The Finnish brand launched its hair care products in the Asian market three months ago through an exclusive deal with Sephora.
Founder and CEO Georgiana Grudinschi told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that Asia’s beauty market represented an “important opportunity” for the start-up.
“Asian consumers are very beauty oriented and conscious. Asia is a very tough, super competitive market that’s five steps ahead. Keratin treatments are quite popular here as well and I think an at-home alternative will catch their interest.”
Grudinschi highlighted the high consumer concern for safety in Asia and the demand for clean products as an opportunity for the brand, which is under the Clean at Sephora portfolio.
“We aren’t a natural brand. If we made it 100% natural, we won’t get long-lasting results. However, our products are less harsh than the salon treatments. We are under Clean at Sephora, showing that we fit all the clean requirements.”
It is currently available in markets including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
ANSWR’s keratin treatment products were tested on different hair types, including Asian hair.
Grudinschi has ambitions to expand the brand further in Asia, to markets such as South Korea.
“Korea is the beauty mecca. I really see a huge opportunity as the market is picking up, especially in hair as it is booming at the moment.”
‘At-home’ salon beauty
The company recently launched the Exfoliating Hair Removal Drop in Asia.
The product removes hair and exfoliates with a glass-coated surface. It is billed as the gentler and easier-to-use alternative to razors.
The brand’s product development is in line with Grudinschi’s vision. She told us that while the hair category presented plenty of opportunities at present, ANSWR was developed to be a ‘home salon’ beauty brand.
“The idea is to offer consumers at-home options of treatments or services they normally go to the salon for. We want to cover all aspects of beauty, like lashes and brows. We believe offering at-home alternatives is a very interesting proposition. I don’t think there’s any brand on the market that’s doing it properly.”
She believes at-home solutions will continue to be in demand despite the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID definitely shaped the beauty needs at a particular moment, but people adopt new habits. Even though the pandemic is over, people still kept some COVID habits from when they were in lockdown. I think DIY beauty is still very topical, people want to be hands-on and do things.”
See a need, fill a need
Grudinschi launched ANSWR in 2019 when she observed the popularity of salon keratin treatments and saw a gap in the market for at-home alternatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a pivotal moment for the brand.
As salons across Europe shuttered overnight, the brand went from selling around 1,000 units in its first four months to over 30,000 units in 2020.
“It was a big leap. I didn’t really anticipate the demand and needed to be reactive. We had to negotiate with suppliers to have faster lead times and navigate all that, but it ended up doing very well,” said Grudinschi.
The company rode the momentum to expand in Europe, where it gained organic awareness for its product.