A Naturally Derived Winning FormulaWed, 09/09/2015 - 12:14
From the very start, Cosmetobelleza Natural IM has put quality at the center of its business. The company’s rapid expansion has not compromised this guiding principle. Founded in 1989, Cosmetobelleza is the market leader in mascara sales, with its naturally produced makeup range on sale at all of Mexico’s biggest retailers and major pharmacy chains. From Walmart to Liverpool and Palacio de Hierro, the company’s products are available to both the Mexican luxury market and the low-income customer base that accounts for the majority of consumers.
“Most big brands only sell image, presence and packaging. They ignore the product,” says Alejandro López, Director General of Cosmetobelleza. “The surface of our brand is not sophisticated, but the product we sell is of the highest quality. Because of our commitment to what is inside the packaging, customers prefer our brand to those that spend money on superficial aspects of their marketing.”
Healthy living has become a mainstream topic over the last two decades, with natural product companies such as Cosmetobelleza – a company that prides itself on being free of animal testing - being the main beneficiaries of this shift. Indeed, the company’s trajectory reflects wider trends in the industry. “We began as a tiny startup, and slowly we have reached the level of a mid-scale business. INEGI’s statistics define ‘large businesses’ as those which have a workforce and sales-rate similar to ours,” according to López.
Cosmetobelleza adapts long-established traditions into its unique selling point. The country’s history of natural products is far richer than that of many other countries and López uses this as a competitive advantage. “Since few cosmetic companies use actual natural elements, Cosmetobelleza’s focus on Mexico’s herbal tradition gives it an edge on many competitors in the cosmetics market,” he explains. “All we need is COFEPRIS authorization to send out a whole raft of such products,” says López.
Balance is the focus for Cosmetobelleza going forward, with national brand consolidation in synergy with international growth. What is impressive about the company is its commitment to quality products over strategic advertising. Cosmetobelleza made its name with mass-scale publicity campaigns. The same is true today. Bus hoardings, radio, and word of mouth remain the three axes of the company’s marketing strategy. “This means that our cosmetics market is focused in the center of Mexico City,” says López, but from there it radiates into every state in the country. The industry’s biggest distributors, Coppel and Walmart, are the major department store chains in the country, with a presence in every state of Mexico. In addition, López attributes the success of the company to close collaborations with Mexican providers. Having an international presence has also been a priority for López. Consumer appeal for quality products has driven Cosmetobelleza to establishing a presence in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, with the aid of ProMéxico, and considering entrance to the Brazilian market in the short-term. From its Texas offices, Cosmetobelleza manages a growing US presence. The brand’s other developed markets include Spain, England, and Australia. The company also had a lengthy partnership with Jolie de Vogue, the biggest makeup manufacturer and distributor in Colombia, which ended only when the latter was bought by L’Oréal. “Even though technically we are competitors, distributors in Central and South America have asked us to manufacture products for them,” López explains.
As the company awaits COFEPRIS export permits to enter the Brazilian market, the Cosmetobelleza director is sanguine about industry regulation. “As president of ANIPRON, a non-profit association bringing together natural product companies, I had the opportunity to contribute to discussions at COFEPRIS and observe the regulatory changes. The requirements for cosmetics are very different to medical products. I feel that if a business complies with basic requirements it should have no problem with COFEPRIS.” López has witnessed the regulatory improvement Mexico has undergone in the last years as things starting to change. Moreover, Cosmetobelleza has received the most favorable evaluation in terms of manufacturing with a five year certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice.