I’m Sam, the co-founder and CEO of Curate Beauty, the UK’s first wholesale marketplace platform for indie beauty brands. Our platform is the ultimate place for retailers to discover the very best in indie beauty, wellness and grooming, while also being able to buy across multiple brands, all in one place. Prior to starting my own company, I worked as a beauty journalist, writing for various glossy titles (including Grazia, Tatler and Stylist) which is where I witnessed first hand the explosion of indie beauty.
My 12 years of experience within the beauty industry have equipped me with a fantastic brand and product knowledge that I want to share with you. As a journalist, I was lucky enough to be introduced to hundreds of brands every week, meet so many inspiring brand founders, and my role at Curate Beauty is much the same. So having seen more brands in my time than perhaps most, I have decided to write a 3-part series for the Found & Flourish team on how you can make your brand stand out. I hope you’ll find it helpful on your brand discovery journey…
A Strong Mission, Purpose and Vision
For me, what I look for first and foremost is true passion, purpose and authenticity when it comes to great brands. These three fundamental points are what will drive a brand, their founder and inevitably their team, and what will essentially give them a different playing ground to others.
It might sound like a marketers pun, but being able to identify your brand’s mission, purpose and vision, engulfs most of what you want to share with your customers. Take some time to think about each of these three elements, ask yourself WHY are you creating your product/ service, WHAT you have to achieve to be able to create a reputable product/ service and HOW are you going to do it.
Your mission should be simple, achievable and have passion.
Your purpose should be the problem you’re aiming to solve with your product or service. It should be aspirational and show guts.
And your vision is the future, the skies the limit – how will you change the world with your brand?
The Art of Storytelling
A big part of how your brand is perceived by others will come through in your storytelling. From the copy that’s plastered across your website, to what’s written on your Instagram posts, and even the language used in your customer relation emails.
A brand that I believe does this particularly well is Glossier. They identified themselves as the ‘girl next door’ brand, they set out to make products that weren’t just for the beauty enthusiast, but for real girls, that wanted to look like themselves, just better.
How they did was through a lot of gifting (firstly) they wanted real results, from real people. So they got their products sent out to as many people as possible and asked them to create content for them. These ‘Glossier Ambassadors’ spoke in their own language and helped give Glossier the brand image, name and story that we all see and love today.
Identifying your tone of voice and how you want your customers to relate to you is important. For Glossier, they wanted to be the approachable, sister brand. But if your products are backed by science and expert-led, you might choose a more authoritative approach like for example Dr Barbara Sturm.
Packaging & Ingredients 101
For anyone creating or thinking of starting their own brand, I always advise for them to really think long and hard about packaging and ingredients.
Sustainability is at the forefront of the beauty industry and something I think that a brand should identify and acknowledge at the early stages. Of course, it goes without saying that using British-grown ingredients, or compostable packaging is going to come at a steeper cost, but in the long run these fundamentals will give your brand longevity, and by implementing them at early stages, will set you in the right light to your audience.
I will never forget the first time I discovered Under Your Skin, who’s shampoos came in biodegradable sugar cane packaging or Crabtree & Evelyn’s candle outer packaging which is paper laced with basil seeds, and CloudCloth who have strived to think about the full journey of their product creating now a 100% organic facial cleansing cloth, printing their outer packaging on 100% recycled stock using vegetable-based inks and solar power.
I will also never forget when a brand claims to be sustainable, yet they send products out to press or retailers in a mountain of plastic or unnecessary packaging!
Efficiency Is Key
To be green and clean where possible is important, but what I think really makes a product see the test of time is its efficiency. Does it work? As the founder of the brand I’m sure you know that it does, but to sceptical consumers who have heard the same promises on repeat, how can you show it does?
Before and afters, clinical trials, testimonials – all of these (some more pricey than others) are going to be what makes your brand stand out. Having a product that does what it says on the tin is what as a beauty editor I loved, and as a consumer, I love even more.
Share this as much as you can and go back to the core principles of being authentic, because who doesn’t love paying for something that actually works. All you have to do is prove that your product/ service does!
I hope you found the learnings in part one useful. In part two, I will uncover more about what I learnt as a journalist, how to tackle PR’s and influencers, delve deeper into brand ambassadors and partnerships and finally, customer communications. Stay tuned!
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About your author
Samantha is the CEO & Co-Founder of Curate Beauty. Curate Beauty is modernising wholesale buying with a marketplace platform designed for today’s see-now-buy-now, digital-first world.
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