We have, in recent years, run this fantastic competition to find a new Beauty Brand which gives the opportunity to fledgling companies to fast-track into a fantastic UK retail and launch position with QVC. Maybe some of you are involved with a brand or know of someone, so it would be great to spread the word.
The ever-increasing competitive beauty market includes not just high street spas, salons and chemists as before, but also online retailing and TV shopping (which of course QVC were the first to do 23 years ago). Now in this sector there is also plenty of choice, so even just the experience of entering this competition can help educate a new brand into this modern retailing exposure.
It may be interesting for you to know what we ask through this competition, because once you meet the winning brand – often launched in our January beauty weekend – it will help you appreciate how impressed we have been with their products and philosophy before bringing it to you.
All the brands are asked to apply online and this can include both UK companies, and global brands that want to launch in the UK first, so we have a wide mix of opportunities and each are judged on their own merits. All of the entrants are researched, questioned and legally and financially checked out and then, at this point, the ones that can comply with current legislation etc. to be a professional product are discussed at a board meeting with their pro’s and con’s, before a list of six to eight finalists are agreed.
All of the judges (which includes myself, the beauty director of QVC UK, members of the buying team, QVC talent manager, CEW Board Members and trade journalists) then test out the products in our own homes to evaluate their quality and performance, and then we all come together for one day with the finalists (with some of the brands flying in from abroad). They all present to us consecutively and by the end of the day we have a final meeting, and a decision is made of which brands to take forward, for the opportunity to fast-track in the retail market place and launch on QVC UK and potentially have our global retailing opportunities open to them as well.
Many times during this competition, we have unearthed some little gems that may not be quite ready to launch but we are still excited about their products. In which case they have the opportunity to enter our mentoring programme, and you often find that a year or so later, I am talking on air about how we found this product through the QVC Find a Beauty Brand competition.
Our QVC buying team are constantly looking at new brands on a daily basis and indeed travel around the world searching out new brands, but this competition helps to unearth some more diverse products and founders, and allows us to share the excitement of a fresh concept, a new ingredient, or a different approach to beauty that they have excited myself and the panel with.
Our current co-winners (because we just couldn’t choose between them) are Little Ondine, with their innovative peel-off nail varnish and NIOD skincare and the year before our winner was artisan London brand Soapsmith.
Please do spread the word about this great opportunity and await the excitement and buzz of something new again in January.