July 20th, 2022
essence has been causing a stir on the German and international beauty markets for two decades now. From popular basics to must-have limited-editions and Disney collaborations, it’s all about high-quality products with no compromises, no animal testing, and no crazy price tags. It’s the type of beauty you need in your life – one that is all about fun, freedom, confidence and self-expression.
As well as producing high-quality, innovative products at affordable prices, the brand stands for values such as respect, tolerance and self-love, believing everyone should be proud of who they are and how they express their individuality.
To celebrate their 20th birthday, essence is encouraging consumers to forget the stress of everyday living and instead let their creativity run wild and experiment with their style and look. They want to make beauty fun, for anyone who enjoys telling their own story with makeup.
So who are essence?
The brand was launched by Christina Oster-Daum in Germany in February 2002 with six employees and 49 products. 20 years on there are now 650 employees and 517 products. They’ve been a market leader in Germany since 2007, and Europe’s number 1 cosmetic brand since 2013. They now sell in 83 countries around the globe, with their three biggest markets being Germany, the USA and Netherlands.
The brand’s first overseas launch was in the USA in 2008. They have been in the UK since 2013, and can be found in over 400 Wilko stores here where they’ve sold over 32 million products. Best sellers in the UK market are the Long-Lasting Eye Pencil (£1.49) and Kajal Pencil (£1), while a Lash Princess Mascara (£3.30) is sold every 5 minutes in the UK and every 4 seconds worldwide. They are also stocked by UK e-tailers Just My Look and Feel Unique.
Christina said When we started 20 years ago, we had to completely rethink two essential topics in the cosmetics world: At that time, the cliché prevailed that cosmetics had to be expensive luxury items and that women were willing to spend a lot of money on them. There was a lack of brands that were affordable but still offered the key success factors in the field of colour cosmetics. The market was ripe for a trendy cosmetics brand that combined all of this – products with high quality and innovation at fair prices for every woman. I was convinced that this would meet the needs and expectations of very many women all over the world. That’s why it was an absolute “it was meant to be” decision for me at the time to guide the cosmetics market in this direction. And this is also reflected in our mission, which we have been pursuing since the foundation right up to the present day: “make everyone feel more beautiful!”
What sets them apart from other makeup brands?
Christina has consciously refrained from in-house manufacturing. Instead, 90% percent of their products are produced in close collaboration with European partners. This allows the brand to react to new developments and trends on the market quickly and to keep costs low. It usually only takes six to twelve months from the idea of a product to achieve market maturity. Trend Editions are exchanged on a monthly basis and half of the standard range is updated twice a year.
The brand are certified cruelty-free by PETA, and by 2021 100% of their ingredients were vegan. In 2021 they produced their first climate neutral product, the Extreme Shine Volume Lipgloss (£1.99). They aim to be micro-plastic particle free by 2023 and to have 50% of packaging made of recycled plastic by 2025. They have partnered with sustainability organisations Plastics for Change and Climate Partner to ensure they achieve these goals.
They have moved with the times, holding their first influencer event in 2009, and cooperating with surfer brand Roxy in 2010 – their first collaboration – and with MTV in 2014 and Snapchat in 2019. They launched a Clean Beauty Skincare range in 2020.
Christina explains: Our concept has a different focus. Instead of classic advertising, we concentrated on developing the best possible products. From the very beginning, it was important to us to be in close contact with consumers and to use “word of mouth” as our marketing tool. Accordingly, we started working with bloggers and influencers early on and quickly established a presence on relevant social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and, since 2019, also on TikTok. These are the exact channels and accounts that have allowed us to reach our target groups and interact with them in the best possible way.
Pink and Proud
In 2019, essence created a new brand identity with #pinkandproud in keeping with the motto “We are proud to perform, but our heart beats pink”. With their main target group being young teenagers, essence is already aimed at beauty beginners but they also want to appeal to the girl in each and every one of us – across all age groups.
It is important to the brand not to set any rules. The effortless and experimental handling of diverse beauty products is an integral part of the brand philosophy. The signature colour pink is not just a colour to essence, it also represents pride, diversity, passion and big dreams.
In the spring of 2021, the brand launched a brand campaign with the claim “BE PROUD. BE POWERFUL. BE PINK,” which stands for individuality and self-acceptance, but also for respect towards others. In order to raise awareness about bullying in particular and to support those affected by it, leading organisations that are active in this area in various countries received support in the form of a donation. The campaign was also accompanied by popular influencers as brand ambassadors and the involvement and professional advice of a psychotherapist on the essence channels.
Christina says: We want to encourage everyone to show and embody their personality in all its colours and facets. Make-up gives people the chance to express and highlight their individuality in a very special way. It is important to us that beauty is not a competition! We don’t want to create any pressure in the form of beauty ideals or impose any boundaries. The focus should always be on having fun and on loving ourselves. With our anniversary campaign, we want to inspire people to be true to themselves, to discover new aspects of their personality and to follow their own paths.
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