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Giving Back and the Green Thumb

By: Sara Mason
Posted: November 21, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Afterglow

Afterglow uses superfine pigments to transform mineral powder into a versatile cosmetic product for a diverse range of skin colors.

Ethnic women are spending significantly more money on cosmetic products like never before, for a natural look that enhances their unique features. GCI magazine spoke recently with several ethnically-focused color cosmetic brand owners about their thoughts on charitable giving and the use of natural and organic products.

It’s About Community

Ethnic consumers respond to brands that support their local communities, particularly through ongoing alliances, annual events or monetary gifts. “‘Cause’ marketing, while not new, is a trend that will become standard operating procedure,” says Tina-Gaye Bernard, senior manager of marketing and sales development, Sue Devitt Beauty. More and more consumers are holding corporations accountable, and consumers like to know that their spending is tied to a purpose.

Similarly, Real Cosmetics’ founder Lubna Khalid and her business partner, Robert Kapnek, share a vision that the empowerment of women through beauty is key. To that end, Real Cosmetics is starting a nonprofit foundation that will deal with key women’s rights issues globally. A percentage of the profits of all the brand’s products will go to the organization. “We believe it is the social responsibility of businesses to be the force for global change,” says Khalid.

As with traditional brand building, budget and support must be substantive and ongoing. Growing a brand or generating awareness is always a long-term investment.

Green is the New Black

Another investment women want their money to support is sustainability. On the other hand, women also want high-fashion without sacrifice, and pure, quality products that look good. Therefore, eco-friendly brands such as Afterglow, available in North American salons, spas and eco-boutiques, as well as in Marionnaud and Beauty Monop in France, are fulfilling this niche with safe, natural products and sustainable ingredients within their prestige brand.