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Organic and or Natural Beauty Products – How Europe Manages the Beauty Industry

Before digging into how Europe manages the ingredients used to manufacture cosmetic products, it becomes necessary to understand why this is so important. Personal care products, otherwise known as beauty products or cosmetic products, are known to contain over 10,500 chemical ingredients. Many of these ingredients are toxic in nature. Toxins are poisons and when used over long periods of time, can cause serious damage to one’s health. Women use an average of over 5 pounds of lotions and creams annually. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is very porous, allowing over 70% of what is applied to the skin to seep into our bodies and into our bloodstream. Through clinical studies, it has been proven that the very same toxins found in a mother’s blood have been found in the umbilical cord of the fetus. Many of these toxic (poison) ingredients are carcinogenic and can be linked to cancer as well as respiratory problems in infants, birth defects, liver and kidney disease, etc.

Perhaps now it is clear as to why it is so important to know what is being done around the world to monitor what goes into the manufacture of cosmetic products and why it should be so very important for consumers to use only certified organic and/or natural beauty products.

Europe, Asia, and Oceania have taken major steps in controlling the ingredients used in beauty products. In this article the focus will be on Europe, while future articles will tackle how other parts of the world address this issue. Having said that, one might ask what about the US? Unfortunately, with the cosmetic business being such a large (50 billion) and extremely profitable business, the US cosmetic companies employ lobbyists in Washington to prevent changes in the laws regulating the industry. Shocking as it might seem, the Cosmetic Industry is self-regulated. It can determine what it wants to bring to market without any pre-testing by any government or private agencies.

Currently Europe has one Government authority that controls the ingredients of beauty products, the European Union (EU). However, there are private institutions operating in five countries that provide independent laboratory testing to the many cosmetic companies operating throughout Europe. These independent organizations use the authority of the EU to manage the process, but in some cases, go beyond the regulations required by the EU to determine and qualify products as certified organic and/or natural beauty products. These organizations are:

-BDIH operating out of Germany;
-ECOCERT & COSMEBIO from France;
-SOIL ASSOCIATION from the UK;
-ICEA from Italy;
-BIOFORUM from Belgium

These six organizations combined also make up what is known as the COSMOS-standard. The COSMOS-standard has not yet achieved legal status, but that will be delved into later in this article. At this juncture, let’s look at how the EU manages this process.

What is the European Union? What are its aims and results? How does it work? In summary, the answers to these questions are:

-27 democratic countries participate in the EU economically and politically;
-498 million citizens in these 27 countries look to the EU for safe, consumable products, including beauty products;
-It’s results in the beauty category provide for not just safer products, but a greener environment as well;
-It works because each country sets up bodies to adopt and manage the EU’s legislation.

The COSMOS-standard represents the European cosmetic organic standards working group. It is made up of the previously mentioned organizations. It is expected to be legalized by April, 2010 by the pronouncement of the Belgian Royal Decree. Excerpts of the main objectives of the COSMOS- standards and taken directly from their final document dated January, 2010, can be summed up as follows:

“Establishing a ‘sustainable development’ that would reconcile economic progress, social
responsibility and maintain the natural balance of the planet is a project in which the cosmetics
sector is willing to be fully involved… the organic and natural cosmetics sector clearly shows its ambition to go further in setting a new standard for organic and natural cosmetics.”

The following represents a summary of a set of simple rules that will be used to manage the organic and natural beauty industry. The main focus is on prevention and safety in all segments of the manufacturing process, that is, from raw materials to market ready final products.

The rules will focus on human health through:

-Organic agriculture and natural resources always with respect for the environment;
-A manufacturing process that is environmentally clean while, at the same time, utilizing and expanding a more green philosophy that ultimately will create a higher standard for organic and natural beauty products.

The six organizations making up the COSMOS-standard, namely BDIH, ECOCERT & COSMEBIO, SOIL ASSOCIATION, ICEA, and BIOFORUM, each have their own set of standards for certifying organic and/or natural beauty products. It would take a book to delineate each agencies processes. Suffice it to say that Europe has taken a lead position on this subject through the EU and continues to improve its status by moving forward with the COSMOS-standard. One of the results of the EU’s legislation is that they have already banned over 1100 chemical ingredients used in the manufacture of beauty products, while the US has banned a mere 10.

The US, with its lack of leadership in this industry, has left the consumer vulnerable to the poisons we already know cause harm to pregnant mothers, their babies, and to the millions of consumers that have used these toxins for decades. Over time, with many countries around the world coming together to prohibit these toxic ingredients from being used in beauty products, hopefully the US will change current legislation and demand pre-testing of beauty products before they are released to the public. Further, hopefully the US will also permit independent agencies to test products to qualify them to be labeled as certified organic and/or natural beauty products. In the meantime, when shopping for certified products, simply look for the logos of the aforementioned companies out of Europe. In doing so, you will be assured of using safe, non-toxic beauty products.

Professional Beauty Products Are Not What They Appear to Be

Your hairdresser may act like your best friend when you are sitting in her chair but the reality is that the salon industry is a cut throat business and the biggest deception in the whole game is the misunderstanding and mis-valuing of the importance of professional beauty products. Think for a moment about every shampoo commercial you have ever seen on television. Can you remember the names of the advertisers? Companies like Paul Mitchell, John Frieda, Herbal Essences, and L’Oreal among others are some of the biggest spenders of advertising dollars during day time television shows that target women. These advertisers are the exact people that do not want you reading this article.

Simply put, the professional beauty products industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business that in many instances reaps its profits at the expense of deceiving the very same customer base that it claims to help. The truth of the matter is that once you strip away the attractive models, beautiful celebrity endorsers, and fancy packaging you are left with a product that is not superior to the run of the mill drug store brand shampoo or conditioner that can be found in any low end grocery store or pharmacy. I am describing a situation that is very analogous to the concept of brand name pharmaceuticals compared to generic brand drugs that perform the same functions because their built from the same active ingredients. While the effectiveness of generic versus name brand stands the scrutiny of lab work including testing performed by the FDA the only discernible difference is that one version is circulated by an internationally recognizable brand name that charges a premium to financially support the continued advertisement and advancement of that brand image. This exact same concept applies to the business of beauty products and particularly shampoos and conditioners that are set at price points that are prohibitively expensive for the average consumer.

While many would argue that business is just business and that any consumer uninformed enough to spend top dollar when they can get the exact same product for a fraction of the cost is getting exactly what she deserves I would argue a different point. Consumer advocacy groups are in place to set standards regarding fair practices and to enforce anti-fraudulent behavior. The end consumer is ultimately responsible for how they use their spending power but the target market should also be considered when analyzing this specific case. Self-esteem and self image are two points in particular that deserve attention when evaluating the merits of the top tier brands that prey on consumer insecurities.

The way to put an end to this reckless assault on the American housewife is for women around the country to educate each other on the matter and then vote with their collective pocket books. Nothing sends a message like supporting a cause with purchasing power. Spread the message by sharing this article with a neighbor, sister, or friend so that the message will be heard throughout the hair product industry that enough is enough.

Avon Beauty Center Business Plan – What You Need To Know

An Avon Beauty Center Business Plan gives you a process to evaluate the profitability of your Avon Beauty Center, enhances the site selection process and provides a basis for loan application. Representatives can earn four ways with a Licensed Beauty Center: retail sales from new customers, brochure sales, recruiting, and the halo effect of retail visibility and consumer awareness on your overall direct selling business. Here are the essential components of the licensed Avon beauty center business plan that will help you win new customers and increase revenue.

Site Selection

One of the primary ways to drive traffic to your retail business is by selecting the right location. Avon will approve the selection and can also help you decide. You should seek sites that have 100,000 population within 5-10 miles, demographics with 20% or more female age 18-44, a minimum 2 commercial areas within your trade area, and an average household income $30-50K. Check your local Chamber of Commerce for free household and population data.

Once you have located the shopping center, you need to balance the opportunity, cost, and risk, by looking at the anchor tenant, occupancy levels, tenant mix, visibility, quality and activity.

When considering a space, look at the physical layout, competition and the lease proposal. A real estate broker can often help you evaluate the lease terms, a contractor can suggest improvements, and it may be wise to have an attorney review your plans before you finalize them.

Start Up Costs

The licensed Avon Business Center Operator is responsible for setting up the space. There are no Avon licensing fees at this time. Representatives in good standing recommended by Division and District Managers and approved by their Regional VP may apply.

Products are tracked on a Beauty Center separate account and all purchases are guaranteed 50% earnings over cost. Applicants must qualify for Paymentech credit card processing.

The two largest monthly expenses will be the lease payments and staffing costs. Advertising is additional. Start up costs including first month’s rent, legal certificates, insurance, cash register, credit card processing equipment, telephone and miscellaneous supplies range from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on lease amount. In addition, the suggested opening order for kiosks is $15,000 customer price. Avon provides credit for 60/120 days to minimize up front costs, and publishes a list of most popular products for sale.

Avon provides on counter signage, visual merchandising unit, testers, samples, sales aids, training manuals and video, and other start up supplies. Avon will also provide a Customer Care Contact at each branch location.

Staff

A well trained, knowledgeable staff is a key factor in the success of your Avon Beauty Center Business Plan because the staff will build your business and develop a loyal customer base. A beauty business is made up of basic, transactional and holiday business so it is critical the Representative and staff have retail experience, know the retail selling calendar, and schedule accordingly. The retail business is about customer relationships, long hours and great staff.

By covering the basic ingredients of the Avon Beauty Center Business Plan in your planning, you are including the key aspects that help you set up and run your new Center correctly right from the start.