The last BBN of the year! Let’s start with LUSH who accidentally gave money to a (AMENDED) ‘so-called’ anti-trans group (please see further reading HERE). They’ve finally apologised after a lot of blustering. However, the amount of money donated by mistake is nothing like the scale of the also accidentally paid out $900 million by financial services company Citigroup to a multitude of Revlon lenders who now don’t want to pay it back.
I’ve noticed that The Hut Group has taken over the e-commerce for Omorovicza… based on nothing but intuition I feel it may be a prelude to sale. THG is actively acquiring and likes privately owned brands.
If you missed the furore over Purito SPF, a quick explanation. Purito is a Korean brand and SPF is a highly popular product for the Asian beauty market in particular. Their Centella Unscented SPF50 tested at SPF19 which is obviously much lower than the claim. Purito suspended sales, loosely blaming their manufacturer, Nowcos, who, in 2018 received an FDA warning for failing to reveal procedures for manufacture resulting in ‘significant violations of current good manufacturing practice’. The big thing of note here is that, put to the test, I can would not be at all surprised if SPF claims are being flouted left, right and centre, particularly in the SPF/Make Up category. SPF needs regular re-application and we don’t, as a habit, regularly reapply foundation. I’m as guilty as the next person of forgetting that particular rule. At the time of writing, the Purito drama is still being played out.
If you are on Instagram, both Look Fantastic and Bobbi Brown (surprisingly) have a string of complaint comments about poor service, non-delivery and refund/returns problems. Because of social distancing, warehouses are having no end of issues fulfilling orders which I suspect is at the heart of the problems but it would be easier for all if they could put their hands up to it and explain what the problems are. Everything is difficult right now but customer service needs to step up hugely at this stage to explain fully – honesty really is the best policy and a happier customer is one that knows what’s going on.
In much happier news, Dolly Parton is launching a fragrance line. It’s with Edge Beauty Inc, which also owns ScentBeauty who have a fragrance with Cher. Founder of Edge, Steven Mormoris, is quoted as saying he would like the industry to break the pattern of creating derivative scents of best-sellers. Amen to that. They’re partnering with Firmenich for all fragrances so I think they mean business.
CHANEL is in hot water in China – two of their Asia exclusive products have earned them a penalty for violating regulations. Ingredients and results were found to be misleading with an investigation revealing ingredients for ‘anti-freckle’ were not found in the formula despite the claims. They’ve earned a $30,000 fine and may not continue to advertise the products.
In trends (nail art is making a come-back by the way!) made-for-Asia brands is on the up with Beiersdorf launching a premium fermented tea line, Chaul, exclusively in Korea. Asia is the biggest and most desirable market for beauty and almost all brands are scrabbling for presence. The savviest way to do it is to create exactly for the market, both in aesthetics and ingredients. ‘Innovation Hubs’ are popping up across Asia – Chaul (based on the name for tea – cha – but confusingly, also the name of a town in India) comes from Beiersdorf’s Korean hub, and Shiseido (Japanese) are not far behind with their Chinese-centric hub built specifically to innovate for the Chinese market.
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Indeed logistics are having a very hard time these days, between the pandemic and its impact of people and organisation, black friday and all Christmas campaigns, all logistic providers and carriers are struggling. And the UK you are also affected by the Brexit effect with huge bottlenecks in Calais and lines and lines of trucks waiting to cross.
Indeed, all brands would be smart and avoid plenty of complaints by stating this clearly on their websites. Customers understand this very well.
You’re right! I think people would be far more understanding if they knew a bit more. Just pretending there are no problems isn’t helpful though and a bit more sensitive communication would be better.
Women’s Place UK is absolutely NOT an anti-trans group. It’s so disappointing to see you say that. It is a group formed to protect and uphold women’s sex-based rights, and goodness knows there’s nothing wrong with that.
The industry news round-ups are usually my favourite posts on your site, but this is really, really disappointing.
Well, this is a lesson to me to research more thoroughly – my apologies to you x
Women’s Place UK is not an anti-trans group. It is a grass roots feminist organisation lobbying for the protection of women’s rights, and in particular against the removal of single-sex exemptions from the Equality Act which currently benefit women. You can read more about its aims here: https://womansplaceuk.org/our-demands-resolutions/.
It is not anti-trans to be pro-women. Many women rely on those single-sex exemptions for dignity, privacy, safety and security, including some women who are themselves trans. You may not agree with WPUK’s aims, and in a democratic society, we’re all free to agree or disagree. But before women lose their existing legal protections and, irrespective of where you personally stand on those issues, that proposal should nevertheless be openly debated so that all voices can be heard. Suggesting those aims are anti-trans, or that some voices or people are more valid or valuable than others, does not further respectful public debate, and in some instances the suggestion that such concerns are anti-trans is used to shut down debate completely. Everyone loses out if that happens.
In a clash of arguments on how protections for two disadvantaged groups should develop, it is sensible to be careful about how that debate is described lest the concerns and arguments of both sides are obscured or misunderstood. It is not surprising Lush eventually decided to opt out altogether.
Finally, I should add that I am not a member of WPUK (if indeed it has members), nor am I connected with Lush. I just want all points of view to be fairly heard and characterised so that there can indeed be a debate where, ideally, both women and trans people are protected from discrimination. I cling to the hope that this need not be an either/or solution!
I don’t expect that you will publish this comment. If you don’t, frankly I won’t blame you, but as a responsible journalist, I hope that you will take these comments on board if you report further on these issues.
I am stuck this late autumn and early winter in the US. I have been ordering beauty products from Nordstrom’s, Amazon, Target, Walmart, MAC, Macy’s, Murad, Jones Road Beauty, Clarins, Malin & Goetz and Dr. Jart. I am amazed at how good the fulfillment and delivery process have been so far. There were a few glitches but mostly they occurred at the last mile. Delivery was later than promised because the store chose to use the US Postal Service, which is a total disaster. DHL, FedEx and UPS are all fine. Some stores like Nordstrom’s are great at allowing you to track your delivery. MAC and Jones Road did not provide any kind of accurate tracking. And they were late. But on the whole, given how many people were ordering during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, everything worked out well.
I think that things have progressed well up until Christmas got in the way! It does seem, from looking at timelines of brands, that a backlog is quite recent. Speaking to my postman, he said that things are coming in to their sorting office and being sorted but they lack the person-power to deliver.
The major brands have finally discovered that Asia isn’t one amorphous blob, but rather separate and distinct markets. In addition, I think companies are developing China-only brands because China requires animal testing but other countries have forbidden it. It’s a disgusting practice and totally unnecessary, but one hopes that China will ban it one day. The other major development is the realization that women in Asia have totally different skin tones, and they live under different weather conditions.
I live in Japan part of the year and I travel a lot to Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and India. I noticed that for a long time now, Japanese brands like Shiseido, simply translated their Japanese marketing materials, used the same models, and sent the same products to Singapore and Thailand. I don’t think it’s working as well anymore because of a lot of competition from many other Japanese and Western brands, not to mention local brands like Mistine in Thailand. Japanese women are much lighter than Thai and Indonesian and Filipino women. And Japan has winter. So it can’t be that the skincare and makeup should be the same, right? I am glad it’s changing. Maybe the beauty brands won’t be as lazy as they’ve been.
You’re quite right – I rarely see cosmetics for that region called anything other than ‘Asian’ so it does seem more enlightened to address the specifics within that.
Hi, I am a long time reader, however re: Lush and WPUK (the feminist group they “accidentally” donated to), I was quite shocked by the wording of your summary, featured so prominently at the top of the page on your very last BBN of the year. It fails to capture the complexity of the incident (and indeed of the entire debate) and merely propagates one side’s narrative. Please refer directly to their site: https://womansplaceuk.org/ and perhaps make your own judgement?
All the best, D.
Yes, I agree – it was a mis-step on my part to take it as read without looking more thoroughly. I apologise, of course.
I must admit I’m feeling a bit of schadenfreude over the Purito scandal. They’re one of those ”clean” anti-science brands that tout being partners with EWG and only using ”safe” ingredients (it’s even in the image in this article) and in general, rely almost entirely on fear-mongering as a marketing strategy. A lot of the Korean beauty youtubers promote Purito quite heavily, so at first I was really interested in buying this very sunscreen (Asian sunscreens are the best, certainly for their price), but the whole ”only our products are safe and every other brand is just trying to kill with skin care and governments don’t caaaare, buy our products!” really put me off. It somehow feels very right that a brand that relies on misleading, full-on nonsense marketing also doesn’t really sell good products. Perhaps, if you’re so concerned about the integrity of your products, don’t work with a manufacturer that has received a warning before?
Well, yes – the warnings are quite shocking really…
I’m a bit horrified by how quickly you amended your comments in regards to WPUK – WPUK are violently transphobic and the biggest problem is the misinformation they put out. By ‘trans women’ attending their events they actually mean trans men, since they do not recognise trans women as being women. UK law doesn’t distinguish between sex and gender – trans people legally change their sex when they get a Gender Recognition Certificate, so actually the ‘sex-based rights’ apply to trans women as well. Anybody can legally use the toilet that they feel is appropriate to their gender and no legal change is necessary for that – that’s always been the case. They created all kinds of misinformation about the proposed changes to the Equality Act, which were simply about speeding up the currently very lengthy and bureaucratic process of gaining a GRC and adopting the same process as countries like Denmark and Ireland, which haven’t caused any problems in those countries.
Aspects like toilet use and single-sex spaces were never part of any legislation changes, since a GRC isn’t required for that. A GRC is mostly just for things like wedding and death certificates, since you don’t need one for changing the gender marker on ID and just need a letter from your GP for that – lots of trans people don’t bother getting one because it’s a huge hassle (you have to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria to get one, which right now is taking 3 years or longer for trans people on the NHS). The issue is that currently it’s treated as a medical certificate rather than simply an administrative issue, requiring trans people to see a specialist gender clinician for it (not even a GP) even if they don’t want or need medical transition. I was referred to my Gender Identity Clinic in March 2018, and I’m still waiting to be seen with no indication as to when that will happen – obviously Covid doesn’t help, but I’d been waiting for 18 months before Covid had even been heard of.
Trans people are a very small part of the population, yet our lives are demonised regularly in mainstream newspapers (trans people call Sunday Transphobic Headline Day since the Sunday Times and Telegraph usually has a transphobic headline then), on mainstream news programmes, and treated as a general threat to society in the same way gay people were in the wake of the AIDS crisis. A British trans woman has literally been granted asylum in New Zealand due to the harm caused to her by the transphobia of British daily life. Even the US print of the Guardian has taken a stance condemning the British edition’s hostility to trans people and our rights. Being trans in the UK is extremely hard, and it’s made harder by how much space reasonable people are willing to give transphobes rather than listening to trans people on the issues that affect us. Trans people are the experts on what’s transphobic or not, because we’re the ones who experience it – it isn’t for WPUK to contradict that, but it is for people who aren’t trans to listen to us and believe us when we speak out about transphobia.
Thank you for your very thoughtful response – it’s really such a learning curve and I’m glad to have your views and grateful that you feel able to air them here. I regularly read Diana Thomas in The Telegraph to try and stay abreast but must admit that I steer well clear on Twitter because it’s all so angry – both sides – so it’s appreciated to have an explanatory comment like yours that comes from the heart. I’m sorry that you have had such a wait and hope the system speeds up.