Celebrity beauty brands and collaborations are ubiquitous nowadays, but Vice Ganda has succeeded in impressing with his venture Vice Cosmetics. You already know that the website crashed on opening day due to the volume of orders (10,000 units sold in one day according to entrepreneur.com.ph). What you need to know is his formula for success, thus far, which might just be the key to this brand’s longevity.
IMAGE Courtesy of Vice Cosmetics
We sat down with Vice over dinner, and learned so much from the newly-minted beauty entrepreneur. Read on to discover lessons you can apply to any business venture you might have.
KNOW YOUR MARKET
"I am an entrepreneur who doesn’t just know the business, but I also feel as my own market," states Vice adding, "This is also my way of giving back to them. Because I am [one with] them, and I want everyone to experience the same things I am experiencing right now."
According to his partner Rhoda Campos, who is in charge of business development and marketing for the brand, Vice was uncompromising on two aspects of the product. He was set on the price points—lipstick bullets retail for P195, while the two-piece lip kits sell for P295—and at the same time wanted to make sure he would be giving his customers a quality product. He told her that the masses want and deserve quality so that is what he wants to give them.
The inclusive approach to his target market is apparent in both the shades, which can be worn by both female and male users, and the swardspeak names he’s given each of them. He explains that he wants the product to be accessible to people of any socio-economic means.
HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR YOUR BRAND
While the opportunity presented itself, Vice admits that he could not agree to become a makeup endorser. He could not see himself representing a brand whose products he does not truthfully like or he feels isn’t aligned with his personal brand. He shared that he’s had this vision to come up with his own cosmetic line for some time, and his excitement grew when the opportunity presented itself at the start of the year.
“Beauty is an emotion that you must feel about and for yourself,” says Vice on his beauty philosophy. And so the purpose of the Vice Cosmetics lippies follows: “It has to make you feel beautiful. It has to give you this certain level of confidence to be who you are and at the same time, spread positivity with other people as they see you smile with that lipstick.”
IMAGE Courtesy of Vice Cosmetics
Even the official launch, a concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on October 22, is Vice Ganda through and through. Why a concert at such a large venue? “Because Vice Ganda is larger than life. He’s flamboyant!” Vice quips. He also points out the brand’s thrust for inclusivity with its tagline “Ganda for all.” He wants many people to be able to experience it and a small venue just won’t cut it.
WORK WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Clear on his strengths as a partner, Vice is also clear on the strengths of his partners. He said he was hands on with everything except the actual production leaving that to the expertise of his U.S.-based Filipino partners who have over 60 years of combined experience in both local and international beauty business, from brand development to distribution. They have founded color cosmetics brands distributed in over 8,000 Big Box U.S. retailers and specialty beauty stores such as ULTA Beauty.
Even the young stars who have been asked to endorse the brand are aligned with Vice’s vision—young actresses Maymay Entrata and Kisses Delavin.
He feels the two cover the #GandaForAll thrust because of their diversity. “Dalawang magkaibang babae na galing sa dalawang magkaibang buhay, pero parehong maganda, parehong may dreams,” [Two very different young women from different backgrounds, but both are beautiful and both have dreams.”] he explains.
BUILD A PRODUCT YOU ARE PROUD OF
Vice’s criterion for his product is that apart from personally liking it, it has to be something that he won’t be ashamed to give to his loved ones to use.
Rhoda revealed that all the products went through independent inspection by SGS, which, according to their website, is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company that helps you ensure the quality standards of your product and meet legal obligations for its distribution.
IMAGE Isha Andaya-Valles
Upon testing the cruelty-free and PETA certified products, the Preview editors have found the Good Vibes Matte Lipsticks to have a moisturizing texture that glides on when applied. The color payoff is buildable for the nude shades and highly pigmented for a red like Tarush. The darker shades of the Phenomal Lip Kit like Unicorn and Showtime are commendable for their matte full-color finish that felt light on the lips, and lasted even after a meal.
COMMIT TO DO WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED
Any start-up requires a lot of time and attention. But in the case of Vice, he said that the most difficult part of the process was finding time to meet. “It gave me a bigger challenge, we would meet in the wee hours after I was done with the day’s shoots.”
It took almost a year to finalize their plans, produce the lip products, and launch the brand. Not a lot of time considering the scale and volume they’ve committed to selling—300 Watsons outlets, an online store, and standalone kiosks, but it was Vice himself who insisted on bringing the plan to fruition this year. “It has been working for me for the longest time na yung naiisip ko, kailangan kong magawa ko ngayon. ” [“It has been working for me for the longest time that I work on an idea right away.”] He feels that putting it off to next year would only diminish his momentum.
So whether all this will be the keys to Vice Cosmetics’ long-term success remains to be seen, but the brand is off to a good start. It’s nice to see another Filipino line foray into the beauty arena.