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On the World Stage: California-based Beauty Brands Step Up

Posted: December 20, 2012, from the January 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

International growth can be challenging for any business in any economy, but conditions around the world—from manufacturing issues to regulatory changes to suitable capital maintenance to staying on trend and beyond—make it more difficult than ever. Can beauty manufacturing create jobs in the U.S. through this type of growth? Where is international demand for U.S. beauty products coming from, and how can brands get in front of it? And where do small- and medium-sized beauty brands go for export help? One place is the California Center for International Trade Development (CITD) in Long Beach, an organization dedicated to assisting California-based small- and medium-sized health and beauty brands grow their businesses internationally and create jobs in the state.

The organization is part of California’s involvement in the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant initiative, awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The STEP program builds on President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which is aimed at doubling exports by 2014 and supporting two million jobs in the U.S. Offering export assistance and consulting, the CITD–Long Beach’s signature program includes the California: A State of Beauty Pavilion's set-up at the Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna 2013 event in Italy, which it also participated in in 2012, and also new for 2013, it will also be involved in the Beautyworld Middle East event in Dubai.

“The health and beauty industry is a big part of California’s economy. Through the STEP program we are able to provide California-based health and beauty companies a powerful opportunity to grow their business internationally, which ultimately benefits our state and the broader economy,” says Cesar Arellanes, the CITD–Long Beach program director.

California: A State of Beauty Pavilions

In March 2012, the initial California: A State of Beauty Pavilion showcased 11 California-based beauty brands at one of the world’s largest beauty events, Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, which welcomed more than 200,000 attendees that year. Since that initial trade undertaking, the 11 companies who took part cumulatively generated more than $13 million in export sales, entered 27 distinct markets and created 54 jobs. The venture also led to the infusion of $4.2 million in capital for the participating businesses.

CITD–Long Beach carefully curates the brands it allows to take part in its California: A State of Beauty Pavilions display space, as the pavilion concept allows brands to take part in the some of the world’s most distinguished international trade events at a reduced rate, as well as provides travel and logistical support along with marketing, booth design and build-out. This allows companies to focus completely on selling. CITD–Long Beach also provides counseling on issues from public relations to EU compliance and financing, and coordinates with the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service and show organizers to arrange meetings for buyers to visit the pavilion to meet with the exhibiting California brands directly.