Lime Crime, a fast-growing cruelty-free cosmetics brand, recently launched in China. However, given the country’s requirement that all wholesale cosmetics manufacturers test their products on animals, the vegan brand knew that it would have to seek out an alternative method of reaching Chinese consumers. The company’s Global General Manager, Kim Walls addressed this marketing issue at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Shop.org Conference in Los Angeles last year, “Looking at China, one of the things I knew based on prior experience is that we couldn’t sell in any of the ways that I knew how to sell,” she said.
In addition, while the problem of animal testing could be avoided if the company simply shipped directly to consumers from the USA, doing so quickly presented major logistical and customer service issues concerning import taxes, return processing, and customer inquiries, which would all have to be handled in a foreign language and or currency.
However, it was Lime Crime’s counterfeit product problem that actually ended up presenting the solution. After discovering that over one million units of its popular lip topper product were being copied and illegally sold in markets around China, the company knew that it had to find a way to let consumers know where to buy the real product. They decided to partner with Revolve an e-commerce fashion brand that had also recently expanded into the Chinese market and was interested in adding a beauty brand component.
By encouraging Chinese consumers who arrived at the company website or social media channels to visit Revolve to purchase products, word quickly got out that Revolve was the only legitimate venue for buying LimeCrime makeup. The company also issued access to its e-commerce hub two hours before the official launch to existing fans of the brand, which helped generate buzz and site traffic. Partnering with online influencers who were genuinely passionate about Lime Crime products, proved to be the final ingredient, allowing the brand to quickly get the word out via those who know and love its products the most. The certified vegan brand can now be purchased in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, in addition to the United States and Canada.