Spain’s cosmetic market has taken off with 1% of online trade accounted for by cosmetics and perfumery. Bontier has created a line of female cosmetics aimed at the beauty blog savvy 30-60yr old demographic. In 2013, despite developing six advanced cosmetic products the company turned their first profit. With new products in development and active online content promotion, Bontier is riding the rising trend for direct B2C sales.
KITE Invest: Brand presence is often synonymous with this industry, with behemoth conglomerates accounting for the vast majority of sales. How did Bontier go about the R&D of producing a range of products suitable for your target market?
Bontier: In Bontier we are committed to offering all products needed for our clients, but we began this challenge by selecting six basics that could improve what is currently offered in the skin care and beauty market. Our clients are regular consumers of skin care items and young girls looking for their first moisturising cream.
In the following months Bontier will renew some products through reformulation and launch new products with very competitive prices.
KITE: What advantages do you have as a small, independent, cosmetic producer and how is this communicated to the client?
Bontier: Certainly we have many great advantages; we have a direct contact with our clients and can offer our products by skipping several steps in the selling process, avoiding intermediaries. This key aspect allows us to set reduced prices, and get direct answers about what clients want and expect. Our presence on social networks is essential to transmit this proximity.
KITE: Aside from Bontier’s own online shop and selected carrying pharmacies, B2C marketing requires a strong online presence in beauty blogs, review sites, and social media. How has Bontier found the process of extending their online presence through third party not-for-profit channels?
Bontier: We are highly satisfied because since the first promotional action we got an incredible and unexpected response from beauty bloggers that were willing to try our products. Quickly the positive opinions spread the word. We had to extend some collaboration action deadlines because of the numerous bloggers that were asking to collaborate with us.
KITE: What steps were crucial in your evaluation of achieving an engaged audience and how have you maximised upon this interest?
Bontier: We have seen that the online customer demands a lot of information, not only about our products (detailed composition, recommendations of use…) but also other beauty tricks and health advices. Through our blog we give answers to these kinds of questions and embellishing the brand. This effort has translated into growing sales.
KITE: For a web-reliant sales model, marketing penetration for the fitting channels is imperative for a company’s success. Bontier’s early trajectory has been impressive especially taking into consideration the considerable cost of R&D and production; please describe the financing to date. Bontier is currently seeking funding for product development and marketing. How is Bontier seeking investment?
Bontier: Bontier launched in 2011 without debt and achieved fast organic growth based on an optimized cost structure and viral marketing techniques.
Once Bontier made a space for itself in online beauty market and achieved small profits in 2013, we could rotate to an investment model, develop new products and launch sizeable campaigns. Although we did not actively search investors, we are convinced to do so based on the profitable growing opportunity. One of the options that we consider is Crowdfunding, where small investors would give minor contribution to receive a test unit and, in addition, we would get their opinion.
KITE: Where can you see this investment taking Bontier in the future?
Bontier: A wider range of references and a major campaign can take Bontier to appreciable profits supported by loyal clients, regular promotions and special offers.