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  • High-tech cosmetics for the contemporary beauty consumer
  • High-tech cosmetics for the contemporary beauty consumer
    Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons (2014) ©
CASE STUDY

DECIEM: a bare-faced beauty brand for all

The beauty industry is diversifying and DECIEM is an umbrella brand that’s responded to this with high-tech products for all. According to founder Nicola Kilner, society is increasingly ageless and genderless, anyway. So who exactly are its customers? And what’s behind its rapid rise to success?

Location Global

Scope
A new umbrella company that prides itself on being different has been shaking things up in the beauty world – its name is DECIEM. Founded in 2012, it’s grown fast, with nine brands already available on the market and three more set for released.

DECIEM pride itself on creating products that are different; each product is unisex, results-driven and targets a specific concern. “We're founded on the principle of doing everything others don't do,” claims the brand. “We’re changing the world of beauty based on this principle.” [1] What is it about these products that are so appealing to consumers? Can DECIEM successfully disrupt the $400 billion global beauty market? [2]

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Since it was founded in 2012 by Brandon Truaxe, DECIEM has become one of the biggest selling online beauty companies. It started trading in 2013 with just one product in one market – Inhibitif. It now offers more than 50 products in 15 markets and it’s still growing, with plans to release three more brands in the near future. “By being involved in so many categories, our brands can afford to have a dedicated lab, design team, factory – a dedicated everything, really,” says Co-CEO Nicola Kilner. “We keep our team very excited all the time.” [3]

Brands under the DECIEM umbrella include Inhibitif – a range of skin-smoothing products to minimize visible hair regrowth – FOUNTAIN, ‘clinically hip beauty supplements’, Hand Chemistry, which offers products for neglected hands and feet, and Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum – its best selling single product  – which promises to give you visibly longer, thicker hair. Setting customers back around £30, it sold out during its first day on the market. [1]

By being involved in so many categories, our brands can afford to have a dedicated lab, design team, factory – a dedicated everything, really. We keep our team very excited all the time

Nicola Kilner, CEO of DECIEM

DECIEM’s products involve high-tech, innovative formulas. FOUNTAIN is the company's best selling brand overall, which is unsurprising considering the fact nutricosmetics are rising, and set to be worth $7.4 billion by 2020. [4] The brand made $1.8 million in its first month and one of the liquid beauty supplements was sold every 11 seconds in 2013. [5] According to the brand, Hand Chemistry has also been the number one selling hand cream at Boots since launch. [1]

Having made $60 million in its first two years, DECIEM is hugely successful. [1] Breaking all the rules has resulted in sizeable media attention, too. Even the umbrella company's website is exciting, innovative and distinct from anything the beauty industry has been before – Unilever and P&G look like less cool, older cousins by comparison.  

FOUNTAIN has found success alongside the rise of nutricosmetics
FOUNTAIN (2015) ©

Context
There’s a growing demand for proven, targeted skincare formulas, as people become more concerned with improving what they already have. “Even though people are still buying make-up, they want to buy into wellness and the associated lifestyle,” says beauty journalist Daniela Morosini. “They want to buy a skincare product or a green juice that's going to give them the effects of looking well.” [6] Skincare is a key revenue driver in the beauty industry – global sales exceeded $111 billion in 2014, with sales expected to exceed $131 billion in 2019. [7]

And these formulas insinuate high quality; something the brand is keen to align itself with. “Quality today means being authentic, being different, being functional, being beautiful and being sensibly priced, even to the wealthy,” says copy from DECIEM. [1] The products are high quality, and will typically set you back a lot less then items from other premium brands. And because people want better quality products, it stands to reason they’ll want more scientific formulas. DECIEM’s formulas are high-tech and involve a lot of research – and they’re not shy about it. Each brand's packaging screams science and looks like it was created in a lab.

People aren’t looking for a cure; ageing is not a disease. Ageing is a process we all have to go through, and we all want to go through it looking and feeling the best we can

Tracey McAlpine, founder of beauty website fightingfifty

It’s not just for women, either, with products marketed to neither gender in particular, which makes DECIEM one of the few male-friendly brands, despite the fact the male grooming market is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion by 2016. [8] “The beauty industry often forgets how many men want to have great skin and look good.” says Tracey McAlpine, founder of beauty website fightingfifty. “Men are spending the money, but they’re doing it in subtle ways because nobody is actually addressing it. We need to make things more unisex.” [9] 70% of men use skincare products, but only 20% buy men’s brands. [10]

This diversity isn’t just genderless, it’s ageless, too. “The beauty industry is just waking up to the fact that they don’t market well to older people.” says McAlpine. “People aren’t looking for a cure; ageing is not a disease. Ageing is a process we all have to go through, and we all want to go through it looking and feeling the best we can.” [9] In the UK, women over 50 spend the most money on cosmetics and women over 45 account for 58% of the beauty market. [11] But not many brands market to this group, and those that do are often patronising or promise unrealistic results. DECIEM avoids this by appealing to those in the know, regardless of gender or age.

Modern cosmetics consumers demand diversity Modern cosmetics consumers demand diversity
zon_267, Creative Commons (2015) ©

Insights and opportunities
“Society has become ageless and the gender gap is closing as men’s desire to look good is growing at an extreme rate,” says Kilner. [3] But if the DECIEM target market is ageless and genderless, who are its customers? “Our customers are those that appreciate integrity and authenticity,” she says. “The customer wanting a $2 shampoo is as uneducated as the customer believing a $1,000 serum must work better. We aren't interested in either of these customer groups. We want the educated customer in the middle of these points.” Its brand NIOD works beneath the tagline, ‘skincare for the hyper-educated’, catering to product junkies who pride themselves on being well-versed in cutting-edge ingredients and formulations.

DECIEM is determined not be just another boring beauty brand. It believes that the key to success is being different. “Seeing repetition is almost like seeing clutter,” explains founder Brandon Truaxe. “The beauty industry is highly populated but not highly competitive.” [12] It’s the combination of innovations and focus in DECIEM’s products that goes against the grain and makes them so appealing. 

Society has become ageless and the gender gap is closing as men’s desire to look good grows at an extreme rate

Nicola Kilner, CEO of DECIEM

Because beauty consumers are more discerning now than they’ve ever been. “Consumers have a heightened interest in a personalised approach to beauty and in their choice of beauty products.” says Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst at the The NPD Group. “This is opening the door to brands that have a specific, fine-tuned beauty focus, whether it be brow expertise or targeted solutions for specialised skin concerns.” [13] Even beauty giant Sephora has picked up on the increasing appeal of niche brands. This year it launched Scouted by Sephora, which showcases the latest niche products on its site. 

And DECIEM has set its sights on disrupting the market in even more countries. “We’ve just launched into Australia, which is an extremely exciting market for us,” says Kilner. “The Australian customer is very educated and knowledgeable about ingredients – they know exactly what they want from their beauty purchases.” [3] But as for the future of the industry, Kilner predicts a major shift towards innovation, as loyalty ebbs. Perhaps breaking all the rules is what it takes to see success in the competitive beauty industry?

deciem.com

Rebecca Smith is a Psychology graduate from the University of Bristol. She’s previously worked on schemes promoting the open discussion of mental health issues among young people

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Byegender: Gender identities are becoming pick 'n' mix.

Sources 
1. 'Company', DECIEM (2015) 
2. 'Global beauty sales look at massive growth', Retail Gazette (May 2015)
3. Interview with Nicole Kilner conducted by author
4. 'The global nutricosmetics market', Strategyr (February 2015)
5. 'Can a drink really make skin look younger?', The Guardian (September 2015) 
6. Interview with Daniela Morosini conducted by author
7. 'The future of skincare: Game-changing trends and influencers', Euromonitor (June 2015)
8. 'Male grooming market size worldwide 2012-2020', Statista (September 2015)
9. Interview with Tracey McAlpine conducted by author
10. 'Yes, real men drink beer and use skin moisturiser', Bloomberg (October 2013)
11. 'Over-50s women spent most on make-up', The Telegraph (April 2015)
12. Interview with Brandon Truaxe conducted by author
13. Interview with Karen Grant conducted by author

Author
Rebecca Smith