Premium Beauty News - You were appointed Chief Market Officer of the Schwan Cosmetics Group a few months ago. What were your feelings at first concerning this company?
Dagmar Chlosta - I worked over the last 20 years for the Adidas Group, where I held various executive positions ranging from operations (including R&D, Materials Management, Innovation, Sourcing, Supply Chain Management) to strategy (including Digitalization) and marketing. In 2015 I moved to the USA and worked for the sporting goods brand Under Armour as SVP Global Operations. A couple of years ago, I wanted to change direction in my career: Working in the cosmetics industry was my lifelong dream, a dream that has finally come true.
I found Schwan Cosmetics exciting because of its people and its culture. It is a value-based, traditional and yet international company with a high level of innovation. We are a global market leader and, although we have a low-key presence for end users, we are bursting with ideas and passion. Also, changing perspective and literally sitting at the other side of the table, namely on the supplier vs. the brand side is a great way of expanding my horizons. Here it helps that I was responsible for procurement, product development and range management for two major brands for many years. I know all too well which challenges brands are facing in today’s world.
Premium Beauty News - The makeup market has changed considerably in the last three years with the arrival of new brands?
Dagmar Chlosta - What was once a brand driven market, is now ruled by the consumer and their expectations are presenting us all with very new challenges. As a consequence, we have to rethink our strategy and how we can service our customers to meet and exceed the desires of this new consumer.
We are in the process of changing our organization, we are evaluating our processes and we are laser focused on customer centricity and product leadership. We will offer true end-to-end solutions to our customers – from product to marketing to supply chain. All based on speed to market, agility, individualization and innovation beyond product. We have also onboarded new capabilities in terms of resources. Our strategy and positioning is based on data, experience and total commitment to deliver nothing short of excellence to our customers.
Premium Beauty News - Can you give us an update on your digital approach?
Dagmar Chlosta - In today’s world it is paramount that we know how to be part of the digital community. Hence, we are consistently enriching our portfolio with new business concepts and ideas from the digital world. It’s all about touch points, about connectivity. We want to be open and learn from digital natives, gather their ideas and see how we can translate these into compelling offers for our customers.
The BeautyThon 2018 was another step in this journey. Events like this help us to expand our network in the digital ecosystem. It also allows us to become a network partner for our customers in the digital space. Collaboration, connectivity, innovation, digitalization - these are not just buzz words for us, this is how we define Schwan Cosmetics and our various touch points in our ecosystem.
Premium Beauty News - The DNA and the history of your Group are punctuated by innovations in the fields of pencils and formulas. Is it still possible to innovate in this area?
Dagmar Chlosta - Of course it is! We have clearly defined our future strategy - we will not create more ‘me too’ products but have identified for ourselves what we believe customers and consumers alike will desire in the future - sustainable innovation.
Consumers want it all - high performing product, newness, diversification and a sustainable product that mirrors their beliefs, their lifestyle. This is what we will bring to the market. We are determined, in collaboration with our customers and other partners, to define the future of color cosmetics from a sustainable innovation point of view. You saw a first glimpse at MakeUp in Paris where we launched an industry first with our new product “PERFECT” – the ultimate blend of environmental consciousness in a wooden pen and high performing formula. Stay tuned for more information on this as we are launching our new positioning in the weeks to come: #sustainableinnovation.
Premium Beauty News - End consumers have changed dramatically?
Dagmar Chlosta - Consumers are now fully connected, they expect instant gratification, they dictate what’s in and what’s out and all at a speed that nobody expected to be possible. They are less interested in brand loyalty and more focused on what a product can do for them. They are connected to their tribe, fully immersed in social media, critical and discerning. As I already stated, what was once a market driven by brands has turned into a completely consumer-driven market.
We must be able to respond to this development by working with the brands to satisfy consumer desires. Fortunately, we have a global network of subsidiaries that are close to our customer base. We invest in the future by being in sync with what is happening in the markets and translating this into sustainable innovation.
Premium Beauty News - How is your Group addressing the environmental challenge?
Dagmar Chlosta - Conscious beauty and sustainability are a worldwide movement. Especially the millennials are a very conscious generation, and as a beauty manufacturer, we have to provide them with products that are in line with their beliefs in a sustainable planet. Therefore, we invest heavily in sustainable innovation also on the packaging side. We are relentlessly researching sustainable materials and are seeing the resurgence of wood through the launch of our PERFECT line. Schwan Cosmetics, with its longstanding history as a key innovator, is now moving into the space of being a “sustainable innovator”.