Pinch Of Colour Takes Its Waterless Products And Water Conservation Message Abroad
When beauty industry veteran Linda Treska introduced Pinch of Colour in August 2016, it was already certified for sale in the European Union to prepare for the possibility of international growth.
Last year, that possibility became reality, and the New York-based waterless beauty brand traveled abroad in a major way with launches at German retailers Douglas and Engelhorn, British e-tailer Cult Beauty, and Middle Eastern luxury retail and real estate giant Al Tayer Group’s online fashion shop Nisnass. Next month, Pinch of Colour is adding to its international distribution by appearing on QVC in the U.K.
“The U.S. market has really caught on to naturals. I think Europe still needs some work, and the customer needs to be educated on naturals, but I feel that Europe is following along, and the potential is huge,” says Treska, whose resume is dotted with recognizable beauty companies like Vincent Longo, Laura Mercier, Laura Geller and Estée Lauder. “If we get lucky – and I believe you have to be a little lucky – and store expansion happens, it could be a quite significant part of our business.”
Pinch of Colour is stepping into international markets with prudence. At Douglas and Engelhorn, the brand started online, which Treska favors to allow her brand time to study consumer tastes and the operational elements of working with a retailer before leaping into physical stores. This year, Pinch of Colour is expected to roll out to physical locations at ritzy department store Engelhorn and Douglas, a massive multichannel player with around 2,400 units in 21 European nations.
Discussing Douglas, Treska says, “I didn’t think they were going to be bring us on board because we’re a small company, and I thought they were probably looking for big companies. On the contrary, the German customer is demanding natural beauty, and they’re investing money in good-for-you products and products with a story that don’t just make you feel good, but have a purpose behind them.”
“The German customer is demanding natural beauty, and they’re investing money in good-for-you products and products with a story that don’t just make you feel good, but have a purpose behind them.”
She continues Middle Eastern consumers are warming up to emerging beauty brands, too. Al Tayer Group approached Pinch of Colour to join the assortment at Nisnass because it was hunting for brands with sustainability as components of their missions. Pinch of Colour partners with organizations to address shortages of drinkable water. The brand’s waterless approach underscores the value of conserving water and is also a formulation preference. Its product formulas incorporate ingredients such as rose hip and jojoba oils, and mango seed butter to yield rich textures.
“They sponsor different projects around the world, so it was a natural fit for them to find a brand that shares the same views about sustainability and access to clean water,” says Treska of Al Tayer Group, elaborating, “I visited the Middle East, and it’s a huge and growing market with a high spend. Women love makeup there more than here, and they have the money to afford buying makeup. They’re getting more and more curious about natural beauty, and are open to brands other than just the high-end names we all know.”
Ideally, Treska estimates Pinch of Colour’s international accounts would constitute 30% of its sales, 20% would come from its digital presence, and 50% would be driven by American retailers. In the U.S., the brand’s largest retailer is Anthropologie, where it’s carried in 155 stores and online. It’s available on QVC’s website domestically as well. Pinch of Colour is beginning to team up with distributors in select countries. For example, it’s signed on a distributor in Finland to place its products in Finnish specialty retailers.
Most of Pinch of Colour’s retailers stock its full range of 21 stockkeeping units priced from $21 to $65. The brand is on track to have 30 SKUs by the end of the year. Pinch of Color made a waterless statement early on with Matte Velvet Waterless Lip Colour lipsticks. Subsequently, its Honey Glow Waterless Balm highlighter had been a bestseller until Healthy Lips Waterless Lip Oil premiered last year and, according to Treska, “really killed it.”
“It’s one of my main jobs to be on top of them and ask to be involved in sales and events. I’m not waiting for them to come up with ideas. I’m going to them saying, ‘Hey, can we do a promotion this month or a bundle for the holidays?’”
To be successful at retail, Treska has learned it’s important to be a strong advocate for her brand. “As a little guy, if you don’t scream loud enough, they don’t hear you. There are so many new brands, and everybody is screaming to be heard,” she says. “It takes a lot of stamina to be on top of them, but it’s one of my main jobs to be on top of them and ask to be involved in sales and events. I’m not waiting for them to come up with ideas. I’m going to them saying, ‘Hey, can we do a promotion this month or a bundle for the holidays?’”
Pinch of Colour hasn’t taken on outside investment to support its retail spread. “I’m the 100% sole owner of the company, and I intend to keep it that way in 2019. I hope to never have to bring on an investor, but, if we do, it has to be the right investor,” says Treska. “An investor would have to understand the soul and heartbeat of the brand, and everything we are trying to accomplish. If that person comes along, we would be happy to consider outside funding, but that hasn’t happened.”
On its own, the brand’s sales are surging. In 2017, its sales increased 85% from the prior year. Last year, they jumped about 118%. By its fifth year in business, Treska’s goal is for Pinch of Colour to hit $10 million in revenues. In order to get there, she envisions the brand securing a substantial retailer or two in the U.S. to complement Anthropologie, permeating the international retailers that have picked it up, and entering a few countries – Treska points to Australia – it hasn’t yet cracked.
“If we get to these milestones by year five, I know this brand will have a very long future ahead,” says Treska. “It has to be done right, so we are building it carefully one brick at a time. I’m in no rush.”