Finding your niche in natural

Kristin Fraser Cotte, The Grapeseed Company, 10 September 2012 14:47

Finding your niche in natural

Across the globe, we’ve seen growth in the natural cosmetics market, even through challenging economic times and projected growth in the sector continues to look fruitful. Last year, there was an overall growth of 5% worldwide in the personal care industry, with natural products being a large contributor.  It was a specific trend evident in the Euromonitor research presented in the panel I sat on at this year’s in-cosmetics exhibition. One main concern that arose from the panel and audience was around the costs involved with branding and launching new products.

Niche natural brands tend to focus on solutions or specific ingredients to hit their target market. Niche brands can readily set up for success by reaching their target markets efficiently and effectively through social media, both in terms of cost and time to build brand awareness.

When I started The Grapeseed Company, a niche natural brand produced in Santa Barbara, California based on the byproduct of wine, I was already surrounded by my target audience. They were seeking natural personal care they could identify with, based on the principles of locally grown, effective ingredients. This is a wine loving community and industry, so the connection of using the winemakers waste as the base of the line and giving the grape seeds a second life by recycling them into skin care products strengthened and widened our customer base. Your target audience will start advertising for you when you have a mission or story they identify with and believe in. It doesn’t always take a ridiculous budget and huge advertising campaigns to create brand awareness, which is the beautiful thing about niche natural brands. You can create your own buzz quite effectively in today’s social media packed world with a little time, diligence and dedication. The Grapeseed Company started as an online store with no advertising budget, but we did have a twitter account. Along with the natural skin care industry, the wine industry began to take note of what we were doing, as well as the recycling, eco-savvy crowd. There is great power in a retweet if you connect with the right people that are respected and have a following in these identified industries. 1 year and 9 months after opening our flagship store in 2010, we opened our second brick and mortar location in Southern California this summer. I attribute this to the power of niche branding, word of mouth and social media in a time when brick and mortar stores are shutting down. If respected people are talking about you to their circles, you have created your own niche marketing nirvana at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods; it’s possible to do in the niche natural market.

Looking for your niche in natural? Start with three basic questions:
Who’s your audience?
What’s your angle or niche?
How can you leverage social media outlets to reach that audience?

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