founder, Sophie La Girafe Cosmetics; Jane Atherton, Creative Director, Phytomone
Each of the panelists have created brands in growth segments: pregnancy, skin fitness, premium babycare and menopause skincare. Sian Sutherland has spent her career in the world of brand creations and described herself as a “serial entrepreneur”. After almost 10 years, she sold her company Mama Mio, having co-created two successful skincare brands from scratch. “When I was pregnant with my first son 20 years ago, there was nothing out there for expectant mothers,” explained Sutherland, who co-created Mama Mio. “Retailers said they get it, but didn’t know where to put it as it was the first pregnancy skincare brand on the market.” Fortunately, the concept took off and in 2014, she launched Mio, a skin fitness brand. “I’m active and wanted my skin to be as fit as my muscles,” she said. Sutherland has forged new vocabulary in skincare, focusing on feeling good, rather than fighting age. “It’s not about age, but attitude,” she maintained.
Jonna Kalkanen was working as a toy distributor for the successful non-toxic baby toy and teether range, when the opportunity arose to extend the brand into premium babycare. The award-winning baby skincare products are all certified organic. The six products are distributed in 27 countries, including Germany, UK, Spain and the US, and there are collaborations with Mandarin Oriental and Interflora.
Jane Atherton spotted a gap when she couldn’t find a skincare product for menopausal women. As a clinical nutritionist, she was well aware of the type of products and ingredients needed as the skin ages. For example, oestrogen declines with age and is responsible for skin density, cell turnover, natural oil production and the regulation of melatonin. She worked with cosmetic scientists to produce bio-identical hormones from plant hormones for the Phytomone skincare products.
Meiss asked the brand owners whether they conducted market research before launching. Sutherland said she did not, but instinctively knew there had to be a market for Mama Mio given the number of pregnancies each year. Jalkanen also focused on what she knew, had an idea of the demand but trusted her gut feeling. Atherton had facts and figures, “but it doesn’t mean they’ll translate into the real world,” she pointed out. Part of her research involved interviewing shoppers on London’s Oxford Street, which gave her the confidence that she was doing the right thing.
Starting a business can be fraught with unexpected obstacles. Atherton described the difficulties in working with suppliers in the early days. “When you start a new business you don’t want 10,000 bottles. You should always go in and negotiate the lowest price and quantity you want. Manufacturers need to be aware of this.” Sutherland advised of the need to go into an area you are familiar with and to take baby steps. “When consumers then come back, it shows you’ve got something good.”
Jalkanen found online to be an interesting journey. “Our Facebook page is very popular: it’s all about building community,” she said.
Trends and Innovations in Dermocosmetology
Moderators: Vincent Gallon, Managing Editor, Publisher & Editor PremiumBeautyNews.com and BrazilBeautyNews.com; Anne Canet-Charpentier, CEO, Attraction Consulting, Member of the European Centre of Dermocosmetology, CED Lyon and Founder of Skinobs.com, a cosmetics testing platform.
Panelists: Anne Sirvent, Scientific Communication, R&A Manager, Laboratoire Dermoscan; Nico Forraz, CEO, CTI Biotech; Patricia Rouselle, Research Director, CNRIS, IBCP, Stéphane Machon, Founder, Make it Bloom!
The panelists discussed the impact of smart beauty, customisation and new types of claims and how marketing developments in cosmetics and dermocosmetology require new tests that can monitor increasingly complex areas. Stéphane Mahon described the Romy concept that is dedicated to the creation of made-to-measure and highly customised cosmetics. “Products are becoming increasingly smarter and seek to meet in real time the needs of consumers. They can be self-adaptive, like the suncare products in Shiseido’s Expert Sun range that has a sunscreen protection which is enhanced on contact with water or sweat, thanks to Wet Sun technology. Some are the result of collective intelligence, like the Clinique Smart Serum.” Another example he gave was for the emulsifier, emulium mellifera by Gattefossé, that auto-adapts to skin type and climate.
Anne Sirvent commented on how these developments are resulting in new approaches being adopted to support claims that have never previously been made. For example, Laboratoire Dermscan has recently developed a deposition protocol of pollution and dust particles on the skin, which mimics dust and particulate deposits on skin or hair and is used to assess the preventive action of creams and cleansing effect of make-up removers or micellar solutions. Ctibiotech has developed bio 3D printed skin tissue for the in vitro evaluation of cell responses in contact with substances selected according to claims, such as for skin sensitivity and personalised dermato-cosmetics. “Smart beauty starts with us and the in vitro assessment of raw materials on 3D tissues,” maintained Nico Forraz.
Patricia Roussell, who specialises in skin ageing, uses the latest innovations in efficacy testing to evaluate the efficiency of new molecules on processes she identified. “Our research on perlecan, a proteoglycan with a heparin sulfate function has showed benefits in the renewal of the epidermal basal layer and its contribution in restoring the skin’s regenerative capacity,” she explained.
Smart Beauty & Consumer Empowerment
Moderator: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief, Global Cosmetic Industry (GCI) Magazine
Panellists: Anastasia Georgievskaya, Research Scientist, Beauty.A1; Sava Marinkovich, Co-Founder, mySkin
Jeb Gleason-Allured introduced the two panelists who are both innovators with breakthrough technologies that are set to shape the future of the beauty industry. Georgievskaya has launched an app called Rynkl which is designed to reverse wrinkles in a scientific and professional way by tracking them in real time and monitoring the effect of various treatments over time with a view to reversing the signs of facial ageing. She described how the app was used to run an international beauty contest judged by Artifical Intelligence Beauty.A1 2.0, in other words, by robots. Men and women were invited to submit selfies through the app and the photographs are assessed using algorithms for features such as face symmetry, wrinkles, skin colour, age group and ethnicity.
Sava Marinkovich helped devise the personal OKU device to help consumers cut through the clutter of products on shelf and help them choose the exact right ones for their needs without the need for invasive action. “The goal is to measure what’s going on in the skin, then we can do all sorts of interesting stuff,” he explained. The cube-shaped device is a personal skin coach that the consumer holds against their skin to monitor features such as moisture, oiliness and elasticity. Tailored skin treatments are recommended according to individual readings. In addition, each user is matched with their Skin Twin, who shares similar genetic and lifestyle characteristics. They can then ask each other questions, such as what should they do to make their skin healthier. “The more you scan, the smarter the device and better the advice,” explained Marinkovich.
Gleason-Allured asked how much more smart machines can become and whether it will be possible to remove the human element from diagnostics. “Technology can overcome people if you have good data and can control development,” maintained Georgievskaya. Marinkovich answered: “People will always need the human touch; it’s not always just about healthy skin.”
The future is wide open for smart technology, but much depends on investment (mySkin is crowdsourced) and demand for innovative products.