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Indie beauty: Purpose-driven brands and eCommerce

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We observe the story of change in our industry through global dialogue, information access, and eCommerce, giving rise to a special breed of indie beauty brands, purpose-driven brands. Andrej Morgan, a Co-Founder and CEO of For Good Profits, shared with me his experience coaching these brands to unlock profitability and why they performed better on eCommerce than brands without a purpose-driven message. Morgan's insights align with my experience as an ingredient storyteller for conscious ingredients manufacturers. Collectively, we have elements to write a narrative for a more sustainable world.  

Watch the full-length interview with Hayley Hoffman of Dandi Day and Andrej Morgan, of For Good Profits

What defines an eCommerce brand?

Morgan defines eCommerce brands as selling directly to their customers via online stores. They prioritize their conversations and engagement directly with their customers. Wholesale and retail relationships may exist. However, brand strategy and messaging stay true to their audience. We see the business model advantage very clearly in today's climate with COVID. Mastery of conversation, systems, and automation enable customers to become stakeholders, invested participants of the brand's direction and capacity to make significant changes in the world while doing so profitably. 

Acquisition – Value curated communication that creates​ a tribe

Purpose-driven brands reflect transparency and authenticity, and alignment of these values draws in new customers that identify with the brand and jump on board to support the brand's end goal. However, geographical location may impact a brand's ability to incorporate transparency due to varying country regulatory standards seamlessly. For instance, the US has seen the enormous growth of clean beauty brands whose purpose addresses ingredient safety, public health, and efforts to close the domestic regulatory gap compared to Europe, Australia, and countries with more stringent regulations. Consumers feel brands that choose not to hold themselves to the highest safety standards lack transparency for performance at consumer expenditure.  

Sustainability is a cornerstone of purpose-driven brands. Authentic conversations require a deep dive into the supply chain. Here conversations are curated around the origin of ingredients, how they are processed, and ties to social, environmental, and ethical causes. The supply chain touches every element of our past, present, and future. 

Purpose-driven brands embrace and own this as truth, and customers want to be a part of the journey.

 

Modern Tribe

 

Retention depth, and compassion mobilize a tribe 

Purpose-driven brands have a depth that builds relationships and keeps customers coming back. 

Morgan referred to conversational commerce ​as a tool for retention. A conversation that conveys the right message at the right time through technology automation. Sustainable choices are a large part of the messaging to mobilize and leverage the purpose of making the world a better place. Many brands choose to align with The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 interconnected goals to serve as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.” (1). ​The chart below lists the full scope of the sustainability goals. 

E-SDGs-Poster-768x456

Purpose-driven brands leverage tools that empower change

Tools and strategies such as automated systems, organizational, and certification programs such as B-Corp ​marks the collaborative spirit of purpose-driven brands. Another tool often applied is conscious and intentional design when creating a product. As an ingredient expert with a deep understanding of the supply chain, I seek out ingredients that provide the opportunity to contribute to change.  

Desert date oil of the Burkina Faso region in Africa exemplifies how product development choices make a big difference. Burkina Faso is the second poorest country globally per capita at an approximate income of $1,500 a year. In partnership with local producers and their distribution network, 300kg of desert date oil equates to an annual salary (3). Good cascades down the supply chain to the consumer.  

Burkina Faso benefits:

  • Schools for child education
  • Women gain independence by working and earning
  • Affordable basic health care
  • Reclaimed desert land transformed into sustainable green areas

Consumer benefits and formulation applications:

  • A functional oil, rich in essential fatty acids that condition and moisturize
  • Used in cosmetics, skincare, and hair care from 1% - 20% in formulation

Incorporating 1% of the desert date oil in products empowers change for a more sustainable future. Purpose-driven brands capture a story such as this, communicate it to their customer, and create an easy opportunity for everyone to contribute to positive change.

 

School in Sahel

 

Conclusion 

We all have a story, all telling a story with our words, but also with our choices. The power of choice empowers change, and that truth shows up in the beauty industry. Social media, information access, and eCommerce have given rise to the special breed of purpose-driven indie beauty brands. Their mission embodies compassion, action, and illuminates a tribe for possibilities of a happily ever after for all.  

 

References:

(1) https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

(2) https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/about-us/sustainable-development-goals-sdgs-and-disability.html

(3) Ephyla and Next Step Laboratories: Desert Date Oil – building a community through Beauty

 

Video notes:

Andrej was my first recording during the beginning of the pandemic. The quality is not spectacular, but we make up for it through the content.

Interview questions by minute:

1:48 How would you define an eCommerce brand? 

2:50 What types of platforms are they using for introducing, educating, engaging and eventually selling to their customers?

5:55 What are your thoughts on curating a customer journey vs. observing a customer journey? 

11:17 Why do Purpose Driven brands perform higher in eCommerce than brands that are not tied to a greater purpose?

16:50 How important are ingredients in the creation of your brand story telling?

18:46 Tell us more about your program and the strategy for acquisition and retention.

31:30 If a brand comes to you that already has an established business, how do you help balance their strategies to increase their growth?

38:27 Can you share an example of growth metrics for a company that partners with your company over a 12-month period?

40:36 Do you see brands use eCommerce expand their distribution to different types of distribution such as retail and storefront?  

46:15 Andrej explains how the course works.

48:06 What does the digital landscape do for brands and why it is so effective compared to other types of distribution?

49:34 Nurturing conversations of facts in the context of a story. 

51:45 What is the story you are telling with your company?

53:34 What are you grateful for?

54:50 What do you think the world needs most right now?

56:50 What do you appreciate about yourself?

 

Author notes:

As a US Based company, I would like to clarify that the US recently withdrew participation in the Paris Agreement, whose central aim was to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. ​The Paris Agreement is closely tied to the SDGs. I believe this causes confusion in the US Industry understanding of sustainability. For more information on the Paris Agreement and The UN SDGs please see the links below:

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674927817300849