An Open Letter to British brownbeauty Brand Owners
I came across this interesting post on Natural Belle written by Belinda Raji, founder of BEUNIQUE Hair Care about the invasion of US hair care brands and lack of support for UK hair care brands and I felt that it deserved a reply. The consensus is that UK hair care brands struggle to find their place on the shelves of UK Women of Colour while the products by home based brands are left gathering dust in the shops. I think the issue is a bit more complex than this. Yes of course the big boys do have deeper pockets for marketing but from my experience US haircare brand tend to have their marketing on point aka they are pra-active and ready to reply when you contact them.
First of all, let me state that I have had the pleasure to work with some really fantastic British brown beauty brands which are run by some fabulous people. Sadly the same cannot be said about some of them.
Since I launched brownbeauty I have seen some shocking practices by British brown beauty brands that just make me shake my head. For example, not having images of the product you are launching, no images of yourself, a decent press release or any press release at all, inaccurate information included in press releases, being asked for my customer data in return for running a giveaway (this is illegal) - the list goes on. Add that to certain brand owners not meeting deadlines when I have tried to feature them on the site or not even having the decency to reply to my email when I have had a question regarding their brand.
I created this website so I could feature brownbeauty brand owners particularly those in the UK but that is clearly an objective that has not been met as well as I liked. Reason being I can only work with what I have. I have deadlines, albeit that mine is a lot more flexible than a print publication such as Pride, Black Hair and Black Beauty and Hair but I work one month in advance - so if it is March then I would have more or less collated all the content for April.
If I am doing a review of your product then I need to send the item out to the relevant writer, allow them a decent amount of time to use the product and then time to write the post. All this needs to be factored in as well as editing and uploading content. Bear in mind that I also have a day job and a life - I don't have time to be waiting around for you to get back to me. I will simply move on to a brand who is going to give me what I need.
This brings me to your initial question - why are British naturalistas drawn to US hair care products? Well that is a very good question and one that I think you should ask yourself. What are you doing to promote your own brand?
In order to raise the profile of your beauty brand you need to create awareness - grow a loyal customer base by taking out various PR and marketing activities. The exact activities you decide to invest in will be determined by the profile of your customers, so you need to do your research. Do you have a media kit ready to send out when you are approached by a media outlet or a blogger? Have you replied to every enquiry that has been sent to you by a magazine or blogger? Are you only going after the large bloggers with a huge readership or are you doing your research and sitting down to look for other bloggers with a smaller following?
As an editor of an online magazine I can tell exactly what I expect from a brand who is launching a new product whether they are L'Oreal or Joe Bloggs round the corner.
1. A press release (one side will do) This press release should contain factual information about your brand and the product you are launching. It should explain Who, what, when, where and why. 2. A selection of high re and low res images of your product(s) 3. A selection of high res and low res images of yourself. 4. Samples. I can't review your product without trying it out so therefore samples are needed. No sample, no review.
On a positive note, the brownbeauty business is booming and I am sure we will soon reach a happy medium where we can work together effectively.