Introducing your beauty brand to international markets is an exciting prospect. However, it requires careful consideration of regulatory compliance, understanding local consumer preferences, putting the right partnerships in place to ensure your beauty business is well-prepared for a new market launch. In this article, we cover how to launch your beauty brand internationally, from laying the groundwork to how to connect with your international audiences.

Market Research for Success

Product-Market Fit:
Achieving product-market fit is crucial, as your offerings must align with regional tastes and beauty standards in your target international markets. By researching local trends and understanding how they compare with those in your home market, you can tailor your product strategy accordingly. This may involve launching your full range overseas, starting with a selection of your best sellers, or making minor modifications to international SKUs to better cater to local preferences. A well-defined customer profile for each market sharpens your marketing and ensures that your brand resonates both culturally and on a personal level.

Be Priced to Win:
Benchmarking your pricing against local competitors will help you understand your market position and desired perception and is a critical part of how to launch your beauty brand internationally. One way to do this is to look for a global brand's product in the same category that's sold almost EVERYWHERE in the world e.g. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair or MAC Viva Glam Lipstick.

To effectively strategize your pricing on a global scale, consider benchmarking against a universally renowned product in your category, such as Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair or MAC's Viva Glam Lipstick. These products are sold worldwide, offering a valuable reference point. Start by noting their price in your local currency. Then, to determine an appropriate price for new markets, observe their pricing in the target currency. This approach allows you to align your pricing competitively and insightfully with established global standards.

Repeat this process for your entire portfolio to figure out a starting point for your pricing in a new market, but also consult a financial consultant to grasp the nuances of import and sales taxes, levies, and currency impact. This information is crucial to forecast your margins, considering additional costs for logistics and retail partnerships.

Getting Import Ready

Building Your Network:
Fostering new relationships and expanding your network are pivotal to success before entering and establishing a presence in international beauty markets. Consider planning short trips to connect with local vendors, attending trade shows, and exploring local retailers firsthand—these experiences are invaluable. Walk the aisles of beauty retailers, and put yourself in local consumers shoes. BeautyMatter compile a list of global beauty trade shows, bookmark this helpful list for future reference.

Know the Regulations & Get the Admin Right:
Ensuring your products comply with international regulations and familiarizing yourself with foreign market requirements should occur before initiating conversations with international trade partners.

It's critical to verify that your cosmetic products and the ingredients used comply with international standards; otherwise, they won't be legal for sale. Thorough research into local regulatory requirements will reveal whether your product and labeling are up to standard or if adjustments are needed before you begin importing into a new country.

Administrative requirements will vary by country, but here are some of the licenses, registrations and tasks that could be on your agenda, depending on where and how you plan to launch you product internationally. There are many variables that drive what might be necessary for you, but here are some things to consider:

  1. Import Licenses: Obtain an import license and register with customs for goods clearance.
  2. Tax IDs: Secure a tax ID for import taxes and customs duties.
  3. Local Agents: Employ a local agent for regulatory and import procedures.
  4. Local Address: Have a local address for official correspondence, possibly via a third party.

Most importantly you'll want to seek legal advice on your brand name, product names or other trademarks to ensure your brand is protected from the challenges of infringement.

Strategic Partnership

Third-Party eCommerce Fulfillment:
When working out how to launch your beauty brand internationally, monitor the questions and comments from your online audience to gauge interest and demand for your products in specific countries. If the financials make sense, fulfilling your international eCommerce orders using a third-party logistics provider can be an excellent way to test market receptivity. As your online presence grows, prioritize scaling your local influencer campaigns and targeted paid media strategies to expand your customer base.

Retail Partnerships
Indie brands often catch the eye of international retail buyers through LinkedIn outreach or direct submissions via retail websites. Clearly communicating your brand's unique selling proposition (USP) is vital to distinguish yourself in the crowded international beauty space and selling in to retailers.

Initially, indie brands might test new markets by selling on a retail partner's eCommerce site, providing a preliminary indication of how the brand will resonate with the customer base and perform online. However, it's important not to rely solely on retailers for marketing; develop a strategy to build and grow a local community to drive retail traffic and sales in this new environment for your beauty business.

Distributor Arrangements:
Working with a distributor who has local knowledge and a robust beauty business network can be highly advantageous for indie brands. Such collaboration simplifies market entry logistics and grants access to consumer insights and established market channels.

Connecting with Local Audiences:
When thinking about how to launch your beauty brand internationally, collaboration with local content creators is key to building a social presence and beauty business in new markets. Ensure your brand positioning, values, and personality are clearly communicated to influencer agencies or user-generated content platforms to avoid mismatches. Creators are crucial for community-building campaigns and for sharing your unique brand story. Working with those who reflect your brand's values will naturally attract like-minded followers.

Developing compelling content campaign narratives is essential; they should be crafted to showcase your brand’s unique identity and ethos on a global stage. By galvanizing a supportive tribe, you'll be better placed to drive traffic to your site or retail locations, laying the groundwork for a successful international presence.

Whether it's through pinpointing your brand's unique selling proposition or creating captivating brand narratives for creator campaigns, at Beautiful Sparks we specialize in developing beauty branding and content strategies that reflect the core values and unique story of your brand. If your currently strategizing how to launch your beauty brand internationally and looking for ways your beauty brand can speak to the hearts of consumers across cultures, you’re welcome to get in touch.


Author: Effie Asafu-Adjaye
Effie Asafu-Adjaye is the Founder of Beautiful Sparks. Beautiful Sparks helps beauty and fashion businesses get more fanatics in love with their brands, by refining their brand strategy, messaging, branding, content storytelling, and community-building strategy. Read more about Effie here. Linkedin | Youtube