‘More than selling skin care’: Plendi banks on multifunctionality and inclusivity to build brand awareness

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

The Outback Mud Mask was developed as a product that is suitable for any gender, skin type, and skin colour. ©Plendi
The Outback Mud Mask was developed as a product that is suitable for any gender, skin type, and skin colour. ©Plendi

Related tags Australia multifunctional inclusive beauty Skin care Mask Branding

Aussie skin care brand Plendi adopts a single-product strategy to navigate the challenges of cosmetics start-ups in the local market, including competition with big players and cost concerns.

Plendi’s debut product, Outback Mud Mask, is a multifunctional mask targeted at the “typical busy Australian who doesn’t have too much time to spend on skin care”.

“Our product cleanses, exfoliates and hydrates, yet multifunctional shouldn’t be confused with forgoing the need for a cleanser or moisturiser. We’re not saying that our mask is the only product you’ll ever need, but if you have nothing and you want something that can help, it is a good starting point,” ​Jaco Lourens, founder of Plendi, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

According to Lourens, the Outback Mud Mask was developed as a product that is suitable for any gender, skin type, and skin colour.

“In our clinical trials, the participants consisted of 60% female and 40% male. While the focus was predominantly on those aged between 24 and 38 years old, there were also people in their 40s.”

Product strategy

Despite developing a set of three products comprising a foaming cleanser, lotion and the Outback Mud Mask, the firm decided to launch with a single product in April.

“The purpose is so that we can focus more on raising brand awareness. Many small skin care brands in the Australian market start from face masks because it is very difficult to compete with the big players, especially when it comes to moisturisers and lotions.

“They are able to offer products at a much lower price range. But for a start-up to match the pricing, the investment needed to meet the minimum order quantity for manufacturing, packaging and logistics etc. becomes a little too much,” ​said Lourens.

If the mask and brand gain sufficient traction, Plendi intends to introduce the cleanser and lotion by early next year.

At the same time, it has started working on products for mature skin that target fine lines and rejuvenation, as well as a gel-based multi-functional shaving cream for both men and women.

“It will have exfoliating, hydrating and conditioning effects to soothe the micro lacerations post-shaving.”

Overseas opportunities

For now, Plendi does not plan to set up brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, it hopes to partner with major cosmetics retailers like Sephora and MECCA to extend its reach.

While it is mainly marketing and selling within Australia at the moment, the firm is looking to venture abroad in due course.

“We can ship internationally, but the problem we have to be honest about is that shipping anything from Australia to overseas is fairly costly. We are currently working with Australia Post, as they have a good carbon offset policy. We’re also doing promotions whereby customers get free shipping if they buy two items instead of just one.

“With Australia Post, the shipping cost to the US is not too bad. The UK and Europe are mostly expensive to ship to, so I don’t think that is going to be our primary market. New Zealand is not a big market, but shipping there is definitely not an issue,” ​Lourens shared.

Having received orders from Singapore, Plendi is looking to further explore the South East Asian (SEA) market.

“When we start to distinctly focus on SEA and the US, we will consider establishing warehouses in these regions so that shipping doesn’t take too long. Customers clearly don’t want to wait for three to four weeks for a product to arrive.”

A focus on inclusivity

To Lourens, the term multifunctional also relates to inclusivity, the main driving force behind the brand’s conceptualisation about two and a half years ago.

“We wanted to find a commercial vehicle that not only generates profit, but also allows us to donate as much as 20% of it to local organisations that support inclusivity, self-acceptance, social responsibility, and environmental protection.

“Self-acceptance is often associated with body image and skin care concerns. We found the cosmetics industry to be a logical fit for achieving our objectives, although Plendi is a brand that does more than selling skin care.” ​ 

In addition, Lourens stressed that Plendi’s goal is to form a like-minded community, so people can have a sense of belonging and feel that they are good enough to belong.

“Inclusivity does not mean that we cater only to the LGBTQ community. That is one element of it, but being inclusive also means accessibility for all demographics. For example, this product is not just for oily or sensitive skin — as long as you’ve got skin, this multifunctional mask can work for you.”

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