I have worked in the cosmetics industry for a good part of my life. Yet, I have never enjoyed going shopping for makeup. I always ended up going home with something I did not want. Yes, even as a makeup artist! I found big cosmetic stores and their displays to be overwhelming, cold, and completely artificially-lit, which to me is like makeup ‘gambling’. Sometimes after just ten minutes I would feel exhausted and totally confused (likely from all the chemical perfumes being sprayed at me). In my head I was always trying to imagine how different that color might look if I could see it in natural lighting. Someone coming to help me just made it more painful of an experience. It was like the blind leading the blind.
I saw the future of makeup shopping shifting…
Some people like to be assisted as much as possible when shopping for makeup. However, as an introvert, I like investigating new things by myself. I revel in it. I become creatively jarred if I feel like I am ‘being sold to’ without my needs being understood. It interrupts the experience for me. Maybe it was all that quiet solace growing up on a farm. When I find myself immersed in consumerism it can instantly drain me like a battery. It makes me want to be back to the cozy log house I grew up in in the woods – or doing endless back flips off my neighbors’ dock into my favorite little mountain lake to clear my head. That little bit of meditation brings me back to my point of writing this. I saw the future of makeup shopping shifting a decade ago when I started my line. I told myself that if I could somehow take the guess work out of picking out shades, it seemed that online makeup shopping would be a more calming, less intimidating experience to someone like me. I liked the thought of it and wanted to be part of it. Also, being from such a rural area, I did not have a lot of choices growing up when it came to natural makeup lines. I still do not see too many ‘truly’ natural lines at the local drug store or supermarket. I wonder sometimes if my skin would have been better in high school had I been able to shop online for toxin-free makeup and skincare.
Some could say shopping online is a scary experience because it is all up to the buyer. Not anymore though. Companies are constantly improving on ‘the experience’. There is a mens’ clothing company, ‘Jackthreads‘, which has online agents ready to give the perspective and input a male shopper would get from their girlfriend or the patrons at the store. They can also see what their peers are buying or even just ‘wanting’. I, along with many others, like to take the time to read online about real people giving real reviews. Or better yet, the background on the person who started the company. I love a good story. It may not even end up being a product I like any more than what I used in the past. But if I have a clear vision of what the company stands for and what they have been through to get where they are, I want to support them.
Four Canadian Trends
Canadians consumers are increasingly looking for healthy and locally-made products, according to a new study from the Business Development Bank of Canada that identifies four trends shaping consumer behavior. The BDC study released also looks at the increasing importance of the internet in decision-making, with half of consumers conducting an online search before buying. “It’s a look at how consumers perceive value now and it’s important for small and medium-sized enterprises to be aware of these trends to stand out in a crowded marketplace,” said Pierre Cléroux, chief economist for the BDC.
The four consumer trends identified by the BDC are:
- The buy-local movement: Consumers are shopping close to home, looking for locally made goods and aware that buying Canadian-made may be a better ethical and environmental choice.
- Rising health awareness: The aging population is becoming more aware of healthy choices in food, cosmetics and ergonomically designed products. Half of Canadians consider the health impact of a product when making purchasing decisions and one-third are willing to pay a premium for healthy products.
- The desire for customized goods: Consumers are looking to get exactly what they want and new technology makes it possible for them to buy it.
- The impact of the internet: An increasing amount of research about products is done online, even when consumers don’t buy online. At the same time, online shopping is growing and online reviews are critical.
It’s interesting to hear some of my friends and family say how they could never purchase makeup online. It is pretty much the same feeling I have when I hear someone say they ‘can’t’ give up meat or cheese. I understand how they feel but sometimes I want to beg them to try it. Online shopping can be a warm, personable experience, fun even. When someone who emails me is not sure where to start with buying my products I explain what happens during a makeup consultation online. At that point they start to realize they are getting customized service they may not receive elsewhere. If they do not have time to do an email or Skype consultation they can do the iCUSTOM BLENDS on their own and they will still be able to get a customized shade match and my personal list of hand-picked colors. I also offer hundreds of samples for anyone who curiously wants to try something out without the investment of a full product. I know that once a product is applied it speaks for itself. And, as my clients know, I love including free samples in my clients’ parcel as a little ‘surprise’.
We are all the same but all very unique. People who find themselves on my website have different personalities, different lifestyles, and different levels of knowledge about makeup, as well as being in different time zones. The best thing for me personally is to have options, so that is what I wanted to offer my clients online – like those ‘Choose Your Own Ending’ books! I want to meet people at their level and give them the most enjoyable, creative experience. We all want to pick something up, feel the texture, smell it. It is instant gratification. However, there can be a different type of gratification. When you have really done your homework on the ingredients it means you know exactly what you are getting, where it comes from, all the benefits etc. Then you wait…and it is like Christmas when you find the parcel on your doorstep a few days later. One thing that we can look forward to in the near future, thanks to Amazon, is same-day and even same-hour deliveries, which will be brought to us by a drone (so very Jetsons!). When you have put some time and thought into a purchase it is called being a conscious consumer. If you are confident you are getting something that is organic, the best quality and healthy for the environment, it is the opposite of buyer’s remorse. It puts the consumer back in the driver’s seat and allows each of us to vote for and demand greener, cleaner products. Here’s to being conscious online consumers and having fun at the same time.