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Companies & industry

Ikesaki’s history follows the growth of the Brazilian beauty market

With the opening of two hyperstores in 2015 and investments in online sales, the Ikesaki Group celebrates 50 years of business and consolidates its dominance as a multi-channel retail operation.

With an annual turnover of around US$45 billion, the Brazilian beauty market is an attractive proposition for investors of all sizes. Now think of the same scenario five decades ago. The 1960s were marked by the explosion of the concept of youth and rise of feminine vanity. Generous doses of hairsprays, vibrant colors, false eyelashes and eyeliners indicated that a new model of beauty had arrived.

Hirofumi Ikesaki at the launch of his book

Hirofumi Ikesaki at the launch of his book

The green light was given to the uninhibited growth of cosmetics consumption in Brazil and Hirofumi Ikesaki, the founder and president of the Ikesaki Group, knew how to take advantage of this opportunity as few others did. From the opening of the first cosmetics hypermarket in Sao Paulo to the creation of a real empire of professional beauty, Ikesaki became a benchmark in multi-brand retail, technical training and solutions for hair salons and spas.

Since 2007, the Group has opened six new stores in Sao Paulo and launched its online business platform, which has an exclusive area for beauty professionals, as have the physical stores. Another two hyperstores are set to open this year. In an interview with Brazil Beauty News, Ikesaki´s managing director, Elcio Arfelli, speaks about the challenges and opportunities facing the multi-channel operation and explains how it all began. Hirofumi’s success story is the subject of the book ‘Ikesaki’, which was launched to commemorate the Group’s 50 years of existence.

Brazil Beauty News – How did the idea of investing in the Brazilian beauty segment come about?

Elcio Arfelli – The idea arose when Hirofumi Ikesaki, who was selling chemical products to dry cleaning companies in Sao Paulo at the time, noticed that the daughters and wives of the business owners were setting up their own beauty parlors. While continuing with his original activity, Ikesaki also started to sell cosmetics to the improvised salons that emerged. These sales became big business and led to the opening of a modern store in the heart of the Liberdade district. That was where the first cosmetics supermarket in Brazil was born, and it would transform the industry completely. The products were displayed on the shelves and customers served themselves in a way that was unprecedented. It did not take long before the store became a meeting place for hairdressers from all over the city. Innovation and vision have always been the main elements of Ikesaki’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Brazil Beauty News – What were the Group’s main challenges to win over the professional segment as well as the end consumer?

Elcio Arfelli – Looking after beauty professionals is part of the company’s DNA. Even in the 1960s, the store’s set up was full of new approaches, and this helped create the market we know today. By utilizing beauty consultants to demonstrate the products, Ikesaki helped the customers choose the right items for their needs. The development of a technical center within the store was also a determining factor in consolidating the partnership with beauty professionals as it provided access to products, technical information and professional enhancement all in the same place. When it became known that Ikesaki was the first store in Brazil where they could try out the latest products on the market, it also started to attract the end consumers. This relationship of trust has become closer over the years.

Ikesaki-s hyperstore in the Tucuruvi district

Ikesaki-s hyperstore in the Tucuruvi district

Brazil Beauty News – What are the main points of difference that contribute to Ikesaki’s success as a multi-channel business?

Elcio Arfelli – The main challenge is to ensure the integration of the different channels so we can offer the best services to customers, whether they are professionals or not. The telesales and external sales channels are extremely efficient. However, we are devoting special care to the recent launch of our online store in order to maintain all the pillars of the brand at any point of contact with the customer. This is not an easy task when it comes to the web, but we will keep on working as guardians of the professional market by providing technical guidance, offering editorial content and, above all, being a point of convergence between professionals and consumers.

Brazil Beauty News – What will be the focus of investments in 2015?

Elcio Arfelli – Two new physical hyperstores will be launched in 2015. They will cover more than 2,000 m², with 20,000 items, a technical center for professional guidance, furniture showroom for spas and hair salons, an exclusive area for beauty professionals, support from specialized consultants and updated content to keep professionals and customers informed of the latest news. We will also be focusing on investments in the online side of the business with the establishment of the ‘Top Salon Store’, an innovative partnership project with beauty salons.

Fernanda Bonifacio


© 2015 - Brazil Beauty News -

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