The Beauty Press and How to get their Attention.

woman with magaphone v lge 5Ha ha ha if only I knew!

Without having recourse to tens of thousands to either open up a concession in Selfridges or pay a PR company that has all the contacts and personal relationships I would say that getting attention from the press for a  small beauty brand is harder than… getting a place on Branson’s moon rocket, doing a perfect back dive with 2 1/2 somersaults and 1 1/2 twists in a pike position , than getting everything you wanted for Christmas,  than … you get the idea

Here is how it goes….

  • Find out their email address – oh my goodness how hard is this! some of these, guarded fiercely by the receptionists, must harder to get hold of than for members of the government
  • Send them press releases – witty titles in the header or else you are heading straight for the recycle bin before the email is even opened along with the hundreds of others they get every hour.
  • Send them a product – this’ll get them!
  • Send them  more products – oh my god how many products must they all be sitting on? I bet there are boxes in the corners of the office full of products that have been loved and tortured over by people like me!
  • Hound them on twitter – too easy to ignore
  • Dress up like a giraffe ( lion/rhino/Masai warrior) and take up camp outside their offices – a bit desperate? what do you think?
  • Let them come to us,who needs em anyway-  hmmmmm

Well our next venture into PR territory is placing our products with Birch Box in the taxis of the editors et al who are driving from show to show at London Fashion Week.  It will be interesting to see if this works in any way. Its a drip drip drip effect I’ve been told!

Birch Box, Jolie Box, Glossy Box, Beauty Boxes ……

So do we all love stuff coming through our door? Well obviously not the mountain of junk mail that piles up faster than you can throw it away, but you know, lovely, gorgeous thingies that look good, smell nice or just…make us better.

Obviously enough of us do because Beauty Boxes are big business and keep all the addicts out there topped up with new beauty products and  new beauty brands. For a very reasonable £10 per month you can have all manner of products as well as a little mini magazine with lots of useful advice. Genius idea if you ask me.

Birch box

We have decided to go with the very first in the UK . http://birchbox.co.uk/  The market leader in the States they have now come over here and have taken over Jolie Box to put in some serious competition to Glossy Box the main competitor.

It is all very exciting and as a contributor I got my own box come through the door with all the goodies which I am now trying out.  Boris the cat got hold  the Peppermint Tea bag and went so wild over it I started to wonder what else was in there. He started rubbing it all over his face like a mad thing, he just doesn’t seem to know the difference between a tea bag and a face cream… stupid cat.

Boris and T bag 2

Boris and T bag 1

Start-ups? Pop-ups? New Launches? Time to get Serious!

pop up shopWell here we are at the beginning of Wild’s second year and as it is the traditional time of year to take stock I thought I would throw out a couple of general facts and figures that I have recently scared myself with.

Did you know that on the 31st of December 2012, there were 954 start ups registered at Companies House ? This figure goes up to 28,718 for the whole month and to 484,224 for the whole year. This is an increase from the previous year of almost 10%.

This is a quote from Jane Cunningham aka BritishBeautyBlogger and beauty editor for Metro.

“2012 has been the year of being swamped with beauty launches. I have never known a year so saturated with newness. On the one hand, this is great – it certainly keeps me in a job – but on the other, we’re in danger of being deafened by the noise.”

Last year has seen retail sales rising less than inflation and this has meant that even major brands such as HMV, Ebay and Hobbs have taken to opening makeshift  stores under the ‘PopUp Shop’  banner; something that begun when smaller, innovative brands who struggled to get retail space pushed their way into empty retail units.

So what does this all mean….. for Wild…?

It means that 2013 will see some partners come on board to take us into first gear that’s what! No time for wasting time.

Is Frankincense Doomed?

clip_image002

Fairly recently there was a somewhat alarming news story about how the world was running out of Frankincense and I worried I was adding to the problem by using it in my products. Frankincense, as well as smelling wonderful, has amazing cell regenerating qualities which make it the perfect for skin rejuvenation. Thankfully, further investigation put my mind at rest!

Frankincense is of course obtained by cutting the bark of the Boswellia tree and collecting the wonderfully aromatic ‘tears’ of resin that this process creates. As we all know, it has been prized for thousands of years and so, when reports started coming in that there were no new trees growing to replace the older, dying ones, the world started to sit up and take note.

An extensive study began and it soon became clear that actually it was more likely to be burning, grazing or attack by the nasty sounding long-horn beetle that was responsible for the declining number of Boswellia trees.

So even though it is, I guess, ultimately Man’s responsibility as demand for land increases, at least it is not the cosmetics industry that is particularly to blame!

In fact it is more likely that the continuing demand for Frankincense for its smell and therapeutic value might just save it. The high prices that Frankincense can command means there have been calls for land to be set aside just to give the trees a chance to regenerate.

So phew! let us rejoice! All those incense burners and Wild Baobab cream with Frankincense can continue do to do their important work.

High church/rejuvenated skin

Baobab butter single2

Spirit of Christmas aftermath

Well I got through it! 6 days of hard sell aided and abetted by Chris who is founder of  http://www.cardsfromafrica.co.uk/

It certainly helps to do these sort of things with a partner even if it is just to keep yourself sane after you have said the same thing about 500 times. One of our strategies for getting through this was to try giving our pitch in different accents but we didn’t last long . Chris made a lame attempt at Scottish and I started to laugh which was not very helpful so I decided that the ladies of Kensngton would not get the pleasure of my brummie accent, even if it is rather good.

Another suggestion from a friend was to take over the selling at someone else’s stand which in fact I had to do for a while, from the lady selling Alpaca – see photo.

Despite the hard work I did rather enjoy meeting the public and hearing the feedback and I also got some great tips about other fairs from some of the other traders. http://www.marasculpture.com/index.htm and http://www.alisongardiner.co.uk/ were two who were particularly helpful.

So what did I learn – well that there are are a lot of SW ladies that like Kenya, that the little handbag sized body butters and the bags made by the Masai ladies are both winners and that nearly everyone likes a bit of lavender…

That’s enough for now I think.

Wild Christmas Gift Boxes & Gift Bags to get us in “The Spirit”

The last couple of week have all been about getting ready for the massive exhibition at Olympia called ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ when 30,000 determined visitors descend armed with their present list and a gleam in their eye. Very excitingly  ‘House and Garden’, who organise the fair,  featured us in this month’s (Nov) issue as one of their favorite products from the whole show. Yikes!

So I have had to think about  Christmas gift boxes and various other Christmassy things to get the Wild word out as much as possible. In the end we decided on an eco box with a lovely little magnetic strip that makes it snap shut in quite a pleasing snap-snappy sort of way!

            

And because I was running short of the little Africa bags that we use as a gift bag there was  bit more sorting out to be done. This time, thanks to the lovely Lynita from The Wildebeest Camp in Nairobi, we were able to get our bags made by a group of Masai ladies who live in a very remote area of the Mara called the Loita Hills who have recently been trained up on some sewing machines.

This Masai lady is called Noolkitoip and she lives in the Loita Hills

I love this picture they look like they are having such a giggle!

Handbag Sized Creams from Wild!

Well my word it has been a long time since I did this – almost forgotten how to do it.

Summer – that’s the reason.

ANYWAY…. What about these chubby little beauties? I am so excited about them. They are just perfect to fit into your handbag.  Pop one in your purse and never again will you be caught short in a moisturising emergency! Hands, feet, lips and face, the body butters can be used anywhere – this is the joy of natural skincare creams with such pure ingredients.

I may have been silent for a couple of months but I have not been idle – well only for a little, for a couple of weeks – I have been sorting out this new addition to the range and trying to get sorted for the run up to Christmas.

I realised that a smaller size of our creams was a good idea when lots and lots of our customers at the  Allergy and Free From show at Olympia were trying to march off with our testers.

So after much trialling  and searching for the perfect pot and making new labels and making more cream and and … we have these lovely little airless dispensers that keep the cream perfectly fresh and hygienic.

What’s not to love?

Is Africa having ‘a fashion moment’?

We Wild girls are very ‘on trend’ right now and I don’t quite know if its just coincidence or an unconscious absorption of the Zeitgeist  OR WHAT!!

African prints are everywhere, every fashion mag has a feature devoted to ‘Tribal” and my contribution to this bandwagon is ……….

‘Too Timid for Tribal? Don’t wear it,  Smear it’ – what do you think?

Anyway.

We are all ready for African Fashion Week, being held at Spitalfields on the 3rd & 4th August.  Marula samples + Wild Card have been deposited with Ronke, the event organiser, ready for the goody bags of the VIP shows. Very exciting.

As a little taster this last weekend saw the ‘Africa Utopia’ event at the Southbank where a free fashion show was staged. Some truly beautiful clothes taking their inspiration from the fabrics of Africa, just as we have for our product labels. I think this was my favourite, a designer called Hazel Ao

The event was not just about the glittery subjects though; sustainability and leadership were just some of the discussion topics  that were worth catching.

At various times questions was raised on whether the fact that Africa was in fashion at the moment meant that by 2013 people would have moved on to the next ‘new’ artistic influence and how we could convert Facebook likes to real support and purchasing of all brands that take Africa as an inspiration.

Lets hope that something sticks and from the Wild perspective at least I know that good skincare never goes out of fashion.

Onward and Forward ..

Well things are hotting up at Wild HQ even if July isn’t. We are getting ready for our launch on LoveLula, an e-retailer site much beloved by Marie Claire and other fashion mags. Stock has been sent up to their warehouse in Cheshire so everyone needs to get ordering from July 10th. We don’t want to let the side down!

http://www.lovelula.com/

I have been asked to write a short post as an introductory which I will set about doing very shortly, when I’ve finished this and before I tackle the next ‘InWithSkin’ post – I haven’t even started on the webinar I promised… I’ve got to admit that I hadn’t envisaged that launching a brand would mean quite so much writing!

What else?

Ah yes chocolate – how could I forget!

Divine Chocolate have contacted us to see if we want to share some marketing moves – how great is this?

We have had one box of chocolate so far that has been scoffed with relish and we are now going to (reluctantly!) offer up our next batch as prizes, rewards incentives to all our lovely customers. I have a particular liking for milk chocolate so that was the first to go!

Divine Chocolate is a great brand where 45% of the company is owned by the cocoa farmers in Ghana

http://www.divinechocolate.com/about/default.aspx

a truly ethical brand that is also deeelicous!

So for my first joint tag line I give you …  “Wild Taste Buds and Divine Skin”

Its a gift – what can I say?

In Praise of Other Women

I have had a couple of meetings recently that made want to write something of a eulogy to women and their general willingness to help each other in business.

Maybe its because we know how tough it is to be a woman in business and how doubts and blips in confidence can plague us more than they do men but whatever it is I think it is something we should be proud of.

One of my meetings was with  a beauty retail expert who was incredibly generous with her time, particularly as she is a director of a well know upmarket chain. Working in the beauty industry you might assume that she would be one of a breed of highly groomed but brittle super b****es but in fact she was warm, caring, clever and had a wonderful clarity of vision.  The general message was you’re ready to run so now just go for it with some sensible suggestions about strategy.

Another meeting was with someone who is willing to use all her contacts to bring together a bunch of  creative people that can help me maintain the creative marketing momentum in return for just some wine and snacks!

And a few others that I have worked with along the way are helping out in other ways as I carry on in my self imposed mission of raising the profile of beauty ingredients available in Africa – and selling some products of course!

I have had nothing but encouragement and support from every woman I have asked for help, actually some of the men have been OK too!

So Yaay and Hooray for us girlies – wild women all I’m sure.

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