As the battle between small, personal companies and big multi-nationals continues, one company in the beauty industry has just been acquired by one of the biggest names in the world.
Global brand Unilever has just purchased the skincare experts Dermalogica for an undisclosed amount. With sales last year of $240 million, Dermalogica is far from a small fish, but this does represent a move that more professional brands seem to be making.
With other brands such as OPI being sold to Coty, this is not the first multi-national to dip its toe into the professional beauty industry, but what does this mean for the salons and consumers who subscribe to these brands?
The immediate reaction always seems to be one of horror. The bigger a professional brand becomes, the widely available its owners want to make it. What was once prescriptive-only skincare could find itself forced into every department store in the country. For huge companies such as Unilever, the bottom line is key, and that means sales. If Dermalogica are to increase their sales dramatically, then they will almost certainly have to compromise on their ethics.
However, the purchase is not necessarily something that should fill salon owners with feelings of doom and gloom. As one of the biggest brands in the industry, Dermalogica already offer a lot of support to their accounts. With perks such as free training and booking systems for all their customers, Dermalogica give more than most, and with the huge financial power of Unilever behind them, could they now start offering even more? It may also mean a gradual decrease in the trade prices of the Dermalogica products, which can only be a good thing for a business owner.
Whilst the lure of big bucks may prove too much for the company to resist, it is not fair to write them off just yet. After a heady campaign against unauthorised sellers of Dermalogica products, it doesn’t seem likely that they will now just sell-out as many predict. This is a brand with huge consumer awareness and great acclaim for its products and so can still be a big feature for many salons.
Of course, it is not a brand for everyone, and many are now seeking out smaller names for niche products and a more personal service, but this sale shouldn’t automatically mean the cancellation of your Dermalogica account. Not just yet, anyway.