Millennial mindset: HK cosmetics firm believes going against convention is the way forward

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Global Cosmetics believes going against convention is the way forward

Related tags OEM-ODM China make-up

Hong Kong-based cosmetics OEM company Global Cosmetics is on a mission to modernise its business and tap into the millennial mindset as it prepares to expand internationally as a ‘full-service ideas company’.

The 28-year-old company owns a factory in China and primarily serves customers in the UK and the US. It is currently looking to expand its presence globally and make its mark as a cosmetics company.

Patrick Leung currently serves as VP of business operations of the company founded by his mother, Judy Lau.

He cut his teeth in the start-up world, is determined to grow the family business into a ‘legacy’ company that will survive beyond a hundred years.

To achieve that, the company will need to overcome numerous challenges facing China’s manufacturing sector, said Leung.

“The Chinese market is changing. In the past, it was all about cheap labour but that’s not sustainable. We’re seeing more and more factories around us closing down because they are being outrun by factories in Cambodia or Vietnam.”

Leung said what sets Global Cosmetics apart from the competition was its drive to innovate and pour its resources into the technology and creative sides of the business.

“The beauty industry is ultra-competitive. We are aiming to be more than an OEM company. We want to be a full-service idea creation company that provides our customer with solutions to product design all down to marketing.”

Leung also believes in marketing and branding the company itself. In the past year, the firm has been working on its branding by building up its digital platforms and doing a lot of Instagram marketing.

“Our team is full of millennials like myself. We want to change and show that the newer generation can make a huge impact. We are doing a lot of things that go against the tradition of doing business in this industry,” ​said Leung.

He said tools like Google Ad Words are neglected areas that could present a lot of opportunities for manufacturing companies.

“We’re getting as many people coming to our site and enquiring about our services in a week compared to three days at a trade fair. And you can only do trade fairs like three times a year because it's very time-consuming. So why not build up a platform so people can come in every day?”

Driven by innovation

Historically, a bulk of the company’s business came from creating seasonal products like Christmas gift sets. According to Leung, it has been serving its customers in this area for over 10 years.

However, the company is looking to focus on creating more sophisticated cosmetic products, said Leung. 

Recently, Global Cosmetics bagged the top prize for Make-up Formula at this year’s Cosmopack Asia Awards for the Hydro Emulsion Colour Changing Lipstick.

“Colour changing lipsticks have been around the market for a long time but a lot of the colour changing characteristics were based on temperature, making it hard to control the pigmentation and long-lastingness. They are really more like lip balms with colour rather than lipsticks,” ​Leung explained.

Unlike wax-based lipsticks, Hydro Emulsion Colour Changing Lipstick is water-soluble and changes with the pH level of the skin. The firm claims that the lipstick can last as long as 24-hours.

The win was a “huge breakthrough”​ for the company, said Leung. “We want to show that people from Hong Kong and China can create innovative products as well. We don't just think about technology but also think about the art behind the products. That's what really differentiates us from most of our competitors out there.”

Leung said creating more innovative products like Hydro Emulsion Colour Changing Lipstick would continue to drive the company forward.

“Millennials and Gen Zs are the driving force of the market right now. They are looking for these kinds of surprises. We have a good strong team of 40 people in Hong Kong that generate these ideas. We are always thinking about how we create something different to what’s out there in the market.”

The company is looking to grow its “idea generation” ​team as it looks to expand into the South East Asian market where it hopes to capitalise on the growing cosmetics market.

“We’re moving away from the gift sets and looking to work with clients that care about innovation and technology rather than ones that only care about finding the cheapest human labour,” ​said Leung.

“The biggest challenge right now is how fast the market is moving. If we don’t think before the trend and are not proactive enough, the customer will find another bigger company to work with.”

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