BEAUTY KNOWHOW: The customer is always right

The cleverest skincare brands are learning to listen to what you want.

The normal way of things when it comes to launching beauty products is for a founder to have a vision then work with labs and chemists to turn it into reality. But a couple of brands are doing things differently.

Take Volition, a US-based skincare range started by Brandy Hoffman and Patricia Santos who, between them, have almost 40 years of experience in the beauty industry.

volition celery green creamWhen they started their brand they decided to put customers first in every way. Each of their products begins as an idea suggested by a customer and is then assessed for originality and feasibility. After that, ideas are put to the vote on their website and the winners go into development.
volition Strawberry-C Serum

Once it’s given the green light, an ‘innovator’ works with Brandy and Patricia on the formula, texture and scent and also tests samples. When it hits shelves, the innovator gets a percentage of net sales. It was daunting, says Patricia, ‘letting go of control with product development’, but embracing a highly engaged customer base has more than paid off. Bestsellers include Celery Green Cream (£31) and Strawberry-C Serum (£36, both

glossybox night serumMeanwhile, subscription service Glossybox has taken its customers’ feedback about the products they like, dislike and why, and used it to launch its own skincare range, tested for a year by its most loyal subscribers. With the feedback revealing that dry, irritated skin was a big bugbear, the line includes: 3-in-1 Moisturiser (£22.50), which is effective but not greasy; Night Serum with blueberry oil to hydrate (£22.50) and Exfoliating Clay Scrub for a deep but gentle cleanse (£20,

glossybox exfoliating clay scrubAs environmental concerns were also key among Glossybox’s users, the range is made in the UK with zero-waste-to-landfill production.

A real sweetie

Brissi bon bon jarFor a beautiful glass jar to house bathroom essentials such as cotton buds, I always turn to Brissi. Alas, its shops closed last year but Brissi has been reborn online and its Rivoli BonBon jar (from £8, is super-stylish. Also marvellous is its Bath & Shower Gel in Côte D’Azur (£18) with getaway notes of bergamot and musk.

Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson