Natural and organic beauty brands need to be every bit as good as their top-selling non-natural counterparts says Mark Steele, men’s toiletries and haircare buyer at UK supermarket chain Waitrose.
In a special video interview for Natural Products Global, Steele tells us: “We put our best-selling products alongside each other. Whether they are natural or not, our customers are picking products because they like that product. It should be able to stand up against any other brand if it’s a good product – and I think actually that makes it more accessible. That’s why we don’t block natural and organic separately. It’s important to make specialist categories really accessible.”
Steele says the rewards are there for natural and organic brands who get “the whole package” right: “If you are a natural retailer, or brand, the question for you is how do you capitalise on what is the biggest trend right now – which is natural – while it’s so hot.”
“If you are a natural retailer, or brand, the question for you is how do you capitalise on what is the biggest trend right now – which is natural – while it’s so hot”
Asked what Waitrose would be looking for in a prospective natural beauty brand, Steele says: “First the product has to be really amazing. But I think you also have to ask, since it’s going to competing on the shelf with hundreds of other products, does it look the part? The branding has to make sense. It has to have a good PR plan. It’s about bringing all these things together.”
Steele sees the rise of the indie brand as one of the strongest trends in general grocery retail. “There’s a wealth and breadth of new smaller brands coming through. You’re seeing it in other industries too, like beer, where you’ve seen lots of small craft beer breweries popping up. Beauty is following a similar pattern. These companies are smart, they have really good social media campaigns, and great PR ideas.”