When looking for, or when launching new and exciting cosmetic brands, Discover Beauty at Cosmoprof North America is THE place to go. The hand-selected lineup of brands are either newly launched to market or international brands already established abroad but not yet available in the United States.

In its conception, Discover Beauty was meant to be a launch pad for these budding brands. Over time, this area has become so coveted and so closely watched, that the prestigious Discover Beauty Award was created in 2009.


We checked in with several recent winners to see how taking part in Discover Beautyhas changed their brands. We caught up with Christine Willett of Barista Bath and Body™, Joan Lasker of Joan Lasker, of TouchBack, and Loic Lefebvre of Functionalab© to see where they are now…

Tell us the status of your brand since winning the Discover Beauty Award at Cosmoprof North America?

Christine Willett, of Barista Bath and Body:

“Barista Bath and Body has experienced tremendous success since winning the Discover Beauty Award at Cosmoprof North America. Our products were showcased in a week-long trunk show at Henri Bendel’s in New York City over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a great start to the holiday season. As you know, editorial press coverage in national magazines is a critical component of building brand awareness with consumers. We have been fortunate enough to have our products featured by editors in several leading magazines including Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, and Southern Living.”

Joan Lasker, of TouchBack:

“TouchBack, real hair color in a marker for instant gray root touch-up, was launched at Cosmoprof North America. The Discover Beauty Award gave TouchBack the kind of validation by industry professionals that is invaluable to new products; the award was a ‘running start.’”

Loic Lefebvre, of Functionalab:

“With Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna 2010, we were lucky enough to meet great international retailers looking for different and unique brands. The vendor/retailer meeting platform that was arranged by Cosmoprof really created the right atmosphere in order to agree on key next steps and, consequently, gain rapid expansion. We have, since then, grown and solidified our UK presence, entered the Hong Kong market, grown our US based market and, moreover, we are in line to establish our brand as a global nutricosmetic player. Asia will soon become a key area for Functionalab.”

Do you feel that your experience at Cosmoprof gave you the upper hand in creating beneficial business relationships, i.e. retailers?

Christine Willett, of Barista Bath and Body:

“Most definitely! Launching our brand at Cosmoprof North America enabled us to introduce our brand, not only to the professional beauty industry, but to dozens of domestic and international buyers and distributors along with innumerable media and industry influencers. The pre-arranged buyer meetings, facilitated by the Discover Beauty program, were extremely valuable. They have led not only to customer sales but to ongoing professional relationships. “

Joan Lasker, of TouchBack:

“Once again: validation. The Discover Beauty award gave us a firm ‘platform of credibility’ for the unique claims of the product, brought retailers to the booth, and helped us to get great press coverage.”

Loic Lefebvre, of Functionalab:

“I would say that it gave us the perfect opportunity to establish and communicate what our brand is, what it represents and very importantly, because we are a new brand, who we are and our desire to establish solid and long-term partnerships.”

What are you doing in order to stay innovative and ahead of trends?

Christine Willett, of Barista Bath and Body:

“As newcomers to the industry, we have found it critical to engage with organizations and publications which bring together industry experts and provide thoughtful leadership and analysis of industry trends. We have found participation with leading industry organizations such as CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women), PBA (Professional Beauty Association), ICMAD (Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers & Distributors) and GCI Magazine, to be immensely valuable in delivering thoughtful leadership as well as offering opportunities for us to network with industry professionals.”

Joan Lasker, of TouchBack:

“Building on our success with TouchBack, we are launching TouchBack+plus, an innovative line of related products. The launch will be at Discover Beauty at Cosmoprof North America this summer.”

Loic Lefebvre, of Functionalab:

“With the help of our team onboard, and in conjunction with our manufacturer, we constantly look at what are the purest, highest-quality, and most efficient active ingredients that we can add to our portfolio of products. Also, we have been working on the development of a topical line. With our existing nutricosmetic line, this new cosmeceutical line will offer a real and synergistic deep skin solution to the beauty consumer.”

What would your advice be to a brand newly launching in the market?

Christine Willett, of Barista Bath and Body:

“Planning is key. Coming to market with a new product line is not enough. You must have a well thought-out marketing plan, complete distribution capabilities and manufacturing capacity. Public relations are also critical to getting the message of your brand to the industry and to consumers. Even great brands will fail if no one knows about them. Engaging with PR professionals with experience in the beauty industry can help put your brand on the right path.”

Joan Lasker, of TouchBack:

“Make sure you have a credible point of difference and a ‘perceptible plus.’”

Loic Lefebvre, of Functionalab:

“Press support is key and finding a great PR partner that really gets your brand is paramount.”

As a new brand, what unexpected surprises have you experience since launching with retail partners?

Christine Willett, of Barista Bath and Body:

“We have been pleasantly surprised by how supportive our retail partners have been. The beauty industry has proven to be much like any other industry – as long as you deliver exceptional products which consumers love, and offer them to your retail partners at a fair price with a favorable margin – not only will they buy your line, you’ll keep them coming back for more!”

Joan Lasker, of TouchBack:

“With any new product, you always hope you are in the right market, at the right time, at the right price — and only the customer can tell you that. TouchBack was a new category, at the top of the price ladder, and it was well received by retailers from day one.”

Loic Lefebvre, of Functionalab:

“Be sure to focus on just a few geographical regions, at least at the beginning, despite the multiple international opportunities that will present themselves to you.”

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