Christinah Nicolaisen is the co-founder of Oslo-based Eleni & Chris. Developing products from a selection of local ingredients sourced straight from the fields, fjords, and glaciers, the brand focuses on results-driven formulas with the precious cloudberry being the key ingredient. Jesper K. Hansen is the founder of Sandstone Scandinavia, based in Odense and working with Nordic, allergy-certified, and vegan makeup. Mia Due is the manager and head of accounts at Presskontakterna Denmark, a Scandinavian PR and communication agency specialised in the fashion, lifestyle, and beauty sectors, with the latter being her main focus area. She’s also a former MUA and hairstylist.
How has 2022 been, for you and your company?
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: Really exciting! Beauty consumers are trending towards natural formulations, and products with multifunctional benefits and people are more results-driven than ever, which has always been a strong part of how we develop our formulations. The skinification of the hair trend has also been really exciting for us. Given the macro environment, this year has perhaps been especially challenging to predict and plan ahead in a changing environment. With more and more customers demanding a more convenient way to shop their products, we have also been very focused on our e-commerce platform.
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: It’s been a good year for Sandstone. After the lockdown during Covid, we are back and have entered new partnerships, grown sales, and developed new products to make more people feel safe when using cosmetics. We have received wonderful feedback from consumers where we have made a positive difference for their skin and wellbeing. These customer reactions are what we love to get, and why we started Sandstone in the first place. The year as a business has been challenging as there has been pressure on the supply chains in form of the availability of raw materials, which has delayed some launches of new products.
Mia Due, Presskontakterna: 2022 has been an amazing year, where we can feel that the clients are getting out of the Covid bubble — and therefore are getting back to ’normal’, meaning they are ready to do activities such as events again. However, it has also been a year where we feel all the different consequences of the pandemic, which will leave a few scars in the industry. One of my main areas of expertise has been in getting American beauty brands to the Scandinavian market and Scandinavian beauty brands to the American market, as they’re such a good match for each other. This has proven difficult after the pandemic, due to small and independent distributors within the beauty sector closing down, making it harder to start the process of inviting new brands to new markets.
What are your anticipations for 2023?
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: Even more focus on Clean Beauty, as consumers are getting better educated in what to look for. We are pushing the limits to make new products of the highest quality with certified ingredients, but still at the same fair price level.
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: That the strong beauty from within trend will continue and that consumers will be even more into the science of beauty. Creating a good balance between online and offline shopping to meet customers in different channels will be important — people want convenience but they also want to be inspired when they shop in-store.
For the beauty industry, which technologies are you looking at now, that will drive innovation?
Mia Due, Presskontakterna: I’m very inspired by whatever moves in the beauty scene in the US — especially in California — so I keep a close eye on new trends and tendencies in that area. I have been super excited about beauty tools using EMS, microcurrent frequencies, and overall advanced electrical muscle stimulation tools. It has been around for some time, but we see the trends and tools moving closer to our market and we’ve seen a few launches by Danish brands using the techniques recently. I also believe that we’ll see more and more personal shopping using AR technologies, as something we learned from the pandemic was that when the physical shopping experience was taken away, we must rely on the online experience. I see more and more ways where you can personalize your beauty shopping via apps, AR shopping experiences, and Virtual Try-Ons. I believe that we’ll see more advanced tools to help boost the confidence of the end-consumers when making online beauty purchases, by personalization through high-tech experiences.
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: Technologies that either make beauty shopping life easier through convenience-based solutions or inspire customers to learn more will drive innovation moving forward.
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: For the makeup brands, the problem of choosing the right colour for your skin tone online will for sure be very interesting to try and solve. I have not yet seen the final solution for this. If I would choose one thing to follow closely this would be it.
What trends will we see, for the industry and the end consumer?
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: I mentioned beauty from within and that is the overarching macro trend that we see. Over the past two years, beauty has moved closer towards health in the eye of the consumer, so the important role that beauty products actually play in making people feel better in a challenging environment is very good to see. We believe the science-backed demand from consumers will grow; people want to dig deeper when it comes to products — not only knowing what it is and what it does but why. Lastly, the strong inclusivity trend will continue to grow and flourish in the beauty space.
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: The trends that are already here – Clean Beauty, sustainability, and value for money — will be even stronger over the next years. Consumers are smart, and fortunately, they know a lot more about what to look for in a product than before. I believe independent and science-based certifications will be a driver for beauty brands.
Mia Due, Presskontakterna: As mentioned, we’ll see more brands using live shopping and high-tech shopping experiences, using different technologies, like AR and virtual guidance and try-ons.
How will the macroeconomic factors affect?
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: The economic situation has a strong impact on consumer’s budgets. I expect that value for money will be a trend to look for, as consumers are starting to see through extensive marketing, and are less willing to pay for expensive brands. They want good quality for a fair price.
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: Historically, the beauty industry has proven to bounce back quickly throughout difficult financial times. Beauty products and services have an important role in a challenging macro environment as they contribute to making people feel better. In this macro-environment, we have several other factors such as inflation which is likely to affect our industry, so value for money is an aspect that we believe the industry will see in 2023.
And when it comes to sustainability, what do you think will happen? And what would you wish to happen?
Mia Due, Presskontakterna: I hope that more brands will think about the impact they have on the environment. I did some research recently on haircare brands and where they were placed on the positioning map when it came to sustainability. I was so shocked to find so many brands didn’t even have a Sustainability page on their website, showcasing the ways they take their own responsibility. For me, this was an indicator, that they didn’t have any values or parts of their brand being sustainable — and that’s not enough. As the beauty industry has such a huge impact, I hope that more brands look into ways on, for instance, develop packaging that is sustainable or reusable and minimise redundant packaging and their CO2 commissions.
Christinah Nicolaisen, Eleni & Chris: Consumers demand sustainability so the development will advance further in the years to come. It is no longer a question of if you work with becoming more sustainable, but consumers are asking what you are doing, so transparency is going to be important. We wish especially packing manufacturing will advance quicker — and that the selection of sustainable packaging options for all components becomes larger.
Jesper K. Hansen, Sandstone Scandinavia: The beauty industry still has a way to go. New types of materials are needed for packaging, and innovation is going on right now. Consumers will also have to show the way, by choosing the right products, and in this way push innovation. We see that when asking consumers if they prefer sustainable packaging, the answer is yes, but it is not what they show when they are buying a product. For a small independent brand, it is a difficult decision to make what type of material to select for packaging. The well-known ones that we know our customers like and are buying, or a new more sustainable one that is more expensive and that our customers might not like. We are still debating this ourselves, as we really want to go all-in for sustainable packaging, but can we risk it at the moment?
— Independent and science-based certifications will be a driver for beauty brands.
— Over the past two years, beauty has moved closer towards health in the eye of the consumer.
— Science-backed demand from consumers will grow — people want to dig deeper into products.
— Beauty from within is one overarching macro trend to watch.
— We’ll see more advanced tools to help boost the confidence of the end-consumers when making online beauty purchases, by personalization through high-tech experiences.