Founded in 2018, Solidu offered a range of zero-waste solid shampoo, conditioner, body butter, body wash and soap bars – all packaged in compostable casing that biodegraded in 45 days under regular conditions. Available online across its European and US direct-to-consumer (D2C) sites, the brand was also currently available in select retailers in the Baltic states.
Retail expansion and NPD
The goal over the next few years was to drive further retail expansion across Europe, particularly in markets like Italy, Germany and Switzerland, as well as the US, via major beauty retailer, pharmacy and supermarket listings. Solidu also planned to innovate further into areas brimming with potential, according to company founder Vaiva Žvirblytė.
“I think we still have a lot of unexplored fields [in solid beauty],” Žvirblytė told CosmeticsDesign-Europe earlier this year at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna in Italy.
“A lot of brands, like us, work in hair care, but there is still quite little innovation in face care, which I think is a real opportunity,” she said.
Solidu planned to evolve its face care offerings to tap into this opportunity, she said, developing SKUs for sensitive skin and other specific needs like fragrance-free – a space the brand didn’t currently cater to.
Consumer education ‘one of the biggest challenges’
But the brand, like all solid beauty brands, faced challenges ahead, she said: “One of the biggest challenges is education.”
Whilst younger consumers – Millennials and Gen Z – immediately understood the concept of solid beauty products, and solid shampoos were their “new normal”, many others still didn’t fully understand solid products, Žvirblytė said.
Solidu would therefore continue to invest heavily in consumer communication, she said, but over time the founder said the market would likely evolve. “As the space is growing, it’s helping us a lot – that more people know about this and trust it.”
Back in November 2020, international beauty major L’Oréal launched a solid shampoo bar under its Garnier brand in a move it said aimed to create “real impact at scale” in the solid beauty space. The launch followed 18 months of research and development, offering a range designed to cater to specific hair and scalp needs, including damaged hair and sensitive scalp.
Competing on price – ‘it’s difficult to out-compete liquid products’
Beyond this, being an indie brand in the solid beauty space, Žvirblytė said Solidu also faced pricing challenges as it continued to expand.
“Solid is also very concentrated, so you cannot really add more water or cheap ingredients. Everything is made with quality ingredients because it’s pure concentrated actives. So, it’s difficult to out-compete liquid products that might be much cheaper.
“But I guess these are the main challenges facing most of the brands, especially small brands,” she said.