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Benecos: trendy decorative cosmetics for the specialist trade

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

At the beginning of 2013 the German brand Benecos will have been on the market for three years. In this short time Silke and Stephan Becker have succeeded in placing their decorative cosmetics in the specialist wholesale trade and the retail trade across the whole country. Their concept – offering high-value products with a modern look at entry price level for the wholefood trade – is a popular move. Not only the German market is flourishing, Benecos cosmetics are exported to many countries in Europe and have also managed to penetrate the US market. The young company Cosmondial has now extended its product range to face care and toiletries with the intention, as an entry price brand, of creating an alternative for the specialist trade to the offer of the drugstores. (Picture: Silke and Stephan Becker have ambitious aims)
For quite a while, they carried around in their heads the idea of founding their own natural cosmetics firm. For Silke Becker, who comes from a Reformhaus family, natural cosmetics were in no way alien territory, but when she took maternity leave she went into the subject in greater depth. Stephan Becker, who at that time was still working at management level in a conventional cosmetics firm, reminisces: “For a long time we had been leading an eco lifestyle, and this did not chime with my work. When we knew a baby was on the way we thought more seriously about setting up our own business and about natural cosmetics.” Since there was already fierce competition in the market for care cosmetics, they decided to start with decorative cosmetics. They saw a gap in the market at the entry price level in particular. (Picture: Benecos nail lacquer is available in 16 trend colours – they were a part of the product range from the outset)
In 2008 Silke and Stephan Becker founded the firm Cosmondial. In their office near where they live in the vicinity of Aschaffenburg all he strands come together. However, they haven’t got their own development department or production facility and they look for suitable partners to task with these activities. “Before we entered the market for the first time with our products, we analysed it very carefully. Together with out partners, we refined the formulations and the image presented by the brand,” Becker explains. At the end of 2009, when the first products were ready for the market, the decision was taken to concentrate on the wholefood trade as distribution channel. The young brand was introduced to the wider public on the Biogarten stand at Vivaness in 2010. And it was successful – many people took note of the new brand, and a number of German wholesalers listed the products. (Picture: The display Urban Nature was presented at Vivaness 2012)
“We want to create high-quality but nevertheless reasonably priced alternatives to the brands of the drugstore and mass market and to advertise the advantages of natural cosmetics,” says Becker. Cosmondial set itself the objective of gaining new and much younger consumer than before for natural cosmetics. With the current market share of genuine natural cosmetics at 6.5 %, the Beckers can see that there is still a lot of potential. “Our vision is to become the driving force with our products in this segment and to generate more buyers of natural cosmetics in the specialised trade,” he explains. In his opinion, the discussions that have been going on for years about the different certification labels, with sometimes only slight differences between them, are just as inappropriate as the new BNN product range guidelines, according to which non-certifiable nail lacquers in BNN member stores are to be delisted from 2014. “The specialised trade and the natural cosmetics sector are needlessly squandering considerable sales potential and also the opportunity to get across to consumers the benefits of natural cosmetics and to win over new customers.” Becker argues in favour of the whole industry pulling in one direction and not leaving the growing market to the conventional competition. “All we’re achieving with the plethora of labels is confusion instead of more transparency for customers.” (Picture: Benecos display in a SuperBioMarkt in Wuppertal)
From the outset the Beckers opted for the BDIH label for controlled natural cosmetics and their experience with it, including in the international context, has been positive. Their product range now comprises, including the new Natural Care range, more than 90 articles and they are all (with the exception of the nail lacquers) BDIH-certified. The big stand display for their decorative cosmetics – called Beauty Shop – is filled with make-up, powder, rouge, eyeshadow, kajal, mascara, lipliner, lipstick and gloss. Many products are vegan. Even the top quality cosmetic brushes made with synthetic Toray fibres are suitable for allergy sufferers sensitive to animal hair and for vegans.

“We think it’s important to offer cosmetics that are as uncomplicated as possible and that meet the demands of today’s consumers. Simple application, high functionality, youthful charisma are our mission", says Becker. He adds that trend products like nail lacquers belong in any range of modern decorative cosmetics and he says that theirs are as environmentally friendly and as kind to the skin as possible and don’t contain toluol, campher, colophonium, phthalate or formaldehyde. In collaboration with a partner, Benecos is trying to develop formulations that are certifiable in compliance with the BDIH standards. This is a complicated undertaking and there are currently no results to report. (Picture: Beauty Shop display)
"The products should be fun and as universal as possible.” This philosophy applies to the new face care and toiletries range Benecos Natural Care. As in the case of the decorative cosmetics products, here too in the care range their aspiration was to create top quality, trendy products. The high value is underlined on the front of the packaging by the prominent Benecos Bio-Mix, a combination of seven organic herbal extracts that runs as a leitmotif through all the products.

With their floral, fanciful design in strong colours, the tubes stand out immediately and are in keeping with the current trend. The snappy “enjoy your shower” or “for lucky days” and the product descriptions in English create an aura of young and cosmopolitan. How did this care line come about? “As our brand became better known, we got more and more enquiries about whether we were going to extend our range to take in care products as well,” Silke Becker explains. So in the course of 2012 we’ve developed the care starter set consisting of shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, and face and hand cream. This range will be in the shops in November 2012. With an eye to the future, the Beckers say that if these products succeed in getting onto the shelves of the specialised trade, they will be supplemented with a variety of fragrances and gradually with special products. (Picture: The new displays with Benecos Natural Care)
The packaging of the Benecos brand is eyecatching but at the same time one of the secrets of the firm’s price policy. “Positioning ourselves in the entry price segment is underpinned by doing away with expensive packaging and costly advertising campaigns. We concentrate on the essentials,” maintains Stephan Becker. Standardised packaging means a lot of material can be saved. “We focus on high-grade contents in simple packaging, and this enables us to offer our products to customers at much lower prices.” This is how they articulate their strategy of appealing to new target groups: “The products have to function in exactly the same way that consumers are used to in the case of conventional cosmetics, they must be stylish and available at a comparable price level.” The Beckers prefer simple methods in their marketing and in their communication with customers. They travel around so that they can have discussions with their customers in the wholesale and retail trades, and for their end customers they produce a regular brochure with tips on make-up and information about their brand products. (Picture: The dossier: customer brochure with tips on make-up)
Since its launch, Cosmondial has enjoyed high double-digit growth rates. Exports have developed just as dynamically as domestic sales. As early as May 2010, a partner started marketing the brand in France, and within just under three years Benecos has succeeded in being represented in about 3,000 stores in over 25 countries. In France alone, the company’s major export country, there are between 600 and 800 shops selling Benecos. Since March 2012, a distribution partner has represented the brand in the USA. Stephan und Silke Becker have a further list of promising countries in Europe: “We’ve already got a good reputation in Scandinavia. We get lots of enquiries from Italy and we’re looking for a partner there too. There’s very good demand in some eastern European countries as well. We’ve completed a cooperation contract with the wholesaler Biopartner in Switzerland and we’re looking forward to working together. In 2012, Spain and Portugal have also been added to the list.” (Picture: Poster advertising in English for the export markets





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