An insight into being a disruptor and creating cult frenzies in the beauty industry with Grace Fodor the founder of age perfecting brand, Studio10
Where did the inspiration for Studio10 Beauty come from?
Simply, the older I became, the more I realised that the makeup industry wasn’t talking to me. Cosmetics has predominantly been aligned with youth, you only need to look at how they’re being marketed.
It struck me that there was no valid reason why. You don’t choose the same clothes in your forties as you would have at 17. It’s the same in beauty; needs and expectations change. I wanted more than products with added anti-ageing ingredients, but ones that specifically correct and cover the signs of ageing.
The anti-ageing market is said to be worth $191bn with an average global growth rate of between 7-10%. I wanted to develop a range aimed squarely at 35 plus; it was a huge opportunity and one that had not been exploited.
What was the starting point in creating the brand and products?
Every step of our process is built on research, analysis and insight, sitting at the very heart of the company.
We researched the market, dynamics and competitor landscape but also the characteristics and psychology of our target audience; how they use beauty products, their daily routine, buying patterns and how they respond to media. Most importantly we wanted to understand how women feel about ageing, beauty and self-esteem.
Meeting the intellectual and rational needs of our customer, but also the deep rooted emotional and psychological, was absolutely vital in delivering on our product promise.
In such an over-crowded market how has Studio10 created such cut-through?
By having a real point of difference and creating demand. While there are brands with imagery and messaging targeting older women, or products with added skincare ingredients, there really is no other colour brand designed and developed specifically for women as they age.
Our proposition is fundamentally different and we’ve carved out a new category within cosmetics. This was proven when just two weeks after launch when the Sunday Times’ India Knight hailed the brand ‘genius’ – both a huge honour and significant validation.
We’ve invested heavily in PR and media relations, but also focused on bolstering the brand through third party endorsement. Winning awards and working closely with makeup artists, celebrities and opinion formers has translated into kudos and credibility for the brand.
The mass proliferation of social media has created more of a level playing field for niche brands and something that has really helped catapult global awareness.
And lastly, and where distribution plays a significant role, we’ve achieved cut-through through our major retail relationships.
Only in your second trading year, you’ve already partnered with major retailers Sephora, QVC and M&S to name a few; what do you offer them?
We’re very research driven and this includes understanding the dynamics of retail and distribution landscape. For us, there are some key drivers that we’ve built from the start.
New brands are the lifeblood for retail, creating differentiation in a competitive market, driving sales and attracting new customers. We’ve created a brand that is not only unique and very much in demand but one that truly resonates with women as they age. It’s an untapped and lucrative market.
Stock is a major investment for any brand and retailer alike, especially in cosmetics with the demand for colour options and SKUs. Our range is tight and efficient, some 25 SKUs, and all best-selling products, formats and shades. It’s commercially attractive and highly productive – in both value and volume.
Space is always premium real estate for any retailer; as well as having a tight SKU count, we have a small footprint which is always a plus for ‘bricks and mortar’. With that, it’s very productive in terms of the ‘return on space’.
Lastly, Studio10 is a simplistic brand and concept to communicate and sell through. Uniquely, it’s easy to ‘link sell’ to both skincare and other colour brands. If a customer is looking for a skincare solution for a particular problem, Studio10 offers a quick-fix ‘cover up’ for that same problem. With other makeup brands, we’re the ‘support underwear’ for their colour story or look – ‘spanx for the face’ as we’re known!
Makeup brands traditionally have an extensive range of colours and SKUs, how can Studio10 claim to have 25 and still keep up an ever-changing market?
So much of the colour market seems to be driven by trends, fashion and celebrity. That’s not who we are or aim to be. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard ‘millennials are where it’s at’ and how they want a constant churn of disposable, trend-led beauty, but that’s not what we do. And I could argue, that’s not necessarily where the real ‘money’ is!
We are a solutions driven brand, aimed at providing quick-fix results day in, day out. We meet the needs of a segment of the market that has more time and money to spend on beauty and yet still the beauty turf war is about a younger demographic.
How do you see beauty retail developing in the future?
The beauty retail market is fascinating at the moment. Traditionally, in retailing high end beauty you’d partner with a high-end store. Now you’ve got retailers like M&S building assisted self select beauty halls carrying a mix of luxe and high street. I think that’s very reflective of women’s makeup bags today.
Women are now savvier about products and brands and I think this allows them to be more selective about their method of purchase, in turn driving some of the most interesting trends in retail.
The structured older retail model that saw brands differentiated as much by their selection of channel as any other factor is now significantly more fluid and dynamic, creating opportunities for brands and consumers alike.
With the continued access to digital content, editorial and user-generated material, consumers have gained new levels of knowledge and confidence, and are buying more and more digitally. This will negatively impact classic consultant based channels.
I think we’ll see a lot more fluidity and convergence between channels in the future, and more dynamic personalisation and CRM modelling. I love the way that Joyus in the US is pioneering a new retail experience combining the best of TV shopping, infomercials and e-commerce.
What are the standout products in the Studio 10 Beauty line and why are they so unique?
Each of our product concepts fits perfectly with the brand proposition and promise to offer quick-fixes solutions for women looking for flawless younger looking skin and ageless beauty. Standout products are:
Miracle Effect Serum
Our clinically proven serum reduces wrinkles by up to 16% in 15 minutes while delivering visible anti-ageing long-term results in just two weeks. For us, and because it is our first skincare product, it is about qualifying and quantifying the results.
Its supercharged breakthrough formula dramatically improves the signs of ageing, completely redefining the complexion, while instantly giving the skin a boost and reducing wrinkles.
This all-in-one, quick-fix perfecting palette; a shortcut to flawless skin and covering imperfections, problem areas and the signs of ageing. It features a primer for fine lines and enlarged pores, essential colour correctors to cancel redness or dark under eye circles and two ultra creamy, non drying, concealer-to-foundation shades for perfect colour match. Enriched with anti-ageing Suberlift™, Vitamin complex and anti-oxidant Nyamplung Oil™
This is the ultimate in wakeup makeup. An innovative complexion pick-me-up in a universal and ultra-flattering shade of peach with golden undertones for radiant, glowing and youthful skin in an instant. Buildable colour that blends and buffs seamlessly into the skin. It’s enriched with plumping active Adipofill™, light reflecting pearls and natural polymers help absorb excess oils for longlasting results.
What advice could you give start-up brands?
Underpin your brand with real research, analysis and insight; you can’t shortcut this process! Have a deep knowledge and understanding of your target customer; what makes them tick, and where, how and why they buy beauty, and contextualise everything against the backdrop of the competition. You cannot compete if you’re just A N Other brand doing the same thing as everybody else.
This intelligence will feed into your product development, marketing and retail strategy, creating real standout, kudos and credibility.
And lastly, develop products that are fundamentally innovative, and never, ever compromise on results. If your product doesn’t perform, it won’t sell and even if it did sell, you wouldn’t see any repeat purchase.
If you want to build trust and loyalty, product performance is everything.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
I almost think it is human nature to want to make a difference and leave a legacy in what you’ve done. I feel that too but for me, it’s also about making a difference in the everyday – finding time to mentor and support others as much as I can to help them develop their own careers, businesses and ambitions.
Everyday, I am thankful for the mentoring I am able to have.
You can meet Grace and hear her speaking at INNOCOS summit in Lisbon www.innocossummit.com