Healthy Growth - how estheticians can position, market, and communicate in the expanding green beauty industry

Healthy Growth - how estheticians can position, market, and communicate in the expanding green beauty industry

The green beauty industry has come into its own. That means amazing business opportunities for everyone interested in working in this field. 

Blissoma was founded well before the green beauty trend really took off. Being at the leading edge of consumer education on natural products more than 10 years ago was important work but it was often exhausting trying to sell people something they were not quite mentally and emotionally ready for. We can personally testify to the value of a consumer that is ready to embrace a new idea and make changes.

In 2017 the market is fully prepared and customers are waking up to the value of naturally based products. So are big businesses. This year has seen further acquisitions of independent beauty brands by large corporations, such as Unilever acquiring a minority stake in previously indie brand True Botanicals. The natural foods industry saw similar investment by corporate giants as it came into its own and we can expect to see more of this in green beauty too.

In 2012 the global organic/green beauty market was at $7.6 billion in value. ( source)

By 2025 the global organic/green beauty market size is expected to be valued at $25.1 billion according to a study by Grandview Research. ( source)

Green and natural beauty products are growing at a faster rate than conventional products. One study by Kline & Company found that conventional beauty products will actually decline in sales over the next two years while natural skincare sales will grow.  Skincare products in general will be the fastest growing sector of all types of personal care products, a point particularly good for estheticians to note.

It is tremendously important for your esthetics business to be on the growth side of these consumer trends towards green beauty.

How can you accomplish that?  There are a few things you should know in order to position your business as a leader in green and natural.

green beauty trends for organic skincare professionals and natural skin care lines

Formula Botanica conducted a survey to determine the driving forces behind why people are choosing more natural products, and how they engage in that process.  They found that by far the strongest reason that people are converting to natural products is still that people are worried about the detrimental health effects of chemicals in synthetic products.  71% of their readership responded that this is their most important reason for switching.  56% of respondents said that they love the power of plants. 

It is interesting to note that the higher percentage are switching out of fear still, while less are switching for love.  This may indicate a simple knowledge gap with consumers about the capabilities of plant based ingredients, or it may indicate that they simply need a strong reason to stray from conventional beauty.  Many conventional products still tout botanical extracts as hero ingredients, so the biggest differentiator in the mind of the consumer would be the remaining chemical content of the product.    

The natural beauty industry has often been characterized by fear based marketing, including long lists of "no" chemicals.  This is a direction we at Blissoma have tried not to go with our marketing, instead preferring to speak in positive terms about what is included in our products rather than excluded.

To tap into this issue with customers without ending up on the "no" train you can speak to them about using products with a curated range of ingredients that have been evaluated for safety.  Customers will never be able to keep up with memorizing the ever-expanding list of suspect ingredients, in part because as soon as one health hazard is identified chemical companies come up with a new, untested compound to take its place.  Canada has banned or restricted over 500 chemicals, and Europe has restricted over 1300.  These same compounds are still allowed in products in the USA, meaning there is a staggering list of compounds to try and remember.  That makes focusing on messaging around the proven safety of what a product does contain more useful for customers and for you.

Much of the switch to green beauty comes down to ingredients, which means that it is imperative for you to keep up on your professional knowledge.  According to the Formula Botanica survey 47% of respondents learn about ingredients primarily through blogs.  However these same respondents report that they were made to feel overwhelmed (24%) confused (20%) or afraid (13%) by the information they found.  This means there is an opportunity for clear, educated voices to be providing consistent, accurate, empowering information in the green beauty field.  As a professional you can shine on behalf of your clients by helping them unravel the confusion.  If you have a blog you should be leveraging it to help customers learn about their products and demonstrate your proficiency and expertise.

Natural ingredients expertise - researching natural skincare ingredients to be a green beauty expert

One way that Blissoma can help with this endeavor is with our Ingredients Glossary, a comprehensive document detailing the botanicals and functional ingredients we have chosen to include in our products.  We offer access to this file and other educational documents to our estheticians by request upon purchase so that you can refer to it in learning our line.  We spend a great deal of time researching every ingredient in our products and are also happy to help with any questions that arise for you or your customers.

Craft the right message for green spa clients

There is a shift occurring in purchasing trends and what consumers care about that extends even beyond green beauty, and these principles can help you set a tone that will resonate with your customers.

In a recent Forbes article the president and CEO of QVC identified come of what he felt were primary factors driving shifting consumer purchasing.

Two factors driving changing consumer behavior:

- An erosion of trust in society

- A craving for authenticity

Combined these driving forces confirm exactly what we have been seeing and hearing from clients.  Several our guiding principles as a brand have always been transparency, honesty, and authenticity.  Authenticity has an arresting power in a world filled with manipulation and machinations.  Fake news has had a heyday lately, and even belief that images we see online are real is at an all time low.  93% of adults in a recent poll believed that most images they see online are edited or filtered in some way to favorably depict subjects.  The amount of manipulation we are all enduring is tremendous, but we aren't always sure when it's happening still.  That creates a constant environment of suspicion.  It's your job to break through that.

Bringing authenticity and transparency into communications about esthetics and spa services

Respect the relationship

Cultivating a relationship of trust between client and esthetician is paramount.  Customers know when they are being oversold on products.  Make your recommendations judiciously and allow the customer plenty of space to make up their own mind.

Recently we heard from one of our customers that got a facial while on a cruise, and was pressured heavily to drop her entire Blissoma routine for $600 worth of products carried at that spa.  The facialist told her that what she had been doing was "wrong" and that the only way to fix her routine was the massive purchase.  The client left without making that purchase and found the experience distasteful enough to relay the story.  This is an example of what should not be happening in the treatment room.

Never sacrifice the relationship for a sale.  Customers want empathy and caring, and they want opportunities to arm themselves with knowledge so that they can make intelligent decisions on their own.  Green beauty customers have generally done some level of research into products and ingredients on their own.  Respecting the work they have done and complementing it is the best strategy.

We advise making recommendations rather than mandates.  If a client is unwilling to make a complete overhaul at first visit you can work with them over time to switch out products.  Patience is an investment that can pay off well.  Generally switching out even just 2 products in their routine (often cleanser and moisturizer) is enough to see improvement from their home routine.  That improvement will then reinforce your expert position, and drive them back for more products and advice.

Take your time providing answers

With inquisitive clients questions will inevitably arise for which you do not have answers.  When this happens it is a good practice to reply that you do not have a firm answer and can research it for them.  Customers will respect your integrity and effort to always provide them accurate information.  Do not add to their confusion by giving an under informed answer.  Your position as a trusted expert is enhanced by reliability.  

Never make up an answer on the fly, because it is likely that customer will research on their own later.  Do the research for them and refer them to quality sources for further reading.  They will appreciate your help cutting through the clutter and speeding their access to good information.

Always speak the truth

Even when it means you might not get the sale you should always, always, always tell your customers the truth.  If you respect another product line that you don't carry let the customer know when they ask.  If they don't *need* an extra product in their routine don't push it.  When they ask about when they'll see results don't fib.

The customer needs to be able to count on your word.  Luckily you are in complete control of this.  It's not always easy to be unflinchingly truthful, but the long term payout is a healthy relationship with the customer.  That is more valuable than any single sale.

Ideas for marketing a natural and holistic esthetics practice

Green spa services and organic professional skin care marketing and communications tips for holistic estheticians and natural spa professionals

Here are some ideas that can help you establish yourself as a leader in your local community.

1. Create a list of blogs and knowledge sources that you trust and share it with clients via email as a followup to their treatment.

Since blogs are the top source for most customers to conduct reading and research you can establish your expert status by quickly referring them to a curated list of information sources.  This is a great way to network with bloggers as well, and potentially spur a feature.  Let the blogger know that you are excited to share their site with your clients.  They may be willing to partner with you to do an article on an industry trend or to feature your practice as a thank you for sending them readers.

2. Make sure your commitment to green beauty is front and center on your website and promotional materials.

While some esthetics practices are able to go 100% green and holistic that is not true for everyone.  Some practitioners may not be able to switch their entire treatment menu, or may not want to.  Nevertheless green focused clients will need to be able to see quickly and easily that you have a strong commitment to green products and methods.  The fact that you offer green and holistic facials should be easy to see on your landing page, and should ideally receive a separate section in  your website to separate those treatment options from more conventional treatments.

Define what natural means to your practice so that clients can easily read your standards.  Convey what may be excluded (according to what standards with which you align) and what is included as well.  Describe for them that the experience and methods may differ slightly, and why that is good for them.  Do not exaggerate your standards.  If you are a "light green" practice make sure to communicate that fact.  If you are a "dark green" practice then make that clear.  

3. Let customers know you are doing the heavy lifting for them.

Your customers need to know that you are staying on top of ingredient research and safety concerns as well as skin treatment methods.  Make sure to let them know that you are an advocate for their safety and wellness.  Your professional status and education gives extra clout to your understanding of ingredients and safety.  Given how overwhelming ingredients research can be your customers will love relying on you as a source of information once you establish trust.  

Keep the lines of communication open and be willing to field reasonable questions during times other than the facial.  Use customer questions as fodder for emails and blog posts so you can be more efficient about providing answers.  This is a strategy that has worked very well for us over the years.

4. Your personal connection is your strength.

While big stores like Nordstrom and Sephora are currently adding green beauty lines to their lineup they lack the personal relationship with the client.  Stores are staffed with rotating part-timers and brand reps who lack the authenticity, trust, and true authority you can cultivate.  All it takes is one casual oversell or inappropriate product recommendation for customers to leave those environments feeling burned and skeptical.

This is where you can shine.  You are not just a facialist, you are a friendly guide through the confusion.  Your empathy and concern are priceless in establishing a healing connection with the client.  Make sure you truly listen to the concerns of your client and do not minimize them.  If they are worried about a particular ingredient take it seriously and show them you care.  

To create empathetic connection with your clients give them ample time to speak during intake.  Then confirm you have truly heard them by repeating back their primary concerns.  Simply reflecting what has been heard lets the client know understanding has occurred.

You might say "What I am hearing you say is that you would like to address X during your treatment here, and that you have a sensitivity to Y.  Do I have that right?"

Reflecting is one simple technique that deepens a client's feeling of safety in your hands.  Feel free to use this active listening technique in everyday life as well!  It works beautifully with friends and family too.

We hope that you will benefit from these tips plucked from more than a decade serving natural consumers.  Our experience is that the natural customer is discerning, intelligent, motivated, and often very loyal.  Centering a portion of your practice and communications around their needs is worthwhile to your esthetics business.

To open a professional account with Blissoma's organic and natural skincare line please visit our Wholesale page for instructions on submitting your business information.  We are excited to enjoy the growth in green beauty along with you!