@cosme is a Japanese beauty firm that runs the popular online beauty community and also enjoys a retail presence in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand. The company is partnering with Tokiwa, which claims to be the leading colour cosmetics contract manufacturer in Japan.
The programme, newly launched in August, aims to support influencers from the product planning stage to production and all the way to sales.
The market is crowded with make-up brands fronted by social media stars and celebrities from Kylie Jenner to Lady Gaga – but the Japanese firms believe beauty lovers are still clamouring for more.
“There has been an increase in smash-hit products backed by influencers, whereas the mega-trend and mega-hit products launched in large-scale campaigns have been decreasing,” said Masashi Noda of @cosme’s marketing team.
The company believes this arrangement would give it the ability to tap into influencers’ fan base.
“We believe that having exclusive sales of influencers’ or creators’ cosmetics will give @cosme a greater reach and increased fan-base through the act of making a purchase at ＠cosme stores and e-commerce,” said Noda.
The programme is currently only open to influencers who want to develop colour cosmetic products.
Noda said this was a strategic decision as manufacturers of colour cosmetics are less common in Japan. “In Japan, skin care OEMs are easy to find online, but high-quality colour cosmetics OEMsare rather difficult to find.”
Furthermore, the development of colour cosmetics is typically more complicated with a higher number of SKUs owing to the number of shades and colours per product.
“Compared to skin care, there are many items – because of a large variety of colours. Large investments are required, and inventory management is a hassle, so we decided to start with colour cosmetics in order to create a more influencer-friendly environment,” said Noda.
She added that in the future the programme will consider helping influencers develop skin care brands as well.
According to the companies, this programme would allow influencers to start a make-up brand at one-tenth of the investment and put in a minimum order quantity of 1,000 pieces.
Additionally, new brands would be able to speed up the development process.
Typically, new product development requires 18 months on average, an eternity in the world of fast-moving beauty trends.
Tokiwa can help influencers shorten the product development process and have products ready in as short as two months.
The company recently built a new factory in Kawaguchi City, Saitama. The facility was designed to support for direct-to-consumer and influencer brands with ‘ultra-high’ speed product development and manufacturing processes.
Once developed, the new brands will be able to spread their wings on the @cosme platform, which consists of an online beauty community and several brick-and-mortar stores in key locations in Japan such as Harajuku.
The programme would support the new brands in developing sales strategies such as pilot sales at @cosme SHOPPING, limited-time sales floor development at @cosme STORE, and @cosme's flagship store @cosme TOKYO.