Lori Machiorlette, Co-Founder of blendSMART, has been importing consumer goods for over 15 years as President of Worth Products Group, based on knowledge and contacts from which, she launches blendSMART into Asian market in 2020. She shared us by Video on cosmetics Design how to launch a beauty startup into international market. Let’s figure out what inspiration we can get from the 5 aspects bellow.
How did you know it was time to take your brand into a new market?
“blendSMART has always been fortunate,” Machiorlette said, “We have global intellectual property”, which enable them going deeper into countries no worry about unnecessary cost and as much direct competition.
They also had the wonderful opportunity of being a collaborative brand on QVC, and on QVC, they sold out in markets from the UK to all of Europe, in addition to the US. So they had put their toe in the water on international. “When Covid-19 hit, we had to be open minded about where we have to go.” Machiorlette said. Thankfully, they had an incredible relationship with their overseas Asian representative, built on almost 15 years of trade that there was just great synergy for them to move to Asia.
Did you make any changes to your branding or marketing strategy?
“Our branding and marketing strategy was radically different than when we launched in other markets.” Machiorlette said. She and her team really understood the market just incredibly different things with support of their Asia representative. So in Asia, they took a radically different approach.
The aesthetics of the brush needed to change. “In the US, we seem to love gloss;we love bright colors; we are favor of every color in the rainbow in the US,” Machiorlette said, “And in Asia, they really prefer up a very matt finish.” The radical change was the speed. Asian skin is very, very sensitive that they just really, really care about the texture feeling of the fibers along on their skin. So the motor of the brush is significantly slower than the US motor. Regarding to the marketing messages, the Asian market really wants tutorials and information on how a beauty product works and how to use it, which is just a whole radically different approach to marketing from the US market.
What will guide your growth and distribution plans?
They've always maintained a philosophy of test and evaluate. “Of course sales is the direct driver in how fast and how far we go.” Machiorlette admitted. They're trying to look at blendSMART more than just a tool and more like a vertical built around the whole concept of blending. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the whole landscape of beauty in particularly this healthy beauty, finger-free beauty.
Hygiene has begun to emerge as a chic trend during the Covid-19 in Asian Markets. As to this point, Machiorlette said: “We really think that this whole kind of underlying marketing approach of stopping touching your face and allowing tools to blend all products.” finger-free beauty brands obviously presents an advantage in this category. And that’s what Machiorlette said “We will be continuing to drive our business based on the market and sense”.
How is that plan taking shape in the Asian market?
They chose Taiwan first. Taiwan is a little bit more westernized, taking a significantly less amount of marketing cost to make it impacted. In beauty, the influencer marketer’s marketing is very important, which helps to disseminate the information and launch a brand. Machiorlette believed “we were able to build a little bit of applause” by really focusing on influence in Taiwan. They also built the campaign around November 11th. “We believe that after Taiwan, we’ll move into Singapore following by then Mainland China.” Machiorlette said.
What challenges or opportunities do you see in the global marketplace for a beauty tool?
Devices have systemic challenges. “Our margins aren’t like formulations.” Machiorlette said. They had a unique challenge in that they were the first in the sector — a rotating makeup brush was new to the market, so not only did they have to create awareness, but they had to educate. They had to explain to people why consumers need it.
In addition to challenges, Machiorlette said they looked to Clarisonic and thought that they were too focused in what they did, and asked “what's our opportunity to not take that path”. They tried to make the device much more multifunctional. They’re part of being indie brand and they also become a collaborative brand to seek long-term opportunities.