Today at University we had a guest lecturer come in and speak to us first-hand about her job and experiences in the fashion industry. Michelle Hoines- White, who has worked with the likes of Marks and Spencer’s, Tesco and Saatchi and Saatchi, spent an hour telling us all about how she created her brand, FRONTCVER, with the aim of making makeup just as exciting as fashion! She began by explaining that the fundamental elements you need in order to come up with an idea is to first of all find a gap in the market, then you have to invent a product which will fill that gap and then finally you have to build a true and authentic brand from it.
Michelle’s join business partner for the FRONTCOVER brand Liz (who has worked at Max Factor and as the marketing director at Revlon) deals with the marketing and development side of things whereas Michelle’s job involves the more creative jobs as she is the creative director, designer and illustrator. Together they have worked with James Brown, St Tropez and Ruby & Millie too.
So it all started when in 2007 they noticed that there was a gap in the market as no one was making cosmetics as exciting as clothes. Furthermore, there were only ever a few makeup trends which consisted of a couple of new shades every Spring and Autumn. A few of the premium makeup brands had more but it was only a handful. In addition, The big global players in the makeup industry were more interested in anti ageing properties within their makeup products and focused on high definition which were definitely more technical attributes as opposed to inspirational. No one was selling makeup which reflected any of the major trends seen on the runways, which made her think surely women don’t just want fashionable clothes, why not have fashionable makeup too to complete the whole look?
From this point, they thought they were onto something and so thus began their consumer research. The major point they wanted to establish was was is just them who felt like this or did other women feel the same? The response was that yes, as many women had worn the same makeup for years, which they wouldn’t dream of doing with their clothes. Another major piece of information they found out was that women wanted to try the looks they saw in magazines but didn’t know where to start, as they wanted to experiment but needed a bit of guidance as to how to get every aspect right. Above all they wanted affordable, good quality products as they had been disappointed in the past by brands which promised a great deal but delivered poorly.
The answer to their needs was their own creation called FRONTCOVER. It is where makeup meets fashion, taking catwalk trends into ready to wear makeup collections. They release two limited edition collections each year and always introduce something new and exciting which follows the trends along with the fashion world (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter). They incorporated stylish photographic packaging which shows you the latest look with everything you need to create that look in the one box. Each kit contains step by step instructions from FRONTCOVER’S resident makeup artist and the products themselves are created from high quality formulas that work with a wide range of colours and texture to allow customers to experiment with different looks. And finally of course they are affordable so customers can get chic items which don’t brake the bank which was a wise move as not only did the customer research show that this was a paramount feature women were looking for, but when the line was created in 2008, it was the beginning of a global recession so people didn’t have spare money to fork out on loads of luxuries.
Product and innovation are at the heart of the brand with all of the FRONTOVER products being tested against the best in their category before they are developed. For the photography images used on the packaging, the products themselves are used in the shoots, which I actually is not normally the case, which I think is ridiculous! But obviously it is good that their brand actually uses them.
The brand was launched in Boots, where it astoundingly well, selling out faster than No7! They then began selling it in Sephora too as it was something that Sephora had never seen before as it was the only brand that develops seasonal collections inspired by global campaigns, adding a new unique concept to their stores portfolio. They then went on to launch on QVC as well.
When asked about FRONTCOVER, the editor of Glamour.com said ” FRONTCOVER has become the office staple for the glamour.com team! Great colour palette and superb quality- we love it!….”
I found this a really engaging, inspiring and interesting lecture and it was great to here about someone’s personal story in the fashion industry from start to finish and how they reached success.