Beauty & Fashion

Beauty Bar: Going natural

The business decision to offer non-traditional goods is what’s driving Beauty Bar’s growth, as customers, thereby the companies servicing them, choose to go for socially responsible products.

“We are just fortunate that since Beauty Bar’s inception in 1999, we have always aligned ourselves with brands that are not your ‘traditional’ department store cosmetics brand,” says Chie Gatchalian, marketing officer for Beauty Bar. “The brands we carry in Beauty Bar started out as small, niche brands that are well known and loved the world over, but also have a high level of social awareness and consciousness (e.g. Smashbox, ModelCO, Burt’s Bees, et cetera). Unlike the more established cosmetics brands, they are younger, more daring and take bigger risks when it comes to product development. It was inevitable that when these brands started to move towards producing more environmental, natural and cruelty-free products, Beauty Bar followed suit.”

Beauty Bar

And it is this – the business decision to offer non-traditional goods – that, interestingly, is now driving Beauty Bar’s growth, as “customers, thereby the companies servicing them, choose to (go for) socially responsible products. We realize that as the world becomes more and more aware of the need to care for Mother Nature, our clients also tend to look for products that will help them do the same. We want Beauty Bar to be able to respond to the changes in the marketplace, (such as in responding to the) very high demand now for natural, organic and cruelty-free products,” Gatchalian says.

Beauty Bar is a venture of Store Specialists Inc. (SSI), one of the undisputed leaders in brand management of specialty retail concepts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Established in 1988, SSI offers the best in high-end fashion specialty retailing, carrying the biggest lifestyle brand portfolio and the most number of boutiques. Currently, it operates over 200 freestanding and shop-in-shop boutiques that cover a total of about 240,000 square feet of prime retail space, with presence covering Metro Manila, Pampanga, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

SSI provides a wide menu of brand management services that includes research and planning, product, store and sales development, advertising and sales promotion, public relations, merchandising, and logistical support. In addition to being the franchisee of the international brand names, SSI also manages and operates its own retail concept stores: Beauty Bar, Make Room and Tutto Moda.

Beauty Bar is SSI’s “venture into the personal care store concept,” allowing the company to “showcase innovative and non-traditional international brands of cosmetics, skin care, and beauty products that are not available anywhere else in the Philippines.” Beauty Bar is the first and only specialty personal care concept of its kind, where niche brands and products are presented as new alternatives to traditional cosmetics and body care ideas, from simple lip glosses to more intricate potions for beauty and relaxation, on an exclusive basis.

SSI is a member of the Rustan’s Group of Companies (RGOC), a leading wholesaling and retailing conglomerate in the Philippines.

Gatchalian believes that if there’s a thing that can be learned from Beauty Bar’s experience, it is the importance on flexibility to respond to market needs. “It is a known fact that businesses should always be aware of the trends and should be flexible enough to know what the market needs- and this changes all the time,” she says.

In fact, due to their responsiveness, “so far, we haven’t faced any difficulties in selling (the products we carry) to clients. As a matter of fact, our clients are now more aware of what’s going on in the world. They are more mobile, they travel more, and they spend a lot of time on the Web and are, therefore, more aware that they are a part of a bigger community.”

Thus, greening their way of doing business, the “carrying of cruelty-free products, is not just a trendy thing to do, but is the right thing to do. Now, people are looking for more ways to get involved in caring for their environment. Being able to contribute to that, in whatever way possible, is always a good thing. It shows your clients that you are changing with them and with the times,” Gatchalian says.

In 2003, Beauty Bar was voted Most Promising Retailer by the Philippine Retailers’ Association (PRA) and the Department of Trade and Industry. As of end-2007, there were 14 Beauty Bar stores in Metro Manila, and the cities of Baguio and Cebu.

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