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Fashion brands taking on the cosmetics industry - what it really takes...

By Michelle Yeomans , 04-Dec-2012
Last updated on 03-May-2013 at 10:18 GMT2013-05-03T10:18:32Z

Fashion brands taking on the cosmetics industry - what it really takes...

On the recent announcement of UK clothing line Superdry expanding into the industry, Cosmetics Design wondered just what it takes to successfully translate a fashion brand to one of beauty in such a diverse and fiercely competitive market?

‘SLG Beauty’ is one such firm that knows, in that its sole purpose is to work with fashion brands on how best to transfer their message in a world previously unknown to them of formulations, trends, and manufacturing specifications.

Miles Dunkley, managing director of the 27 year family run business heads up a team that specialises in designing and manufacturing beauty product lines. The company has in its time, guided various UK fashion retailers in their efforts to expand into the cosmetics sector like Victoria Secret, Next, Topshop and Debenhams, and are behind the most recent expansion of Superdry.

We are brought on board to collaborate and work closely with a brand, to be a like-minded partner of sorts in establishing a beauty line,” he tells this publication.

The process

Commenting on the firm’s most recent venture, Dunkley says his team has worked closely with Superdry’s co-founder James Holder in the process to translate the brand from fashion to beauty.

The global clothing giant is said to have approached SLG to initially develop a nail polish collection and based on its' success, is now ready two years on to launch a full colour cosmetics line for 244 of its’ European, US and Australian stores.

“Superdry by nature is a company that starts small in order to see the response before expanding. In less than ten years they have built a line of t-shirts into full collections – and their thought process has been exactly the same for the cosmetics line,” Dunkley explains.

“They not complacent, every decision has been incredibly considered before taking a step,” he adds.

Once approached by a brand, is then SLG's job to carry out in-depth market research to establish the right concept and take care of manufacturing specifications.

"In this case we also worked with Superdry's live consumer database to see what went down well with consumers and from there it was decided that the nail polish line would be based on the colours of the company’s bestselling t-shirts."

Pointers on how to best break onto the market...

When breaking onto a market previously unknown, Dunkley says the first thing a company needs to ensure is that it has a partner that is on the same page as them as far as the vision and message of the brand goes, in order for the translation to be successful.

The second he says, is in the details and establishing a workable price point; "for the first time a brand will have to take into consideration details like formulations, regulation, packaging etc."

The third and final pointer the CEO reveals is to recognise that with cosmetics, there is a different timeline. "In fashion a trend hits in three months. In the cosmetics industry, big well known established brands can even take up to 2 / 3 years to be trending, we are aware of this and advise on how best to adjust."

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