Nude by Nature Comes of Age as a Truly Global Brand

From humble beginnings with only 4 products to a decade later, Mark Thompson - CEO tells the Nude by Nature success story

The trouble with acronyms is that they often mask trends and expertise that have been in place for a long time. The Koreans and Japanese had flourishing beauty industries for decades before the world “discovered” K-Beauty and J-Beauty. For the past year, Australia’s contribution to the global cosmetic scene has been touted as A-Beauty and Aussie brands have flooded into major retailers in Europe, Asia and North America.
It’s a no-brainer, really. Australia is the 13th largest economy in the world and would rank as the fifth largest in Europe. First world technology and a green image are backed by some of the most potent native active ingredients in the world – kakadu plum, lilly pilly and quandong. Few other beauty brands know this better than Nude by Nature, Australia’s number one mineral make-up brand. Launched in 2008, the company is not only Australian owned, a major point-of difference has always been the inclusion of the Australian native ingredients now so much in demand around the world.

Humble Beginnings/Superior New Product Development
Ten years ago, we started from humble beginnings with only four products – a mineral powder foundation, a bronzer, a finishing powder and a make-up brush, says CEO Mark Thompson. “The loose powder is still a huge part of our business, but over the past decade we have developed into a more grown-up version of Nude by Nature. Our new product development featuring a full colour collection has accelerated over the past five years from our prestige eye makeup range through to the Flawless Collection and our new 100 per cent Natural Lip Collection. Green is now glamorous, and all of our products underline premiumisation in the natural beauty space”. Nude by Nature’s product development team is one of the best Thompson has ever worked with. A huge accolade considering his experience as a senior executive in skincare and haircare in Europe and Australia. Before taking on the role of COO of HiLife Health & Beauty, he was the Managing Director of TIGI UK & Europe, Managing Director of TIGI ANZ and held General Manager positions at L’Oréal Professionnel and Fujifilm.

Natural Positioning and Strong Communication Attract Boots, John Lewis and QVC
International expansion has been top-of mind since Thompson’s appointment in 2013. “I targeted major retailers in Europe about three years ago and the response was very positive. We are ranked number one in the mineral category in Australia and play against the big names. Since then the natural and organic beauty sector has exploded from a trend to a lifestyle choice and European retailers have hundreds of brands from around the world trying to grab their attention. So it was a great coup for Nude by Nature to be stocked in iconic department store chain, John Lewis and most recently Boots in March this year.
Why have international retailers chosen Nude by Nature over thousands of other brands? At all stages of our development, we have stuck to our principles of using 100% natural ingredients, says Thompson. “Other brands advertise that they are natural but they are not. Our products do not contain chemical dyes, preservatives, fragrances, petrochemicals or pore-clogging talc.
“Consumers are very educated these days and do not like green-washing. They are also looking for natural make-up that makes no compromise on performance, which is why Nude by Nature has enjoyed great success with our eye, foundation and lip collections. They look and feel like their prestige mainstream counterparts. We are not and never will be a brand that cuts corners.”
Nude by Nature’s communications strategy has also been key to growth, says Thompson. Everything we do hinges on the principle that make-up should be good for you. We are a no and yes company. No to all the nasties and yes to great natural ingredients. To enable the brand to launch internationally, a more luxe look was required and that was a paradigm shift for the brand. Consumers globally are attracted to make-up brands by how good they look and are then delighted to be told they are natural”.
Clint Dowdell, the brand ambassador for Nude by Nature since 2010, is now based in London. With a strong track record in cutting-edge fragrance and make-up brands such as Terry de Gunzberg and Nars, no one is better placed than Dowdell to convey the wide appeal of Nude by Nature products. “We launched on the QVC shopping channel in the UK late last year”, says Thompson. “Clint appears on the segments and the results have been phenomenal. We have a full window for 12 months which is incredible for a new brand”.

The Right Retailers – Europe, China and Canada
French consumers have also embraced Nude by Nature and the brand is in 222 stores in the Nocibé chain, acquired by Douglas, Europe’s largest beauty and fragrance chain in 2013, to create a combined business of 625 stores in France. “We are also in Le Bon Marche, the most selective department store in Paris, owned by LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods group”, adds Thompson. Our strategy is to be in the right retailers in Europe, so Nude by Nature is also in the top five Douglas stores and Karstadt department stores in Germany and in Magasin du Nord in Denmark, a subsidiary of Debenhams. Canada has become an important market, says Thompson. “We negotiated an exclusive deal with Shoppers Drug Mart and rolled out into over 1000 of their 1300 doors. They have very stringent targets and selected Nude by Nature because we are one of the very few make-up brands available anywhere that is truly natural. Canada is a very important market because it offers a segue into the US market. If something works across the border, it will work in the highly competitive American market”. Being authentically natural is a nonnegotiable in China, says Thompson. “Nude by Nature is launching on Alibaba’s Tmall Global in April. It’s a good move because we are in control of our distribution and there’s no danger of compromising the brand”. Once launched in China we will be ranged in 9 countries, with over 4,800 doors globally which is an incredible result for the brand.

Strong Focus on Australia
As competition in the beauty industry has become fiercer than ever, celebrating a 10th anniversary is a major milestone. “We have played a patient game and taken our time over the brand’s evolution and said no to certain opportunities that weren’t suitable at the time”, says Thompson. “Apart from expanding internationally, we are still strongly focused on the Australian market. There is still plenty of scope for growth in the local market. Our conversion rate from regular to loyal user is very high, but a lot of consumers are not aware of us”. Even though Nude by Nature has kicked a lot of major goals at home and abroad recently, Thompson believes that it’s not a game of numbers. “We don’t have to be in the most doors, we need to be in the most successful ones. The growth of authentically natural products is increasing by leaps and bounds and by sticking to our policy of transparency, premiumisation and performance we are in a poll position”.

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