“The cosmetics industry is not sensitive to a crisis.
Faye Veugelers has always been involved in beauty and her love for cremes started from an early age. She has been supporting the beauty start-up, the Coucou club for a couple of months and shares her view on where the beauty industry is headed.
︎︎︎SHANNON ORIE / TECHNOLOGY
How did your enthusiasm for beauty originate?“I have always been into beauty. When I worked at the Douglas I noticed that I don't really like Chanel or Dior creams and the perfumes they have there. That's really just junk, they're not clean products. I started looking at brands that aren't very commercial.”
What are your thoughts on the clean beauty movement?“I am a fan of it. Clean beauty is safe for your health, so sulphates free, parabens free and toxic free. I started smearing cream from an early age, because I had eczema and dry skin. When you see what it takes to make a cream and what you actually need, there is a big difference!”
Did the last couple of months create some eye-openers for you?“Yeah, I guess how Covid-19 can influence a company. All start-ups went under and the Coucou club made double profits in the months April and May than the year before. Even 3 times more!”
What is the purpose of the Coucou club as a beauty company?“Their concept is that they share brands and products from other countries and cultures, which they introduce to the Dutch market. Their goal is actually to become the biggest beauty platform.”
What do you like about Coucou’s clubs way of working?“How they choose their products… Well, actually their whole concept! They bring a lot of cool brands to the Netherlands that you wouldn't know otherwise.”
Rosa-Milly (our common friend) described you as an enthusiastic beauty fanatic. Would you ever want to start your own beauty brand?“I think it's a very interesting industry, because I saw that it's not very crisis sensitive. I do think it's very difficult to create your own formulas and set up a brand. But if I want to start something, it certainly is the beauty industry.”
Faye, what is your go-to beauty product?“I became a fan of Lixirskin, because of the Coucou club. I really like the universal emulsion, it's a day and night cream and it lasts a long time. They also have a vitamin C paste which will give you a nice glow all day long and a smooth effect, as if you just came out of the sun. Highly recommended!”
I saw something really fun, named the Coucou college. Can you tell me what it is?“That's where Coucou explains to the customer about the ingredients in a product. We sell a product that contains niacinamide, but what the fuck is that? It is informing, explaining and involving the customer so that everything is as transparent as possible. This is done by nice graphic designs, instead of rags of text that you have to read.”
One of your tasks at the Coucou club was helping to choose products that are suitable for the brand. How does that work?“We look for what's trending now and a brand that sells the coolest version of that product. We research what it is all good for and let it test by the expert panel. All products that are sold at the Coucou club have been approved first. After testing the expert would or wouldn’t recommend it.”
What brands are the coucou club's main competitors?“I have to say that there is not anything like them in the Netherlands. You have Violet Grey, a beauty brand from America. And they were selling some of the same brands, but they are also quite big and niche and that comes more towards skins. So a little bit more expensive. I couldn't find a direct competitor that really offered the same concept, branding and feeling. It's a company with their own style.”
Do you have certain brands that you look up to?“Drunk elephant I think is a very cool company. They also have a whole philosophy behind their brand. Holifrog is also a brand that I currently use. They specialize in just cleansers and they are also very natural.”
What are your thoughts on sustainability?“I'm trying to live towards those standards but, not everything has to be organic for me.”
So much is happening right now. Where do you think the beauty industry is going?“I think ‘clean’ is becoming more and more the norm and it almost is! My research at the Coucou club was also about if a store is needed at a cosmetics company. I think a physical experience is needed to engage customers. I also want to feel, smell and test a cream before I buy it.”
Now i’m curious, what are your thoughts on virtual makeup try-ons then?“It can never be as good as really trying it yourself physically. With a foundation it's difficult. I know it's hard to apply a foundation color to a skin, even on the face of it. Cosmetics are something very personal, especially when you look at makeup. So I'm not really a supporter of it, but I think it's not to be missed either.”
Is a physical experience a direction the Coucou club would take?
“For the Coucou club a store is a big risk and a lot of costs. They started as an online website and want to stay that way and therefore a pop-up store twice a year is a good idea for them. I have to say that they always give samples with your purchase. So in that way they try to get customers to consider new products as well.”
Have you ever heard of 'boy beauty'? What do you think of gender-neutral beauty products?
“Yes, I fully support that! I think that the skin types and I don't want to say masculine or feminine, because of course that is not gender neutral. But I do think that they have a different skin structure, that should be treated differently. There are products that would be good for any skin, but to treat specific things a distinction should be made.”
Do you think this is something the Coucou Club could also focus on?
“They have a lot of unisex products, but of course everything is in pink and colorfull so their biggest customer is a woman.”
What does beauty inclusivity mean to you?
“I think everyone is equal. Everyone can use it and doesn't have to be ashamed of it. But also that you don't get a strange look when someone walks by with makeup you wouldn't think of or wouldn't expect it from. Skincare is very easy to apply and should become the norm.”
In what ways is The Coucou club working on beauty inclusivity?
“It is very important to them that it should be applicable to everyone. In terms of price and quality. They have products that are more expensive like serums, but in general they are quite affordable.”
If you could change something in the beauty industry, what would it be?
“A lot is focused on women, but I think more awareness could be created towards men. Men need to be cared for as well. It has never been brought into them, so they never do. But my boyfriend sits here every night like oh, do you have a cream for me, because I have such dry skin. Men have such a different texture and such a different skin. It should be standard for men to spend their money on that.”
What do you think is an emerging trend that we are going to see in the beauty industry?
“I think less is more. As little makeup as possible even though it is a booming business, but I believe it is something we are moving forward to.”