‘Foundation of listening’: Facetheory in-house formulation capabilities give it an edge in ‘super sophisticated’ Asia – CEO
Facetheory is poised to make its debut in Asia this year after signing an exclusive retail partnership with Sephora Asia.
With this deal, the brand would lay the groundwork for its Asian expansion starting with South East Asia.
Founder and CEO Jamie Shuker told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that this was a significant milestone for the brand.
“Asia is a huge market for brands. Being the leader in skin care formulation and actives, it’s a place where we want to compete and be known as a great brand that produces excellent products and is sustainable. We see the Asian market as being super sophisticated and we do think there’s a halo effect. It’s all very exciting.”
Shuker said the company hopes to let the brand and its products speak of themselves as it establishes itself in Asia.
“Personally, I don’t think we need to do too much differently from what made us successful in Europe. For any given product that we sell, often there’s no direct competitor. There may be a competitor that has the same active, but their formulation will be quite different from ours.”
He added: “Because the Asian consumers are super educated about ingredients, we believe they will understand the nuances in the different formulas.”
However, Shuker acknowledged that Asian consumers would have different needs, concerns, and preferences. In that case, the company was prepared to tweak its products.
“We formulate in-house and with this capability, we can adapt products for different markets, even different market regulations. We developed the brand on the foundation of listening to customers and certainly we will listen and try to produce products that the market needs or wants. We think that gives us an edge as we can create interesting products for the Asian market.”
Given its online, direct-to-consumer (DTC) background, Facetheory will focus on building its brand presence online.
“We're digitally native, so we'll always try to further the reach of the brand digitally,” said Shuker.
He added that the brand is keen to understand more about the social media landscape in Asia, which varied from Europe.
“How to market products online with a slightly different ecosystem, influencers and key opinion leaders will be another challenge. But the kind of messages we will communicate, about the product and sustainability will be the same because that’s the core pillar of what we do. You can’t be too many things to different people.”
Potential market opportunities in Asia
After SEA, the company hopes to direct its expansion efforts towards China in about a year to 18 months.
“We have quite a lot of certifications for sustainability, and we need to make sure that that aligns with current China market practices, but the two seem to be aligning more and more. So, we expect it to be possible for us to enter China at some point in the future,” said Shuker.
Shuker expressed interest in fellow Asian markets such as India and South Korea beauty market as well.
“I think India is super interesting with its developing middle-class market and has huge opportunities. And then you have South Korea which is home to very exciting brands with exciting chemistry, so we really want to compete there as well.”