A PESTLE ANALYSIS FOR COSMETICS BRAND, TRINNY LONDON

Watch her YouTube and Instagram videos and you could be forgiven for thinking Trinny Woodall, the founder of bespoke make-up brand TRINNY London, is as mad as a March hare. At first sight, Trinny comes across as completely bonkers, but she’s also one of the most entertaining and engaging people on social media. HOW A BRAND LIKE TRINNY LONDON MIGHT USE A PESTLE ANALYSIS

From a demonstration on how to get rid of bingo wings (pinch and slap in case you’re wondering) to Sunday morning chats in her bathroom with entrepreneurs like Jo Fairley, I, along with her 380K followers, am totally hooked! If you don’t follow her, you’re missing out on daily, ROFL entertainment. And when it comes to beauty and fashion, Trinny genuinely knows her stuff.

But behind this irrepressible fireball of energy, there’s a very sharp, astute, businesswoman with her finger firmly on the pulse. Last October, the TV presenter turned entrepreneur launched her game-changing make-up range, TRINNY London. TRINNY London is a high-quality, simple-to-use make-up range, designed to create a stack that clicks together to fit into a handbag.

Trinny developed the idea of a make-up stack when she was travelling and filming. All a woman really needs, according to Trinny, is a good base, blusher, highlighter and lip gloss. Her capsule collection of make-up essentials is sold online, and selections are tailored, through a specially created digital algorithm, to suit the wearers’ colouring.

While women aged 18 to 34 make up the largest portion of the cosmetics market, and are more likely to buy 10 types of products a year or more, TRINNY London is tapping into a potentially more lucrative trend. The 50-plus population is predicted to grow by 38% between now and 2035, with premium products the fastest growing sector.

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TRINNY LONDON - NO ORDINARY START-UP

This is no ordinary start-up. TRINNY London is backed to the tune of £2.7million by a combination of heavyweight financiers, the multinational company Unilever and her partner, the former advertising executive, Charles Saatchi. A Unilever Director has a seat on the board.

So yes, TRINNY London is a well-financed start-up. But we can learn from her journey, even though Trinny didn’t bootstrap her business from the kitchen table. The first key lesson we can draw is Trinny and her team prepared a detailed business plan, something in my experience most business owners don’t bother with. How do I know this? There is simply no way Unilever would have taken the decision to back Trinny without there being a robust business plan in place.

THE ROLE OF A PESTLE ANALYSIS IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

When we think about a business plan, we typically think of the written result. What we don't see is all the thought and research that has gone into making a business plan a valuable blueprint. Part of that thinking process is completing a PESTLE analysis, a topic I discussed in my previous article, How A PESTLE Analysis Will Help Your Business.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, PESTLE is a handy acronym which stands for Political, Economic, Social Technological, Legal and Environmental. A PESTLE analysis will help you to evaluate how these six macro-economic factors are likely to affect the performance and activities of your business in the long-term, and plan accordingly.

It’s often used in collaboration with other analytical business tools like a SWOT analysis and Porter’s Five Forces. Read my article How A PESTLE Analysis Will Help Your Business to learn more.

In this article, I’m going to explore some of the macro-economic factors, through the lens of a PESTLE analysis, which I believe have influenced TRINNY London’s business and marketing plan. This will, I hope, give you some ideas about how you could use a PESTLE analysis to assist with your business planning.

1. POLITICAL FACTORS

As the UK has decided to withdraw from the EU (Brexit), the terms of the withdrawal being negotiated will certainly affect the general political, economic and legal framework for the cosmetics industry in the UK. There’s a risk that because TRINNY London is a premium product, it will not necessarily consumers’ top priority if times get tough.

=> TRINNY London has mitigated this risk by building a tribe of highly loyal brand advocates, both here in the UK, as well as across the globe. Notably Australia and the US.

2. ECONOMIC FACTORS

With the UK’s economic growth rate slowing, customers might be expected to cut down on their spending on beauty products. However the UK cosmetics industry is predicted to see rates of growth of around 0.06% per year, bringing its value to £2.32 billion in 2018-19 (Yahoo Finance UK, 2014).

A report by Grand View Research, Inc. found that UK consumers are willing to spend a little more on their cosmetic products, although we do use them to the last drop.

=> While TRINNY London sits at the upper end of the market, it’s still an ‘obtainable’ product here in the UK. But by targeting its marketing to other key markets abroad, the company is aiming to manage the risk of being solely exposed to the UK market.

3. SOCIAL FACTORS

One of the biggest beauty trends right now is bespoke makeup. In a shift that neatly mirrors the industry's late move towards greater diversity, brands are putting us, the consumer, first.

=> TRINNY London is bang on trend with its colour-matching Match2Me technology which generates a personalised 'stack' of products, based on your hair, eye and skin colour. Describing her Match2Me concept, Trinny has said:

“There are more brands than ever before, and I feel lost in a sea of choice. One of the reasons we came to be as a brand is because I spoke to consumers and they wanted something that made the choice for them.” 

4. TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS

The United Kingdom had the third largest e-commerce market in the world in 2015, with13% of revenue in the cosmetics industry generated from online sales alone in 2017. This is expect to rise to 21% by 2021.

=> TRINNY London sells its products solely online making full use of its ecommerce website, and online shopping. Selling online could be problematic but the Match2Me service aims to tailor the product selection to suit the individual customer. The company hasn’t gone down the ‘augmented reality’ route like Sephora for example, largely I imagine because of the investment that would be required, and because this doesn’t fit with the brand ethos.

Because bespoke beauty is a fine art that no algorithm can completely nail, TRINNY London offers consultation sessions at Trinny’s house and is taking the range to cities, both in the UK and abroad to give people a chance to try out the products with help from a team of makeup artists.

5. LEGAL FACTORS

In the UK, regulations determine the safety of cosmetics products, setting standards to protect consumers. Labelling and branding are also regulated – meaning that companies must properly label their products with a list of ingredients, expiry date, warning statements and any other precautionary information.

=> TRINNY London adheres to all legal requirements relating to the production of cosmetics. These safety laws are unlikely to change after the Uk leaves the EU because they are considered a success globally and a passport to trade.

6. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

There’s a continuing trend for consumers to be concerned about the potential side-effects of the many artificial substances often used in skincare products, such as parabens, petrochemicals and toxins. Meanwhile awareness of green consumerism and ethical issues about the socio-environmental costs of a company are on the rise.

Companies that are perceived as environmentally friendly and eco-friendly are more likely to receive positive feedback from customers and maintain a positive public image (OECD, 2012). Euromonitor is amongst those predicting that consumers will increasingly seek out a ‘greener approach’ looking for products that do not harm to their skin, but also which are kind to the environment and society.

=> TRINNY London’s website states that it’s working towards achieving Positive Living’s ‘butterfly mark’ as evidence that it is a brand you can trust when it comes to sustainability.

The key with any PESTLE analysis is to go deep. In this article I’ve just touched the surface. If I were working with a client I would dig far deeper into the external environment. Brief as this analysis is, one thing's for sure. With UK exports for cosmetic products growing 5% per year, in no small part because of online sales, TRINNY London has hit on a recession proof business with huge potential for growth. And that's why Trinny has attracted investment from companies like Unilever, looking to develop their portfolio of products in the premium market.

Question: Have you used TRINNY London products or followed Trinny on social media? What are key factors affecting your sector? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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