Zuneta is a new beauty company specialising in beauty solutions for every age, skin type and skin tone. I interviewed Zu Rafalat the Managing Director of the company as part of my ongoing investigation into how the fashion industry was affected by the recession.
How and why did you start-up the company, and what sort of work do you do?
The company is a year and a half old, we are a beauty company, helping to educate women on what products they should be using to suit their age, skin type and skin tone.
Have you experienced a growth, plateau or decline in any of your services, or in the number of customers before, during and after the recession?
As we are a new company it has been all growth for us. Undoubtedly opening a business in a recession is a challenge, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to try new things and seek opportunities that would have been harder at another time.
Our customers have a healthy order value on our site and that didn’t wane over the year, however we don’t have pre-recession figures to compare with.
How do you think the beauty industry compares with the fashion industry within the recession? and why do you think some people would have continued spending when they should have cut back?
It is definitely true that the cosmetics market experiences an uplift in a recession. Make-Up is the area that does particularly well as it is an affordable treat that makes you feel better about yourself. You can pick up a Chanel lipstick which will cost £20 instead of a Chanel dress for £2,000. The growth of cosmetics in a recession is often called ‘The Lipstick Effect’. This recession was slightly unusual, however, in that a lot of cosmetics companies suffered for the first time. This is probably due to the amazing wealth of choice and the competition is fierce to keep innovating and doing new and exciting things. The L’Oreal group had a tough year in 2009 on some of its more established brands like Lancome. Success during a recession is possible for those that are prepared to take some risks and identify opportunities.
What have been your most popular services or purchases during this time?
Make-up has been hugely popular for us during the recession. Impulse buys, new products, colour animations.
The 90’s is going to be huge this year. 90’s fashion, 90’s make-up, 90’s music. At the moment we are seeing purples and lilacs on the eyes and there is still a lot of people adopting pink candy lips. This autumn we are going to be heading back to berry Lips, big hair and wild eyebrows.
Has the recession had anything to do with these trends, such as simpler makeup trends invented to accommodate people who want to look good but may not have the money to buy?
Every recession sees the return of beige. This was huge last Spring – which I call the Utilitarian look. Fashion usually moves back towards colour as we move out of a recession, which is what is being reflected now.
What are your best sellers at the moment?
Our best-selling brand is Rouge Bunny Rouge. We also sell a lot of detoxifying items at this time of year.
It’s hard to tell as we have only been in existence for a year and a half but I would say we have just had to work a lot harder to maintain the growth targets we set ourselves.
Why do you think some people continued spending if others were living on a budget, and what sort of people do you think continued spending?
People are still spending money, they just aren’t making frivolous purchases. They are investing in quality and only buying key basics as opposed to whatever takes their fancy. I don’t think it’s necessarily a different type of person that is spending during a recession, instead I think it’s just more people making more considered purchases.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to look good on a budget?
Understand what looks good on you. Buy fewer quality products that you know you’ll wear, rather than splashing out on lots of cheap, bad quality brands that you’ll only wear once or twice. If you are using a product on your face, you want to make sure it has quality ingredients that aren’t going to irritate your skin. A few of our best-selling make-up brands actually have skin care properties in them, so they improve the condition of your skin/lips/lashes as opposed to just covering them. A good mascara, bronzer and tinted moisturiser should be your staples.
Visit http://www.zuneta.com/ for more information on selected lines.