To build a brand identity that flaunts its home country’s culture and to have the versatility to adapt to new, diverse contexts are two important requirements for Brazilian beauty brands willing to make a splash in overseas waters.
Natura, Granado and Surya Brasil seem to have learned the ropes in their European operations. Natura expanded its business to France over a decade ago and the company currently uses the country as home base for an operation extending to neighboring markets such as Portugal, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium and the UK, taking advantage of a single e-commerce platform hosted in France.
Granado also arrived in Europe through France by striking a deal with luxury department store Le Bon Marché. The traditional Brazilian beauty brand has recently sold 35% of its shares to Spanish fashion company Puig and is poised to further expand in Europe and set foot in the US. Surya Brazil also operates in European, Asian and Latin American countries, as well as Saudi Arabia, Canada and the US.
“The Brazilian identity featured in personal care and beauty brands is still one of the main selling points in international markets, particularly Europe,” says Gueisa Silverio, project manager at Beautycare Brasil, a consortium formed by the Brazilian Association of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Industry (ABIHPEC) and the Brazilian Exports and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) to support local cosmetic companies to go global. “Our strength in innovation, technology and sustainability also provides a competitive edge for Brazilian companies in the global market,” says Silverio.
Niche brands such as Feito Brasil, Chamma da Amazônia, Kapeh, Avatim and Ikove gather such requirements, which could potentially lead them to offset the local economy’s downward momentum by expanding to European markets.
Established in 2004 in Madaguaçu, Paraná, Feito Brasil makes the Brazilian ethos its centerpiece not only through raw materials such as papaya, apricot, tangerine, coconut water and coffee, but also through the brand’s packaging and product range, reminiscent of Brazil’s¬ cultural and natural manifestations. Creativity is another one of the brand’s strong points, evident in the Dom Tropical (‘Tropical Gift’) line of popsicle-shaped soaps. Feito Brasil’s products are vegan, organic and handmade in a building made of recycled bricks and demolition timber, fully supplied by rainwater.
Fragrance house Chamma da Amazônia harnesses rainforest biodiversity to create perfumes, diffusers, body washes, lotions and oils. The company uses natural ingredients and reuses waste material from its manufacturing site. The sustainable cycle goes all the way to recyclable packaging and cotton pouches that replace disposable perfume boxes.
Kapeh’s cultural identity starts with its name, which means ‘coffee’ in the Mayan dialect. As the name implies, the company uses coffee extract as the base for its products, which is mixed with ingredients such as strawberry, chocolate, mint and milk. Innovation through research on coffee beans and sustainability are in Kapeh’s blueprint, as well as the rational use of natural resources.
Present in 17 Brazilian states and carrying on 14 years of tradition, Bahia-based Avatim – which means ‘earth scents’ in Brazilian indigenous tupi-guarani language – drew inspiration from the aromas of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest to develop the 380-plus cosmetics in its portfolio. Body care products made from cupuaçu and Brazil nut are among the top-selling products. The indigenous culture is also a source of inspiration for products such as the Amaú eau de cologne, which celebrates the first woman to be represented in Guarani mythology.
Ikove focuses on skin care and hair care made with organic certified, fair trade and cruelty-free raw materials. The company claims that over 95% of the ingredients present in its formulae is sourced from organic harvests, including mandarin, rosemary, açaí, buriti, Brazil nut and copaíba. The brain’s aim is to explore regenerative, antioxidant, antiseptic and moisturizing properties from natural sources.
Out of the 142 countries that purchase Brazilian cosmetics, Argentina remains as the top importer. In 2015, Brazilian exports of beauty products totaled US$ 716 million, according to ABHIPEC data.