Iconic London eyes global growth: ‘If a product is Instagram-worthy, that’s the key test’

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Iconic London has been working with cross-border e-commerce specialist Global-e to develop a highly-targeted online shopping experience (Image: Iconic London)
Iconic London has been working with cross-border e-commerce specialist Global-e to develop a highly-targeted online shopping experience (Image: Iconic London)

Related tags Beauty make-up Middle east influencers Instagram brick and mortar

Influencer-driven Iconic Beauty is on a global expansion mission both online and offline and plans to use social media traction and brand personality to push forward, particularly in the Middle East, its marketing director says.

Founded in 2015, Iconic London retails its range of make-up products on its own website as well as online beauty platforms Feelunique and Cult Beauty. Its range is also stocked in select retailers across the UK and USA and for 2020, bricks and mortar will become an increasingly important space for the online-born beauty brand.

Iconic London rooted in online and influencers

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Tejal Agrawal, marketing director at Iconic London, said that for a long time, e-commerce and the influencer model had been “hugely important”​ for the beauty brand.

“Our roots are very much in this market and the connection from influencer to an e-commerce website is much more direct than a physical store,”​ Agrawal said.

“…We create fast beauty; sort of cult products that are different and new, and not having an e-commerce presence means you lose those customers looking for a quick fix. That kind of instantaneity from e-commerce is hugely important to the brand. It’s where we started, and it remains a core part of our business.”

E-commerce currently represented 60% of business for Iconic London, Agrawal said, and was helpful when testing interest in potential new markets.

So far, she said online expansion had largely been facilitated by Iconic London’s partnership with cross-border e-commerce specialist Global-e that had created localised online shopping experiences dependant of the country. Shoppers, for example, saw local currencies, localised pop-ups and had a wide variety of payment methods available, including iDeal in the Netherlands, WeChatPay in China and Cash on Delivery.

Tejal Agrawal, marketing director at Iconic London
Tejal Agrawal, marketing director at Iconic London

But Agrawal said Iconic London was now focused on building out its brick and mortar presence. “As good as e-commerce is, having places to present your brand and create in-store events is another string to the bow. It’s such early days and we’ve noticed some great growth.”

Physical focus: Capturing brand personality in-store ‘can be quite tricky’

Interestingly, she said there were different products being purchased in-store versus online. “[In-store customers] are very much interested in the entry products to Iconic; the risk-free purchases,” ​she said, like mascaras and concealers.

“We’re working on improving in-store training for staff so they can be more comfortable selling products; we’re investing in in-store presentations. We want to capture the essence of our online personality in-store and that can be quite tricky when you’ve always been a digital brand.”

Agrawal said it was important an online beauty brand created a store environment that held true to its roots, so Iconic London had extensively tweaked the look and feel of its physical presence “to make it feel as much like the online experience as possible”.

Whilst the US presented the quickest opportunities for physical expansion, Agrawal said the Middle East had “perfect markets”​ for Iconic London. “The kind of woman who wears our make-up and champions the look we create are the Kardashians and the Jenners, and that look and feel really matches the demographic of that region.”

Amazon expansion on the horizon?

Asked if Iconic London planned to incorporate Amazon into its online growth plans, Agrawal said it was already working with Amazon UK and was “considering Amazon US” ​to see demand.

Plenty of premium beauty brands had moved onto Amazon, she said, purely because the company couldn’t be beaten in logistics and distribution – “it’s phenomenal”. ​However, Iconic had no plans to use Amazon as its focal platform in the future, she said.

“Amazon is certainly the way a lot of people like to shop but in terms of the full brand experience, I don’t think Amazon is in a position to fulfil the full essence of a brand. It’s a very commoditised way of selling. And, for sure in terms of repurchases, I’m sure we’ll see growth in Amazon. But in terms of your first experience of a brand, you’re really not going to get the experience, the knowledge, or the detail yet from Amazon but you are from a brand site.”

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