With advances in technology, increased online access and the proliferation of ecommerce over the past decade, there has been a growing trend of personalisation — and not only in the cosmetics sector. High street and FMCG examples include Coca-Cola bottles with first names printed on them, and customisable NIKEiD trainers.
Covering a multitude of price points, some brands offer bespoke shampoo or fragrance formulas, and others allow customers to choose and personalise bath and body gifts.
US-based Function of Beauty was launched in October 2016 by an MIT graduate after raising $12 million through Y Combinator. The company now has a reported value of $110 million. Function of Beauty offers 12 billion different combinations of ingredients. So where to start? First you choose your hair profile: straight/wavy/curly/coily; fine/medium/coarse; dry/normal/oily. Then five “hair goals” like lengthen, or nourish roots. The next step is to settle on a scent, fragrance strength and colour, or lack of colour, and to add in a name for your formula, which will be printed on the bottle. The price tag is $36 for a set of 8-oz (227 ml) shampoo and 8-oz conditioner, or $46 for bottles double that size. A subscription service is available.
At the upper end of the scale, at £450, sits Floris London with the offer of bespoke fragrance development. This includes a two-hour appointment with a perfumer in the Mayfair flagship store to create a unique 100ml eau de parfum, presented in a custom-engraved bottle. The formulation is kept on the company’s private perfume ledger so it can be ordered again.
Button & Wilde, born in the UK in 2017, is a personalised bath and body gifting brand. The website guides the customer through a selection of products like body lotion, hand wash and shower cream, then fragrance and bottle shapes. The next step is creating a personalised label, either by uploading a photo or choosing from a selection of patterns, and then adding a message. Prices range from £8.99 for a tin of hand butter to £24.98 for a set of two 250ml products. Full, proud disclosure: Grain Creative, which has now become Leidar London, is responsible for the naming and branding of Button & Wilde.
There is certainly room for making it personal in cosmetics, and it will be interesting to see which innovations hit the market in the coming months.
Madelyn Postman is Managing Director of Leidar London and will speak in the Marketing Trends theatre on “Tiny bubbles: children’s toiletry brands today” at in-cosmetics Global on Wednesday 18 April from 17.15-18.00.