Is switching to a lesser-known skincare brand the right move for your business?

If you’re looking for something that’s different from what your competitors offer and adds something exotic, then a less familiar brand can be a good idea, says Dr Stephan Helary. 

It depends on your target market; you need to understand your business and know your market before you make such a decision. Are you targeting the local market in your area? Are you a day, hotel or destination spa? Are you a holiday resort or a business hotel? Is your clientele the type that looks for niche brands with a unique and authentic story or for specific qualities such as organic, sustainable or eco-friendly? Or are they just focused on the end result, regardless of the brand and its values?

If you’re looking for something that’s different from what your competitors offer, that gives a sense of place or adds something exotic to your spa, while also meeting the needs of your customers and complementing your existing offering, then a less familiar brand can be a good idea. Other benefits can include innovation, originality, a more personalised service and a bespoke offering.

However, before you switch you need to be sure of the quality of the products and the strength of the claims made on their behalf, and of the kind of support and service the brand offers when it comes to training and marketing.

Make sure treatments provide a high-quality experience and are effective and original, but not too complicated, making them easy for therapists to execute. If they offer something different, that can be an added benefit. Switching to a less established brand could affect product sales so make sure you are getting proper product training and marketing and promotional support, to introduce the new brand to your clients.

If you have a strong, local return clientele then the product quality should speak for itself and even if you experience a small decrease in sales at the beginning, you should see consistent growth later on, as clients come back to purchase more. The main challenge is to educate therapists and team members on the products and make them comfortable enough with, and knowledgeable enough about, the brand to sell it well.

Dr Stephan Helary is chief executive and founder of South African skincare brand Terres D’Afrique and has a doctorate in veterinary medicine and a PhD in nutritional ecology. He established Terres D’Afrique, which draws on botanicals sourced in Africa for its natural range of products and is founded on ethical and sustainable principles, in 2012.