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How Indie Beauty Brands Can Lead and Thrive During COVID-19

The current period of upheaval and uncertainty being experienced across the beauty industry has been unforgiving to many businesses. However, handling a crisis with compassion and kindness, also presents an extraordinary opportunity for beauty brands to build a strong foundation for the future. Brands will be valued by how well they contributed to the nation during the crisis.

Whilst we have not yet come out of the other side we know this much, when we do there will be a paradigm shift into a new normal. Indie beauty brands many of whom are purposeful, resilient, adaptable, and human, have a chance to come out with a deeper connection with their customers and their employees.

Here are 5 tips for navigating your beauty brand through a pandemic.


Handling disorientation

At the start of the crisis as lockdowns emerged, the prevailing emotion in society was that of disorientation. Indie beauty brands with a direct relationship with their customers understood that their customers were feeling shell shocked. So too were beauty brand owners.

In any crisis scenario, decisive action based on the mood of the situation is critical. Social media, often the go-to conversation point with customers, is where the swiftest adjustment is needed. When people are feeling anxious or fearful, brands must make sure they do not behave in a way that is out of touch with reality. The best thing you can do is to simply seek to acknowledge the situation.

Beauty brands also have a duty to their suppliers and employees. It is important in any crisis that brand owners check in with their suppliers and their staff on the ground. It is important to stay committed to the importance of relationships over transactional concerns.



Be consistently and radically human

You cannot be too human in this crisis. As a beauty brand owner, customers and employees are hungry for who you are, they need reassurance and leadership. Everyone will deal with each stage of a crisis differently, however regular contact with customers or employees can help beauty brand owners to relate and remain relevant.

Many brands can get things wrong as a result of badly worded communication. In a crisis it is not the time for complex or difficult language. In a crisis where everyone is disorientated, every day, human language should not just be in your conversations, but also in your business communications.



Be purpose led

and relationship. The old way of working was about hierarchical large organisations, however the next generation of indie beauty brands are driven and organised by purpose and relationships. It is this that will help them to navigate this crisis and be remembered for something bigger than the bottom line.

Zaffrin O’Sullivan is the co-founder of Five Dot Botanics, a gender neutral minimal ingredient skincare brand based in the UK and the Founder of Female Founders in Beauty a grassroots global network of 2000 women in beauty. Zaffrin is currently taking part in Sephora Accelerate 2020.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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