When Victoria Watts founded Victorialand Beauty in 2017, she didn’t have to do much soul searching to find her brand’s purpose: “My 3-year-old son Cyrus is one of the estimated 2 million children in the world affected by visual impairment,” she writes on the brand’s website.
“He was born with a genetic disease known as familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR) that affects the retina with symptoms that include vision loss or blindness, retinal detachment and strabismus. Cyrus is impacted by all of three of these impairments.” So, making her Victorialand beauty business accessible to people with visual impairments was a logical choice.
A new way to label skincare products
Earlier this month, Victorialand Beauty launched new product packaging, featuring what it calls the CyR.U.S. System of Raised Universal Symbols. The CyR.U.S. system is “a proprietary tactile recognition system comprised of a set of raised trademarked symbols to make its packaging more accessible with a simple touch,” according to a media release.
To make cosmetics and personal care products legible, visually impaired people commonly rely on very careful organization systems and homemade tactile labels, like tape or rubber bands.
“We listened to the voices of our visually impaired community,” Watts tells the press, “and learned that handmade beauty product markers…are outdated models. The CyR.U.S. System will allow everyone to see the world through the power of touch in a way that has never been done before.”
The new Victorialand Beauty skin care packaging has raised symbols on the lid or cap: a moon indicates night cream, face oil is identified by a droplet, facial moisturizer has a wavy line, and the brand’s eye and lip cream is marked with a triangle.
Making D2C beauty accessible
Victorialand Beauty knows that having more accessible product packaging isn’t very valuable if the shopping experience isn’t also accessible.
The brand’s website leverages accessibility technology from UserWay that let users choose functions like Read Page, Highlight Links, and Stop Animation. There are also options to adjust text spacing and size, and more.
“UserWay creates advanced website accessibility solutions that help ensure ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance without refactoring your website's existing code,” according to that company’s About page.
Beauty with a purpose
Purpose- and mission-driven business is increasingly important in and beyond the cosmetics and personal care sectors. And most indie beauty brands have charitable giving built into their balance sheet.
To this end Victorialand isn’t just making its skin care collection accessible to people with visual impairments, the brand is also sharing a portion of its sales revenue with the Boston Children’s Hospital. The funds help to “support the organization's life-changing efforts to identify new diagnostic paradigms and treatment modalities for visually impaired children so seeing can become a reality,” says the brand’s media release.
Deanna Utroske is a leading voice in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as in the indie beauty movement. As Editor of CosmeticsDesign.com, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.