Natura Brasil and Boticário, the two leading Brazilian groups in the industry, dominate the local market, in particular thanks to their direct-selling networks. They are ahead of the sector’s world’s giants like American company Avon, another direct-selling specialist, but also L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever. Despite their sizes, the variety of their offers, and the quality of their products, these brands are still little known or not known at all in other global markets. “That’s true, opportunities on the global scale have not been exploited enough by major brands yet, and not at all by smaller ones”, confirms Helen Kupfer-Haas, consultant and distributor of luxury brands on the French and Brazilian markets. “They have been focusing on developing on their own market, which is tremendous, and in the booming Latin American market. That was their priority,” she explains.
These choices are confirmed by Nazish Munchenbach, Marketing Director at Granado, the historic and iconic brand of the country that has just made a noticeable entrance at the Bon Marché department store in Paris. “We have only just started developing on the global level. We are only working with a few trustworthy partners for now, such as the Bon Marché, or Palmers in Greece, and we also have a few clients in Italy and Great Britain, but we are still focusing on Brazil, and most of our resources are dedicated to the local market”, she adds.
And yet, Natura has embarked on an adventure outside the Brazilian borders on one of the most famously harsh markets: France. The brand entered the French market in 2005, where its products are available in a store, but also via a network of 2,000 direct-selling advisors and a website. It has a long-standing presence in the country, but it still remains relatively discreet in terms of visibility.
Even if, because of logistics costs and constraints, conquering the world was never a priority until now, the slowdown in growth and the ever-fiercer competition on the local level seem to make brands think.
By purchasing Australian brand Aesop, Natura Brasil has laid its hands on a company sharing similar values and possessing a network of wholly-owned stores on several continents. Today, the group declares it is ready to increase the number of its points of sale in France. However, Thierry Aubry-Lecomte, Managing Director of Natura Brasil in France, qualifies the idea of spreading all over the place: “Humility and wisdom make us connect with the rhythm of the Earth and take shape on a sustainable basis”.
Granado also prefers to remain cautious: “a 145-year-old company can afford to take the time to do things the right way, without any hurry”, confirms Nazish Munchenbach.
But what chance do these brands have to win the hearts of women consumers all over the world? No doubt they can, according to Nazish Munchenbach. “Brazil has a huge potential. It is a country that not only inspires by its beauty and the richness of its culture, its nature and size, but also by the kindness and accessibility of its people. All this brings endless possibilities”, she explains.
And Helen Kupfer-Haas confirms that “thanks to its cultural mixing, Brazil has a universal appeal. It can reach all continents and, most of all, it rhymes with joie de vivre. As a matter of fact, beauty around the world is mainly personalized by Brazilian women today. They are the most beautiful ambassadors, starting with Gisele Bündchen, and the most well-known models come from Brazil. It is a true breeding ground. And it is not just their beauty that is appealing, as they have this ‘brasilidade’ aura of well-being, joie de vivre – a healthy mind in a healthy body that grabs people’s interest all around the world. Major Brazilian brands should use this.”
A universal beauty that embodies joie de vivre, a biodiversity that is unique in the world and rich in endlessly varied, natural ingredients, little-known beauty rituals… everything seems to show Brazilian beauty has everything to conquer the world.
“But in order to succeed, a Brazilian brand must focus on quality and innovation, and make no compromise on these two key success factors”, Nazish Munchenbach warns. The massive arrival of international suppliers and subcontractors in Brazil together with the growing sophistication in production tools and means should contribute to enhancing the global competitiveness of Brazilian cosmetics.