Why it is a good idea to start a beauty business
It is undeniable that the beauty industry experienced havoc at the onset of the pandemic last year. Store closings and a slowdown in various activities hit sales of makeup and fragrances.
But grooming became increasingly important as the office moved to the home. People had to appear on various video calls and some others went back to the office.
As a result of these needs, products such as creams, masks, makeup or even esthetics services, specialized skin care clinics, among others, have been positioned in the market.
Beauty business is a profitable business
If you consider yourself more than a beauty guru, all these trends can become a great business opportunity, especially if you consider yourself more than a beauty guru, because in Mexico this line of business is highly profitable and we have some interesting data that proves it.
From the results of INEGI's 2019 economic census, for example, beauty salons and boutiques are one of the top 10 types of establishments with the highest share of employment. Bear in mind that employment generation is an important indicator that the business generates wealth and activates the economy of a community.
Another fact that affirms that the beauty industry is a profitable business in Mexico is that we occupy the 7th place in the world with the highest number of non-surgical treatments according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Besides, talking about beauty businesses is not only about esthetics or barbershops because this sector has diversified a lot, so with a proper business plan you could reach the break-even point in a relatively short period.
Leverage online sales
Sanitary emergency has not completely stopped the beauty industry in Mexico; even online sales have become more relevant.
According to the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO), 86% of buyers confirmed that they would buy beauty products online.
In fact, following the demand for products and services in these categories, AMVO decided last year to hold the first edition of Hot Fashion, an online sales campaign focused on the fashion and beauty industry, which lasted seven days at the beginning of August.
According to the second edition, prior to Hot Fashion 2021, nine out of 10 shoppers would like to participate in the campaign with both physical and online purchases. Meanwhile, 40% would only buy online, according to data collected from the Hot Fashion 2020 Expectations Report conducted by AMVO.
The report also showed that this year, 95% of potential consumers are interested in the Fashion category, followed by Beauty and Personal Care with 78% of shoppers. Top three categories are of great familiarity for online shoppers, due to the fact that during the last Hot Sale 2021, 60% of purchases were in the Fashion and Personal Care categories.
A good ally to boost online sales can be social networks, although it is necessary to establish a strategy to know which ones and how they will be used for this sales channel.
Facebook and Instagram have become a gateway for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in e-commerce.
Social networks for direct purchases
Social networks now serve not only as a channel for businesses and customers to communicate, but also to make direct purchases from platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
In the past year, the technology company Facebook decided to launch two new tools, Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops, these are tools that enable any business to create stores and sell its products directly through both platforms.
With both tools, SMEs without a big budget to start an ecommerce business will find it very helpful. This is because creating a store on both platforms is free.
For example, on Instagram you can tell the story of your beauty business and highlight your makeup or skin care products in a seamless way so that people can easily buy as soon as they come across your product.
So if you choose not to open a store on Instagram or you have not set up an ecommerce site, you can use the platform only as a catalog or channel to promote your products and use a tool that is useful to get paid online. One such tool could be the one offered by Clip, i.e. Pagos a Distancia Clip (Clip Remote Payments).
For this reason, this tool offered by Clip is affordable for small businesses that have started with their presence only on Instagram or Facebook and do not have an ecommerce.
The Instagram account Auraeris is an Instagram account with a product/service profile that offers makeup from other brands that are well known but do not have a large number of physical stores to sell their products.
The account is only used to offer the products through posts and stories. Payments can be made through wire transfers and deliveries are made in certain subway stations, which is a logistics used more and more by small businesses or bazaars that use the platforms to sell their products.
Reaching an audience on social networks
In the event that you decide not to create a store on Facebook or Instagram, it is possible to use the platforms solely as a communication channel or for promoting your services and products. This will require precise planning and research on the best times to publish.
According to Socialbakers, each platform needs strategic approaches to maximize the performance of your content across all channels. Some questions to address first, though, before you begin:
- Who is the audience type for each social media platform? LinkedIn audiences are very different from Instagram audiences. Clearly defining audiences will help to deepen your posting strategy.
- Which time zone is my target market in? Audiences could be different depending on the time zone. It is important to identify how scheduling works for the time zone to best allocate time and energy to the right audiences.
- At what time of day is engagement highest during the day or week? More audience size does not necessarily mean higher engagement. You need to track when audiences are most active, while keeping an eye on holidays, events, current trends and key influencers in order to understand what attracts the most engagement.
For instance, Instagram provides a much more visual platform for sharing photos, stories and videos to promote beauty or skin care products. Hashtags can even add to the strategy for consumers to find the products.
It is advisable to use real-time and pre-generated content to create a visual and interactive shopping experience that strengthens connections and makes the audience aware of the products.
Once a product/service profile has been created, if it has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, direct links can be added to stories with a phrase such as "Swipe up" or "Buy now".
Viewers can simply swipe up on the story and get to the product page to buy it if they have one. So this is a good way to use Instagram to drive sales.
During the fourth quarter of 2020 in Mexico, e-commerce category reached 20.8% of total brand interactions on Instagram, while on Facebook the same category reached 18.1% of total brand page interactions, according to the Brands in Mexico Q4 2020 report conducted by Socialbakers. These platforms interactions are important because people are not only viewers, but also potential buyers.
According to an Instagram trend research study conducted in November 2020, nearly half of the people surveyed use Instagram to shop every week, potentially making it easier to find customers on the platform.
Service specialization to start a beauty business
At the time to make your business plan, consider that in the description of your company you should land the theme or concept you want to implement, the location and the target market. Doing this will help you land what are the needs you want to cover.
There are many businesses that started with a very specialized service and you are worried that this will be a problem that will not allow you to grow, don't worry, there are several businesses that started giving a specific service and managed to grow from it.
An excellent example of this is the case of a prestigious cosmetics brand that today sells its products internationally in renowned stores: Anastasia Beverly Hills. Anastasia Soaré, its founder, began her story in the beauty industry with the opening of a beauty salon in 1992 in the city of Los Angeles. She began to make her way in Hollywood by attending to celebrities.
Soaré used to offer facial treatments that included eyebrow design. No one considered eyebrow design as a business at that time, but little by little she managed to consolidate and sell this concept.
Subsequently, she turned her salon into something more and dedicated herself to the sale of specialized cosmetics for eyebrow design, then she began to include other types of products and several years later Anastasia's business is considered one of the most successful beauty brands. Today there are also thousands of small establishments that only perform eyebrow design services.
Of course, this particular example is not the rule and exponential growth is not something that happens with every business, but it proves that specializing in a service is a great starting point. In other words, you do not need to start with a salon that includes all services. This can be a great long-term goal, especially if you don't have the investment required to set up a salon.
Whether you choose to sell natural cosmetics, be a professional makeup artist for brides and events, set up an express nail salon or a traditional beauty salon, keep in mind that the key to growth will be professionalization and constant training, since this will strengthen your brand and your services or products.
What is the best way to start the specialization?
Specialization begins by selecting a product whose demand is growing, but which has not yet reached every corner of the country. Asian face masks that are used in facial skin care routines are an example of this.
Going further and personalizing the products offered would be a plus, for example, putting together kits based on skin type or on a specific part of the face, such as the eyes or the so-called T-zone (the area of the face that includes the nose, forehead and chin). Such is the case of Apapacho de vida Mx, a small business that only has an online presence through its Instagram account with a product/service profile.
Apapacho lays its focus on offering Asian face masks, but does so through kits that help with the entire skincare experience. Kits are offered with masks, patches for dark circles, rollers for facial massages, facial toners or serum to moisturize the skin after masks. There are some kits for a complete facial cleansing routine and others for something specific, such as rejuvenation.
The other case is Duraznito.mx, a business specializing in artisanal and vegan beauty and personal care products. Duraznito.mx has a store on Instagram and on their profile they refer to the page where you can buy online and receive at home.
While this small business sells facial routine products, it chose to specialize in an area that allows it to stand out in an industry that seems to have a wide range of offerings. This is a matter of exploring what area you are passionate about and would like to specialize in to keep you in the beauty industry.
Throughout financial downturns and recessions such as the COVID-19 crisis, according to CB Insights, beauty does tend to be a resilient category owing to what is known as the "lipstick effect": consumers' tendency to perceive beauty as a small, affordable luxury during precarious economic times.
So while many consumers saw an increase in their disposable income during the pandemic, many others have found that the economic uncertainty of the pandemic has driven a renewed focus on products that have more value at lower prices. During this shift, beauty has maintained its place in shoppers' lives, attracting spending even as other product categories have suffered.
A February 2021 PowerReviews survey found that consumers are now 40% more willing to try new beauty products than before the pandemic, and 59% report spending the same or more on beauty than before COVID-19. For many, pandemic conditions drove them toward product categories like skin care (and away from those like makeup) that play a central role in household routines.
Thus, the rise of e-commerce, the use of technology and responsible consumption are aspects that will continue in this industry. It will be important to take them into account when starting a beauty business.
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