|A thank you from the founder of Illamasqua |
In the world of make-up, mass marketing does all the talking. So why am I taking the trouble to write you this personal letter? It’s because Illamasqua is a brand that, I believe, is as much yours as it is mine. And you deserve to know more about the business you helped build. Illamasqua is unlike any other big beauty brand that has ever been created. We’re proud that our approach to business is almost Victorian in its thinking. In only three short years we have created a brand new fashion icon, but with good old-fashioned values of fairness, strong principles and a hard work ethic. We’ve built a global brand, but with the commitment and pureness of a family-business.
In the beginning we were faced with a choice. We could invest all our money in creating a great product, or spend the majority of our money on marketing and a fraction on product. Without any hesitation we chose to invest everything into our product. We did this for two reasons.
1. We wanted to create a premium product that would be bought and bought again (A poor product only sells once).
2. We identified, before anyone else, that by embracing the community of bloggers and by making our brand and ourselves accessible through social media channels, we could establish a genuinely strong relationship with our customers that was far more effective than any multi million pound ad campaign.
This decision to reject convention is still, I believe, one of our most fundamental.
This is what makes us different from the other shallow beauty brands. It’s also what makes you different from other beauty customers – because when you bought Illamasqua, you did so without it being sold to you. You ignored the make-up industry’s billions. Rejected their multi-million pound advertising campaigns and dominance of the beauty halls. Turned away from their glitzy advertisements and celebrity endorsements deals. You judged the product for yourself. You bought it because you believed in it. And you spread the good word of Illamasqua.
Today, many industry commentators hail us as the fastest growing British cosmetics brand in years. This is all because you blogged, tweeted, emailed and evangelised. It’s thanks to you that we can refuse to be like everybody else. We refuse to pay for celebrity endorsements - preferring people to wear our products because they want to, not because they’re paid to. It’s a brave stand to take in an industry where celebrity deals are the norm. But we’ve never done anything normal, and it’s a decision that has paid off. Especially when celebrities who have deals with other brands choose to wear our products instead.
We also refuse to allow our retailers to overlook our more creative colours by only stocking our best sellers. We refuse to use animal hair in our brushes even though it affects the levels of stock we are able to produce, and as such affects our earnings. But we refuse to abandon our principles, even when they cost us money.
And we refuse to play the industry’s games, the best example of which is to tell women of a certain age that their time of colourful self-expression is over - that now they must choose to use ‘age-fighting’ products and beige, matt make-up.
To us, hiding your age is like hiding your true identity, and we find it as deplorable as the unthinkable idea of telling you, our customers what to look like. So it won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that our latest campaign features older models. Why? Because Illamasqua is not just make-up for the skin. It’s make-up for a mind-set.
The reason why we can make such stands is because of our independence. Unlike 99% of cosmetics brands, we are not owned by the big beauty cartels. So we see our selves as the ‘David’ to their ‘Goliath’. We expose the industry’s shameful tactics and throw them right back in their face.
We’re proud of what we have created – the make-up, and a whole new book of rules. And you should be proud too – your part in Illamasqua’s success and our continued challenge to the beauty cartels is vital. What we’ve achieved together is unprecedented in this industry. Before Illamasqua, to launch a successful beauty brand you needed either 100 million pounds or 25 years to establish yourself. It also helps to be French. We had none of these things. But what we did have was the best product on the market and an understanding of how to speak to you, our consumer and, most importantly, how to listen.
So please continue to spread our story, because it’s your story too. This letter isn’t asking you to part with your friend’s email addresses. Just tell someone about our journey. Over a drink. At dinner. On your way to work.
Thank you for being part of our journey so far, and walking this road with us.
Thank you, for being Illamasqua.
I’ll be writing to you again soon. In the meantime, if you have anything you’d like to talk to me about you can. Drop me a line at Juliank@illamasqua.com. Or follow me on twitter at @JulianKynaston
|Founder and Joint MD, Illamasqua|
Labels: Alex Box, illamasqua, Julian Kynaston