Beauty adopting fashion supply chains

By shortening their production cycles ‘fast beauty’ brands can get products to market quicker than ever.

MIQ Logistics clients including French Connection, Phase Eight and GANT have helped to transform the fashion sector by developing agile omni-channel supply chains, which enabled them to consistently offer on-trend clothing at competitive prices.

In contrast, beauty brands have traditionally moved more slowly, as sales tended to be through third parties and were predominantly replenishment purchases, meaning consumers were more likely to repurchase a favourite product repeatedly rather than seek out new trends.

But with growth in the beauty sector now overwhelmingly driven by a young (18-24) demographic, who are always looking for something new at a low price, beauty is beginning to move faster, with new brands adopting a ‘fast-fashion’ strategy to reduce the time it takes for products to go from conception to sale.

MIQ’s Powerview provides the end-to-end supply chain transparency and control required by brands that want to increase speed-to-market

Unlike established beauty brands, which can take a year or two to get a new product to market, “fast beauty” companies like Kiko Milano, NYX and the Estee Lauder (ELC) acquired Too Faced can do it in weeks.make-up2

Digitization across the beauty value chain has massively disrupted the industry, allowing the new “fast beauty” players to challenge established mega-brands like Estee Lauder who, until recent acquisitions, had no ‘fast beauty’ brand in its portfolio.

Hence the acquisition of Too Faced and fellow ‘fast beauty’ brand Becca Cosmetics and the need now for ELC to focus on optimising their supply and speed-to-market.

Typical of this new breed of ‘fast’ brands is the European 2004 start-up Teeez Cosmetics, who launch four collections of 50+ SKUs a year.

Releasing limited-edition products at a high frequency maintains freshness, which boosts sales and results in lower markdowns and double-digit growth.

Other brands launch new products in limited quantities and monitor sales, reviews and social media activity. If they are popular it is simple to accelerate production and expand distribution.

Speed-to-market is a concept that is impacting the entire beauty industry and is consequently a top priority for many brands.

Industry commentators point out that fast fashion has been sharply criticised for its ethical and environmental impact and the fact that to launch a low-cost product the chances are you’re cutting corners on manufacturing costs or ingredients.

So what about fast beauty? With consumers increasingly adopting ethical preferences, they will need to be careful.