The beauty industry as a whole is expected to grow about 5% annually and skincare is still the dominating segment. Yet, both small and big brands have a major challenge with keeping their margins, given the state of the world, increasing prices in raw materials, shipping, and production costs. And, being a relatively small company, Tilda Nordh, co-founder and creative director of Swedish beauty company Rapide explains, also comes with benefits.
— It is easier for us to make quick decisions and rearrange things to adapt compared to a larger organization. But as it is clearly perceptible to everyone, the aftermath of a pandemic and other recent happenings in the world changes the economy and affects both consumption habits and the purchasing process for companies, she says, continuing,
— Even though the general consumer interest is still high, we believe that the niche brands with authentic expertise and good quality products will succeed best in a very highly competitive branch.
Nine years ago, she set out to innovate a specific part of the industry — our eyebrows.
— We wanted to offer our customers beauty treatments whenever and wherever they wanted them through easy booking online together with a scalable concept. We started our own Brow Bars and hired Brow Artists — a profession that did not exist before we created it.
With the launch of the new product Brow Tint, Nordh continues, Rapide remains close to its core business yet exploring new areas within it.
— We are re-inventing a widely used product with a new approach combining the expertise we’ve gathered during the years with new innovations from the industry. Our subscription for refilling the Brow Tint kit, Brow Tint Refills, is as far as we know unique worldwide. We always tailor our customer’s brow colour in the Brow Bars to their own preference — therefore we chose to offer three different shades, instead of only one, to mix in a special kit. We also wanted to get rid of disposable tools so we added a mixing cup in glass and other reusable tools. We also want to share our expertise, so we’ve added very clear instructions on how to use the product properly. It is very beginner-safe!
How come you launched this new concept? Was it driven by changing consumer behaviour during the pandemic?
— We saw that there was a gap within the at-home brow tinting segment on the market. Like many other industries, we saw a change of behaviour in beauty consumers during the pandemic — and especially our own customers. Being a beauty service company was definitely tough, but we focused a lot on how we could broaden our offer and be less vulnerable. Many beauty customers turned to at-home beauty treatments at that time, and that is how this idea started to grow. Beauty consumers today are more curious than before and are seeking out information about products and ingredients and there seems to be a bigger common, deeper interest, says Nordh. She continues:
— We definitely hope to attract new customers with Brow Tint, especially those who live far away from our physical Brow Bars. We are also expanding market-wise, first digitally with our products online and in the next year, we will hopefully open our first Brow Bar in one of the other Nordic countries.
If we look ahead, will this at-home trend remain and will we see just more and more advanced products and launches for end-consumers to use at home?
— We clearly see that at-home products play a more important role in people’s lives. In an increasingly urbanized world, I think many people have become better and want to create self-care moments and their own routines to use different types of products that make life easier and more enjoyable. I still strongly believe that the beauty experience, personal meetings between people and the professional result that you can only get in a salon will continue to grow, but customers will be more discerning about where they go for what. When it comes to eyebrows, we want to help improve the at-home experience as an extension of our physical Brow Bars and simplify for consumers with clear guidance. But we are sceptical of products that encourage people to try, for example, Brow Lift and Lash Lift at home involving strong chemicals. Even our specially trained brow experts would not do that on themselves! I hope the industry becomes more tightly regulated on certain fronts and that all companies invest in consumer-friendly and safe products with kinder and more sustainable ingredients in the future.
When you look back, what has been the most challenging thing about creating Rapide?
— To find work-life balance and keep my personal health and time at a good level while living and breathing your business every day. It has also been a challenge to run a scalable business in the service sector depending on lots of staff in several different cities while still maintaining the same quality, vision, and customer experience in every Brow Bar. The service sector is known to be heavy with even just one location!
And what have you learned?
— That it is possible to create a sustainable business model out of something many discarded as just a brief trend. The key is to be persistent and consistent in everything you do and especially your brand values and visions, Nordh concludes.