Monday, June 18, 2007

Sustainable? It Goes Without Saying!

Comments are still coming in following the second Beauty Goes Green webinar on June 5. Check out the response today from Suzanne at the post Webinar Conversation Continues Here, and last Friday's comments from Tina and BethAnn at the post Competing on Green.

It seems you can't pick up a newspaper or magazine these days without encountering a story about living green and building sustainable businesses. A great comment came my way recently from Davide Nicosia, principal and creative director of NiCE LTD, a multi-discipline creative agency. He said "Sustainable design is a great trend. Hopefully in ten years we will never have to talk about it again. Sustainable design will be inherently good design practice, a "given", an "entry point," an "of course." Now we have to rush to make it invisible as quickly as possible. Let's do it!"

To respond, click on the word "comments" below and type your thoughts.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Collaborate and Grow

I came a cross an interesting article in the June 18 BusinessWeek about how J&J's $16.6 billion purchase of Phizer's consumer health unit has helped the company's consumer products division shore up business as other units struggle. Chief Technology Office J. Neal Matheson has led a mandated change in its research group "into a launchpad for products consumers would rush to purchase," according to the article. This involved creating small teams of chemists to look into various cosmetic challenges, and encouraging partnering with "small, forward-thinking companies." The challenge groups work with marketing and development to get products into stores faster. Have you had your collaboration today?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

West Coast Tribute

I am in Los Angeles today for the luncheon meeting of Beauty Industry West. Today's meeting honors the group's 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year, Jill Belasco, president and CEO of Latitudes International. Latitudes works with many top retailers and others, creating fragrance products for home and personal care. GCI is privileged to have Jill on the advisory board for our upcoming Fragrance Business 2007 conference to be held during HBA in September; her participation has been gratifying and will result in a conference you won't want to miss. Feel free to leave your tribute to Jill Belasco here at BeautyUnion Today.

We've talked a lot about fragrance issues on BeautyUnion Today, from flankers and celebrity fragrances to natural fragrance materials. What's your main fragrance challenge and how are you working to answer it? What does the future hold for the fragrance industry?

Click on the word "comments" below and join the conversation.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Competing on Green

In checking out some blogs over the weekend I came across Marketing Green, where I found an interesting post titled Competing on Green Accelerates Pace of Change. According to the blogger, there is a marketing lesson in the competition among rival companies for leader of the green space: "As the basis for competition shifts to green, it is likely that companies will vie for leadership on the issue, accelerating change in the category. Savvy green marketers will either take advantage of being a first mover on green or ready their company to be a fast follower when a competitor inevitably does."

What are the dangers in competing on "green?" In an already fast-paced industry, what are the dangers of green-based acceleration? An earlier post at the same site cautions that leading companies risk taunts of greenwashing if they stray even a little bit after putting themselves on top. Being green translates to practices beyond product claims. How should companies that don't push natural products compete in the green space?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Defining "Natural" Will Affect You

Since our second Beauty Goes Green webinar last Tuesday, we have been keeping the discussion alive on this blog, so be sure to sift through the last few posts to read what's on people's minds, and please leave your own comments.

The thought that has been topmost in my mind since the webinar is that any effort to define natural personal care products should involve the entire industry. All segments of the beauty/personal care industry- whether or not your company is currently marketing natural products - must get involved in the discussion and that includes suppliers. One thing is for sure: No matter who leads the charge in defining natural products - industry or government - the outcome will one day have an impact on your business.

Commenting on this post is easy. Just click on the word "comments" below and leave your thoughts in the space provided. Defining natural is an important, game-changing proposition for the beauty industry. Make sure your voice is heard.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Webinar Q&A - Is a Little Natural OK?

The Natural Foods Merchandiser reported today that U.S. natural products sales top $56.7 billion with 9.7 percent growth in 2006 across all channels. Natural personal care sales grew by 18.4 percent to $2.78 billion. Considering yesterday's webinar discussion about defining natural products, I would have liked to have seen some information on how they qualified products for their survey.

Speaking of the Beauty Goes Green webinar, technical challenges have made posting the webinar archive and pdf files of the slides take longer than anticipated, but some of the information is now available here. And now, a few more questions posted by webinar attendees.

  1. How can a company incorporate elements of natural/green but not have it be the main marketing communication strategy? In other words, our brand is not a 'natural' brand but we want to have some elements of natural ingredients.
  2. How can a company not be 100% green like Aveda and still be successful in this area? What should be done first?

Please leave your comments by clicking on the word "comments" below. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Webinar Q&A Day II - Packaging

We had great response to our Beauty Goes Green webinar yesterday and my thanks go to all who dialed in. Thanks also to our sponsor, Sundeep Cosmetics.

An archive of the event should be available today as will pdf files of the presenters' slides at GCI Magazine's web site. Be sure to check through all four posts from yesterday to see the comments to attendee questions that have been posted so far -- and please share your thoughts.
At least one beauty blogger attended the webinar and posted a review at She picked up some interesting points. Check it out.

Now here are a couple of packaging questions from webinar attendees.
What is PCR?
How can packaging be natural?
Can a manufacturer using PLA labels make any kind of claim or is there a symbol they can use to show environmental responsibility?

Let's help them out. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Webinar Q&A - Fragrance

This is the third set of questions from the June 5 webinar. Be sure to see all the posts.

Here are two questions about fragrancing natural products.

  1. How do you view fragrance ingredients in terms of natural v. synthetic?
  2. How does the European Union list of 26 allergens in essential oils affect your aroma blends?

Click on the word "comment" below to leave your response. Thanks for participating!

Webinar Q&A - Preservatives

This is the second set of questions from the June 5 webinar that have been posted to the blog. Be sure to look at all the posts and join the conversation!

  1. What do you see in the development of natural preservatives?
  2. What natural preservatives do you use in your products and how do you determine thier efficacy during the normal rigors of consumer use?
  3. What can you tell me about consumer opinion of parabens? How much paraben (methyl and propyl) is in Aveda or Burt's Bees products?

To reply, click on the word "comment" below.

Webinar Conversation Continues Here

It has been said that community is at the heart of the Internet and that webinars offer an easy means for participants to ask questions of the speaker as well as one another. This morning's GCI webinar on the greening of the beauty industry, featuring speakers from Burt's Bees and Aveda, was just such an opportunity. We had more questions than we could manage in the hour allotted, so we'll start right now posting questions here. Let's continue the conversation. to respond, click on the word "comments" below and type in your response.

  1. How do you differentiate between "organic" and "natural?" There seems to be a lot of confusion on this topic What makes something "natural?"
  2. Given that natural products aren't as regulated, how do you evaluate ingredients to make sure they are natural? Do you look for ECOCERT certification or is there another method?
  3. Back to ingredients, is it just a matter of suppliers saying something is natural or is there more to it? any regulated certification?
  4. For Aveda: given that you're not a mass brand, who do you think your competitors are?

Watch for more questions coming soon!

GCI Webinar follow up

Thanks to all who attended the GCI Beauty Goes Green webinar this morning. We are going to post as many questions as we can from the webinar beginning later this afternoon and going at least through the end of the week.

So, plan to return to this blog later today if you are looking for the webinar questions. See you later!

Fighting Back at Fate

I am not in the advice business but I heard something this morning that I just wanted to share. A colleague had a lot of trouble getting to work due to traffic glitches; he had to make a number of course changes but he eventually arrived none the worse for wear. I commented that I really loved a day when traffic flowed in my favor – it felt as if the stars were in alignment and it would be a good day. His comment back was “You know, Karen, if the stars aren’t aligned, you just have to smack them back into place.” Words to live by…

Monday, June 04, 2007

Future Classics, Raise Your Hands

I spent some time at an estate shop this past weekend where I discovered a display case full of fragrances and fragrance bottles. One that caught my eye was Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds in its beautiful bottle and elegant box – a gift perhaps from a man to his wife? This sharp, gentle, floral from Elizabeth Arden debuted in 1991 and is considered a fragrance classic, making it eligible to be on the ballot for the 2007 Fragrance Hall of Fame. Time Magazine reported on the launch sixteen years ago, saying “Times are shaky in the $18.5 billion U.S. cosmetics and toiletries industry, yet no fewer than three giants are launching new fragrances this season, reportedly spending as much as $25 million each on advertising alone.” The other big launches were Estee Lauder’s SpellBound and Calvin Klein’s Escape.

The field of 2007 Hall-of-Fame-eligible fragrances also included Calvin Klein Eternity for Men, Davidoff Cool Water and Thierry Mugler Angel, the eventual inductee at the FiFi Awards, held last week in New York. I was very lucky to be in the audience to experience the excitement and passion the marketers clearly feel for their products. Several newly launched fragrances were awarded for their advertising and marketing efforts and Unforgivable by Sean John and Juicy Couture, along with a favorite of mine, Terre d'Hermes, were among the night’s winners. But the burning question is, were any new classics launched last year? What does it take to create a classic in today’s market?

P.S. You can check out the GCI photos from the event at our web site.