5 observations of a newcomer to the beauty industry
I am now three months in to my career in the beauty and cosmetics industry after six years with the UK’s leading distributor of premium luggage and travel goods brands. This gave me a fantastic grounding in a fast-paced commercial environment, an appreciation of retail dynamics and experience of working with world-renowned international brands. Moving from luggage to the world of beauty and cosmetics has been one giant leap but with an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced team around me, the learning so far has been interesting, intense and immersive. I have taken in a vast array of information and gleaned many insights and 5 observations in particular stand out.
1. The calibre of the legacy brands
From Estée Lauder to L’Oreal and Chanel to Lancôme, one can’t help but be impressed by the rich traditions of these and many other world famous legacy brands. The evocative stories of the founders and the history of their journeys to becoming iconic multinational companies inspires admiration and brand loyalty. This heritage comes to life in the legacy brand’s stand-alone stores which give you a true sense of what the brand represents and the feelings that it wants to cultivate.
2. The emergence of new independent brands
The legacy brands and the multinational companies that own them loom large, but there is still room for new brands to emerge, disrupt and succeed in the beauty market. There are a huge number doing just this, driven by entrepreneurial founders who have created brands that challenge the status quo and represent values that align perfectly with their target market. Social media allows the brand to communicate this directly with their consumer and tell an authentic story which captures attention.
3. The huge amount of mergers and acquisition activity
It seems that every week there is more news of mergers and acquisitions within the beauty and cosmetics industry. New brands that are looking to scale up, private equity investors that are keen to invest in brands to get them to the next level and the flurry of activity generated by the major corporations as they acquire independent brands and all of their innovation, agility and consumer relationship. It is an extremely exciting time to be part of the industry.
Behind every successful brand are talented people who have made it happen. I am so impressed by the people I am meeting at every stage of the process; from people who care about every ingredient to designers that bring ideas to life and logistic experts who bring the finished product to store. Not forgetting the passionate consumers who, thanks to social media, are now able to interact with and be part of brands in ways that were never possible before.
5. World class retailers and e-tailers
We all know about the challenges facing retail but we are fortunate to have in the UK world class retailers who are transforming the shopping experience and innovative e-tailers who have changed the way we buy beauty. The noise and colour of the beauty hall at Selfridges is exciting, I enjoy browsing through the huge choice on offer at Superdrug and I am learning from my conversations with the knowledgeable, well informed sales assistants at SpaceNK. There are so many great brands and so many different ways to find them.