The cosmetic industry is booming (and has been). According to a study through OnePoll by Groupon, the average woman spends $3,756 per year on her appearance, which can add up to over $225,000 in her lifetime. Put into perspective, this means that with the amount women spend on cosmetics, they could have allocated to pay for four years of college tuition.
From a financial standpoint, this looks like a massive opportunity to cosmetics companies. They’ve tried plentiful tricks and gimmicks to promise an even more youthful, glowy, or gorgeous appearance to the many women who purchase their products. But, in turn, this has created a toxicity that breeds constant insecurity amongst women. It’s perpetuated in magazine images, advertisements, and movies – and it doesn’t just impact the women who are making the purchases.
It’s impacting young girls who are also presented with the images, leading to heartbreaking statistics such as those presented in the documentary Miss Representation: “53% of 12-year-old girls feel unhappy with their bodies, 78% of 17-year-old girls feel unhappy with their bodies and 65% of women and girls have an eating disorder.”
On the flip side of its impact on preteens and teens is its impact on women approaching the over 60 age bracket. It’s been long said that aging women frequently feel ‘invisible’ due to their age. This is due in part to the self-objectification that’s occurring from the messages and images propagated by beauty companies: the American Psychological Association stated that women have come to see themselves as objects due to the ever present fixture on their looks. Once these looks fade, it can be an isolating and crushing experience for older women.
Enter Fiera Cosmetics: one of the only makeup brands created for women over sixty. They’re disrupting the makeup and beauty industry by creating products specifically designed for older skin types – a far cry from the majority of makeup on the market today. Most makeup brands create products for youthful skin, and bolster the advertising with images of stunning, young models in their 20’s. However, this type of advertising is cyclical and destructive. It promises a near-impossible standard of beauty (oftentimes, absolutely impossible due to photoshopping) that keeps women purchasing in a futile effort to match the images.
Fiera Cosmetics instead features models who actually look like their target customers. Kate Duff, Fiera’s brand coordinator, shared that all of their models are actually in the 50-80 age demographic. “It’s important to us that our website shows images of real women, who aren’t photo-shopped,” she explained.
A New Form of Marketing: Rooted in Customer Needs
To match the superficial nature of most beauty products, their marketing forms can be superficial, too: paying top dollar to big name retailers for shelf space and cozying up to executives to contribute to the false allure of brand popularity. Rooted in authenticity, Fiera Cosmetics has gone about marketing in a totally different way: they primariy do word-of-mouth marketing through their online reviews. This puts the onus on the customer – which means the real onus is on Fiera to make cosmetic products worth gushing about.
“We let our customer reviews do our selling for us,” Duff explained. “This is the most effective form, because it’s simply positive online word of mouth brand promotion. We firmly believe in giving people something they love and letting it grow naturally.”
It’s not hard to spur word-of-mouth marketing when a product does exactly what it says it does. In Fiera’s case, this is providing ultimate coverage and a blurring effect through their top seller, their anti-aging concealer. Many makeup product formulas actually enhance the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – but Fiera’s expertly formulated concealer makes them nearly invisible. They just launched a new neck cream that does the same.
Instead of investing in television or retail ad sales, they put their money right back into two main sources: the first is into their own makeup products. “All our money goes into making the best possible products for women,” said Duff. The second source is their partnership with Second Harvest. “For every unit of makeup we sell, we provide the funding to feed someone in need,” said Duff. Last month alone, they provided north of 9,300 meals.
Fiera is onto something – they promote realistic beauty, they’re oriented in meeting their customer’s needs, and they do it with a focus on impact. Because of their products and their approach, they’re breathing fresh air into a toxic beauty industry, by encouraging women of all ages to own their authentic beauty.