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Much More Than Luck: The Six Habits of Successful New Beauty Brands

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: August 26, 2013, from the September 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Whatever plans you are executing, do them thoughtfully, thoroughly and well, and resist the impulse to execute on a lot of sort-of good ideas that you think will wow consumers. Sort-of good ideas have no longevity, and just like waterproof mascara, when it comes to ideas, its performance that counts.

5. Persistence Matters

Successful brands know that setbacks can be the gateway to future success. Often, when first creating a new beauty brand, any sort of setback can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. Visions of perfect formulations, effortless retailer deals and an immediate consumer love connections glaze every CEO’s eyes, but like the proverbial glass slipper, this scenario rarely plays out. Instead, it’s very common to take two large steps forward followed by several frustratingly small steps backward as you iron out wrinkles and issues with, for example, texture, scent and stability—or realize the shade of celadon green you picked for your logo prints out just a shade too dark for your true brand vision.

While these challenges can be incredibly frustrating, they are part of the process, and they can truly help enhance and strengthen your ideas in ways you maybe didn’t envision. I’ve always suspected that the most successful beauty brands are probably also the ones that have suffered the most failures. Maybe their formulas failed to produce results or their products just flat-out bombed with consumers—whatever the setback, these brands didn’t stop innovating and moving forward because their rare, precious plant extract proved to be more ho-hum with consumers. Instead, they use these failures as sounding boards and launch pads for their next great idea—which is always on deck.

6. Who You Know Matters

Successful brands know that in order to really establish themselves as a brand to watch, it’s still all about who you know.

As a newbie just starting to compete against marquee brands that have spent the past 10, 20 or 30 years or longer carving out appreciable market share, trying to launch a new product, let alone an entire brand, is a pretty big undertaking.

To really get your new brand started off right, you need to treat the process like you are looking for a job. Call in those favors, network with industry insiders and decision makers, revisit colleagues and former employers. Talk to anyone and everyone you know working in the beauty industry today—from CEOs to marketing directors to buyers to editorial assistants to bloggers—about your ideas and see what they say. Aside from just offering moral support, these contacts will provide a layer of knowledge and exposure that can greatly impact your brand’s success on down the line.

A willingness and desire to jump in the game and ask for advice, help, guidance or even brutal feedback may make the difference between creating an idea that could be good and creating a truly good idea. Just as a greenhouse helps delicate flowers grow, a well-maintained and nurtured network of contacts is the perfect environment to help take your idea from merely interesting to downright unbeatable.

True Success

True success is predicated on being willing to take risks and pursue what may seem like crazy ideas, and highly successful entrepreneurs and business owners are noted for having very similar beliefs and habits about how to make this process pay off. The same can be said for very successful beauty brands. Within this ultra-competitive industry, it pays to build your brand with lots of creativity, fun and style, as well as with proven strategies that lead to real success both now and in the future.

Alisa Marie Beyer is the founder and creative director of The Beauty Company (TBC), a global beauty consulting firm offering business, strategy, consumer intelligence and branding. Serving its clients at every stage of development (from start-ups to 13 of the top 15 global beauty companies), TBC intimately understands the industry, the consumer and the market, and becomes an integral part of each client or project team. alisa@thebeautycompany.co; thebeautycompany.co