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Beautycounter's activist brand

News, 25 May 2016

NEW YORK: Beautycounter, a company focused on making skin care and cosmetic products with impeccable safety credentials, is successfully showing how brands can also serve as advocates for important issues.

Gregg Renfrew, Founder/CEO of Beautycounter, discussed this topic at BRITE '16, a conference held by the Columbia Business School's Center on Global Brand Leadership.

More specifically, she referenced how the firm's emphasis on manufacturing safer make-up, skin care, bath and body goods has relied in no small part on voluntarily "banning" 1,500 ingredients that could potentially be harmful.

Alongside this slate of offerings, Beautycounter plays a very proactive role in pushing back against the lack of regulation covering the cosmetics industry in America compared with markets like the European Union.

"One of the things that we've been very focused on as we build out our business is advocacy," Renfrew said. (For more, including further strategic insights, read Warc's exclusive report: Beautycounter builds its brand on advocacy.)

"We are a company that is both pro-commerce and pro-regulation. We believe that regulation does not squash innovation. In fact, for us, we've proven that has created innovation. And we are advocating tirelessly in Washington."

"For us, our work in Washington is as important as creating the products that we put on our bodies everyday. We want them to have a lipstick that they love; we also want Congress to take action."

As well as trying to influence politicians, the brand seeks to educate consumers about broader safety concerns in the industry, with its sales reps and digital content fulfilling a key role here.

"We call ourselves an 'education-first/product-second brand'," Renfrew said. "So we aim to lead this movement to better beauty through education.

"One of the things that we've been really, really focused on is staying consistent and focusing on the few things that we know we can do well, which are creating great products and educating as many people as possible."

This "education" program, for example, includes providing a "never" list of ingredients to avoid at all costs and revealing all essential product information.

"We talk about 'radical transparency' in our ingredient process and our screening of ingredients. And we tell you everything that goes into our products, but we're also talking to you about why we're doing this. We're actually walking the walk," said Renfrew.

Data sourced from Warc