What Beauty Brands Need to Know Before Entering the U.S. Consumer Market
Mitch Gould and NPI Understands the Need of Beauty Brands that Want to Succeed in the U.S.
International beauty brands strive to find success in the U.S. market.
But success often depends on the infrastructure the international beauty companies have in place in the United States when they start promoting the new products to American consumers.
Often, they can go it alone and hire an entire American staff of salespeople, marketing professionals, and operations personnel.
“I’ve seen international companies try to enter the U.S. market on their own,” said Mitch Gould, CEO and founder of Nutritional Products International. “They begin with a small profit margin. By the time they have hired a sales staff, created an in-house marketing agency, and employed operations and support employees, there is no profit margin left to pay the bills.”
That is why Gould, a 30-year retail professional, developed a system the provides international beauty companies with everything they need to know and everything they need to succeed.
The U.S. cosmetics industry, according to Statista.com, totaled almost $50 billion in 2019, while Forbes puts the global beauty industry at $532 billion.
“Beauty companies pass the first hurdle because the U.S. cosmetics industry is thriving,” Gould said. “American consumers are spending a higher percentage of their disposable income on cosmetics, which includes skincare, the largest global segment.”
Gould said international beauty brands see the American market as the industry’s holy grail.
“To succeed in the U.S. is the gold medal,” Gould said, adding that the younger generation, such as the Gen Z-ers, is making organic and natural skincare products one of the fastest-growing segments in beauty care. “Eighty percent of Gen Z-ers are buying organic and natural skincare products.”
Gould said it is understandable that international beauty brands want to sell their products in the U.S.
“I developed the ‘Evolution of Distribution’ platform to help beauty brands succeed in the U.S.,” Gould said. “Instead of starting from scratch, Nutritional Products International provides all the necessary infrastructure that these companies need.”
The FDA and its overseas counterparts often have different rules and regulations regarding cosmetics.
“NPI has an FDA expert who makes sure that labels for international brands meet U.S. standards,” Gould said. “We streamline the process because we have an experienced staff that understands the FDA process.”
Another obstacle that could cause international brands major headaches is U.S. Customs.
“Our operations director understands U.S. Customs regulations,” Gould said. “The last thing a company wants is their inventory held up for weeks, if not months, at our borders.
“We have decades of experience of working with U.S. Customs,” Gould said. “Although companies can choose their shipping service, we strongly recommend they allow our shipping providers to pick up the products at their location and bring them directly to our warehouse in South Florida.
“We provide door-to-door service,” Gould said. “We have the experience and expertise to make sure your products arrive safely to America.”
If the international beauty brands do not understand the U.S. consumer and the American retail landscape, Gould said, they will be running faster and faster on a treadmill going nowhere once their products are in America.
“Most of these foreign companies don’t have contacts with buyers from large and small retail chains,” Gould said. “If they try to do it themselves, they have to hire a sales staff and a support team to reach out to the thousands of retailers across the United States.
“You can’t just cold-call these buyers or send emails and expect them to respond,” Gould said. “We have decades of experience of working with American retailers. We also are long-time veterans of ECRM buyer-seller programs.”
ECRM is the retail industry’s version of speed dating, which brings buyers and new brands and products together for private one-on-one meetings. ECRM hosts these virtual events by using an innovative digital platform for face-to-face meetings between buyers and sellers. Buyers attending October’s ECRM event will represent regional and national food, drug and mass health chains.
“It is expensive to attend ECRM, especially for smaller companies,” Gould said. “My president, Jeff Fernandez, has been attending ECRM events for more than a decade. He has built up personal relationships with buyers from all the different retailers that attend these shows.”
Gould said ECRM allows NPI to promote its clients' brands to more than 50 retailers in less than a week.
“We show them our clients’ products,” Gould said. “We have private, one-on-one meetings with the buyers, which allows us to highlight the benefits of the brands that we represent. It is a very efficient process.
Heading up NPI’s ECRM program is Jeff Fernandez, who understands retail brands better than most professionals in the industry,” Gould said. “Before Jeff started representing brands for NPI, he was a buyer for Amazon and Walmart, the two largest online and brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States, respectively.”
Gould said Jeff has worked both sides of the equation.
“I know what buyers are looking for,” Fernandez said. “When I introduce retailers to our clients’ brands, my previous experience as a buyer helps me. I speak their language.”
Fernandez has long worked with buyers from major retail chains, such as Associated Food Stores, American Pharmacy Cooperative, Burlington Stores, Cardinal Health, Food Lion, Fruth Pharmacy, H-E-B, Harris Teeter, Kinney Drugs, Kroger Digital, Lewis Drug, Meijer, Nutrition Smart, Rexall Pharmacy Group, Rite Aid, CVS Health, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens, and Wegmans.
“Experience makes a big difference,” Gould added.
The final obstacle that international beauty brands confront is the lack of brand awareness.
“Hiring a Madison Avenue marketing agency could cost six-figures, maybe even seven-figures,” Gould said.
To meet the brand awareness challenge, Gould founded InHealth Media, an in-house marketing agency specializing in promoting health, wellness, and beauty brands.
“We have created a multi-prong approach to build brand awareness for our clients’ brands,” Gould said.
InHealth Media creates targeted press releases that are distributed to hundreds of publications.
“Our IHM team develops a marketing plan for the brands that include public relations, email blasts, earned media, social media influencer campaigns, and social media advertising programs,” Gould said. “We market our brands at a fraction of the big, New York City agencies would charge, and we do a great job.”
Gould said he founded InHealth Media to meet the specific needs of health, wellness and beauty brands.
“Promoting these brands is different from marketing a car or a refrigerator,” Gould said. “I want an-house specialist to introduce these brands to the American consumers. The IHM teams works solely for health, wellness and beauty brands. My staff understands the market dynamics for these industries as well as how to reach the consumers for these brands.”
International beauty brands face a daunting challenge and must deal with many facets when they attempt to enter the American market for the first time.
“They have to deal with FDA and Customs regulations, logistics, sales, and promoting,” Gould said. “Without an understanding of the American consumer market, companies that take on all these challenges are doomed to failure.
“With NPI, we have the experience and knowledge to guide our clients to success,” he added. “The ‘Evolution of Distribution’ platform that I developed provides solutions to all these obstacles under the NPI umbrella.”
Gould said NPI essentially becomes the American headquarters for its clients.
“Instead of renting office space and a warehouse, instead of hiring a sales, marketing, and support staff, and instead of doing all this long-distance, you can make NPI your partner for success. We have been working with beauty brands for decades. Our success translates to their success. We are in it together.”
MORE ON NPI AND ITS FOUNDER
NPI is a privately-held company specializing in the retail distribution of nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, functional beverages, and skin-care products. NPI offers a unique, proven approach for product manufacturers worldwide seeking to launch or expand their products' distribution in the U.S. retail market.
Mitch Gould, the founder of NPI, is a third-generation retail distribution and manufacturing professional. Gould developed the "Evolution of Distribution" platform, which provides domestic and international product manufacturers with the sales, marketing, and product distribution expertise required to succeed in the world's largest market -- the United States. Gould, known as a global marketing guru, also has represented icons from the sports and entertainment worlds such as Steven Seagal, Hulk Hogan, Ronnie Coleman, Roberto Clemente Jr., Chuck Liddell, and Wayne Gretzky.