November 26th, 2019
There’s a new kid on the block which is shaking up the affordable beauty market – Catrice Cosmetics. Cruelty free and high performance, this on-trend German brand has already earned a rep in Europe for its hard-working products that are seriously good for your pocket. What’s more 80% of the entire collection are vegan and everything in the range comes in at under £12 and it’s landed exclusively at Just My Look. We caught up with GM, Hilko Prahl, to find out more.
What’s your background and what brought you into the industry?
I am the Chief Sales Officer and General Manager of cosnova Beauty, the European volume market leader in colour cosmetics, with brands such as essence and CATRICE in our portfolio. In 2007 I joined cosnova Beauty as International Key Account Manager back when it was a start-up company. It was an exciting opportunity for me to join cosnova Beauty on their global expansion journey and to help drive growth and development in the business. In 2010 I was appointed Sales Director, therefore responsible for multiple regions, before becoming the Chief Sales Officer in 2015. I became the fourth member of the General Management team at cosnova and have since been responsible for the company’s global sales.
Following my studies at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I graduated with a degree in International Business Administration and an Executive Master of Business Administration, I started my professional career within sales. This included various sales positions at the likes of The Lorenz Bahlsen Snack-World Holding GmbH & Co KG as well as Erdal Rex GmbH.
What were the first steps to setting up a makeup brand and what advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
CATRICE was founded by Christina Oster-Daum and it was her clear vision, one still shared by me and the General Management team at cosnova beauty today, that there is a need that other brands do not cater for: high quality, on trend makeup at affordable prices.
When Christina could not convince her former employer to invest in her brand idea, she decided to quit and founded cosnova Beauty. Her mission to offer products and experiences that allow everyone to feel beautiful payed off, and 18 years later our brands are distributed in more than 80 countries globally and we sell close to 500 million products per year.
My advice to any budding entrepreneurs would be to stick to their dreams and pursue their vision with determination.
Where do you manufacture?
cosnova, the company behind CATRICE Cosmetics, do not have their own manufacturing. Instead, we maintain long-standing and trusted partnerships with our suppliers – with 90% of them in Europe, in countries such as Germany, Italy and France.
How closely do you work with makeup artists?
Across all our brands, we work very closely with MU Artists and we encourage our customers to explore their inner make-up artist with our products! MUAs provide the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our products to press, influencers, bloggers and external stakeholders, as they bring our products to life and have the talent to engage audiences – an ideal interaction when showcasing new products and the perfect look.
We have long standing relationships with many MUAs – we see them as partners who have been involved in product development.
How long does it take you to develop new products and bring them to market?
From the initial idea process through to the product launch, our product marketing team works for approximately nine to 12 months to bring a product to life and to market. However, if an innovation or trend pops up which we want to quickly integrate into an update, we can speed up the process to approx. six months in exceptional cases.
What’s your favourite product that you’ve developed? And one you wish you had?
My favourite product we have developed is the essence lash princess mascara. It was a great product in terms of concept and performance, but it initially remained undiscovered until a blogger discovered the product and was so impressed that she wrote about it and it went viral and popularity then rocketed worldwide.
In terms of products I wish we had developed; we always make our product dreams and wishes a reality and create them! When we think we should offer something new, we make sure to do so. With a 50% innovation rate per year and high-speed product development, we are able to do this successfully.
Where do you retail in the UK?
CATRICE Cosmetics is sold on Justmylook.com alongside sister brands essence and L.O.V., whilst essence is also stocked online at Feelunique.com and nationwide at Wilko.
What’s the next big beauty trend? Where do you get your forecasts from?
Beauty trends very often emerge in Asia and the US before breaking into the European market. Previously, this trend adoption took up to two years – nowadays, due to social media, they gain popularity and break through much faster, and therefore require prompt product development processes.
Our biggest challenge is working ahead for trend-oriented products and innovative concepts to stay ahead of the game, whilst constantly questioning and developing our processes to adapt to new market conditions.
The sharing of viral trends on social media, shows us that consumers are now deciding which trend is going to be the next big thing. Additionally, the lifecycle of trends has become much shorter and it can become difficult for us to predict their longevity and popularity, in order to develop the relevant products and shades.
To meet this challenge, cosnova has its own Innovation Hub. An essential part of this is the Trends & Consumer Insights team, who detect and assess societal developments, movements and trends, always working closely with the end user to help cosnova secure its successful place in the ongoing transformation of the cosmetic market.
Who do you see as your competitor brands in the UK?
Every brand that is being sold alongside our brands, both online and offline, is a competitor to a certain degree. However, we have not seen many brands out there that successfully manage the combination of innovation, high quality and affordable prices that we do with our brands.
What are your plans for the future of the brand?
CATRICE has achieved a strong and constant growth over the last few years and is now distributed in almost 70 countries. We are keen to push ourselves to increase the speed of our innovations, whilst pursuing more sustainable product developments and concepts like our clean ID range, that has the maximum percentage of natural ingredients and is as eco-friendly as possible. Furthermore, we continue to develop hybrid product concepts between colour cosmetics and skin care.
For the UK, our goal is to grow our distribution and to become one of the most relevant brands in the market.