Disrupting the Personal Care Industry Value Chain with Digitalization

Udo Eberlein, CEO & Founder

Nov 12, 2021 · 4 min read

The personal care industry, much more so than many other industries, is one that thrives on innovation—new formulas and ingredients, new color and fragrance trends, the endorsement of the latest “it” celebrity.

And the industry is changing because consumer behavior is changing. In the digital age, consumers want to shop with speed and efficiency, learn about new products through social channels, and share their latest cosmetic “discoveries” with their social media communities.

Yet personal care product creation is still a painfully slow process. Case in point: It still takes an average of 12-24 months to take a new product from idea to market. And for cosmetics companies and Beauty Brands of all sizes, that’s plenty of time for a competitor to beat them to the shelves.

For cosmetic companies and Beauty Brands, the rise of the digital consumer demands that they bring their products to market sooner.

That demand is not currently being met. And that’s the reason we founded Goldn.

What Can Digitalization Do?

We already know many of the ways that digitalization can improve consumer-facing businesses:

  • It can increase production speed.
  • It usually lowers costs.
  • It increases accuracy and makes businesses more efficient.

But when I talk about digitalization, I’m not just talking about selling products via e-commerce or searching for suppliers via an online database. Those are pieces of the much broader application of digitalization to a supply chain industry.

Digitalization, when fully implemented, is about applying technology to do things differently, including:

  • Transforming the way products are built
  • Enabling completely new processes—really breaking new ground
  • Engaging with customers and meeting their needs through solution-focused business practices

If that sounds “disruptive,” that's because it is. But only because the Personal Care Industry Value Chain still hasn’t really embraced digitalization.

An Industry Ripe for Change

By not using digitalization to implement real, radical change in how products are ideated, formulated, and marketed, the personal care industry is using the equivalent of a rotary phone when the rest of the world has switched to Androids and Apples.

It’s absurd, really, that in this race to get to market faster with the newest, trendiest product, the supply chain is still largely analog. Yes, there’s been some activity up and down the chain, but nothing seismic – nothing that has radically changed the status quo. The digitalization that has occurred has been narrow in scope, and mainly consumer-facing, in the form of webshops and online marketplaces. But what’s been missing until now is a B2B tool that helps all segments of the value chain communicate and collaborate.

And this is a problem for all brands, but especially small ones.

Consider that roughly 50% of the personal care market is driven by small and medium enterprises. For these brands with fewer resources and often, less experience, managing the product development process is just really hard. It’s complex and time-consuming, and the existing tools are either too technical or too generic. And they for sure don't talk to each other.

Here are just a few examples of the pitfalls of the current personal care product development environment:

  • A huge database of ingredient suppliers doesn’t provide enough detail or search options to narrow results – meaning that buyers wind up randomly picking a supplier and hoping for the best. Suppliers, in turn, have no way to reach buyers and stand out from the competition.

  • If a cosmetic developer needs to partner with, say, 10 different suppliers, they may encounter 10 different contact forms and fulfillment and billing softwares. The lab they contract with might be waiting for ingredients to arrive from suppliers B and C, while their formula tester waits for a prototype in order to verify that it’s consumer-safe.

The orchestration of all the different participants in the process – I’m talking about formulators, laboratories, ingredient suppliers, packaging suppliers – you name it – is a daunting, stressful task. It’s fraught with room for costly, time-consuming errors, especially if a brand is attempting to produce multiple products at the same time.

A True Digital Ecosystem for Cosmetic Product Creation

What’s missing from the cosmetic product creation value chain is a true digital ecosystem that actively assists in the process with the right information at the right time and with a focus on delivering a solution, rather than just a focus on efficiency, like webshops or pure marketplaces.

That’s what we envisioned when we first conceived of Goldn. Here are some of the hallmarks of our digital ecosystem for product creation:

  • For Beauty Brands and start-ups, it provides access to know-how, speed of innovation, and an organized, transparent production chain.
  • For suppliers, it gives them the opportunity to better show their capacities to potential clients, identify synergies, and build great partnerships.
  • For both the supply and demand sides, it provides a single environment in which to create and collaborate, and one that covers the entire product development evolution, from initial contacts to contracts to fulfilments and launch.

Up until now, there’s never been a tool that brings the demand – the cosmetic creator – and the supply sides together under one digital roof. Goldn offers a solution-focused ecosystem for everyone, in every corner of the Personal Care Industry Value Chain:

On the demand side:

To connect them with key players on the supply side, including:

  • Formulators and laboratories
  • Ingredient suppliers
  • Contract manufacturers
  • Packaging suppliers
  • Safety assessors
  • Graphic designers, artists, and printers
  • Testing and regulatory experts
  • Resellers and distributors

Our aim is to give both sides of the equation a better experience – one that’s simple, delightful, transparent, and that shortens the time to market by allowing cosmetic brands and suppliers to work together along the entire value chain.

Written by

Udo Eberlein, CEO & Founder

Connect with Udo Eberlein, CEO & Founder on LinkedIn.

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