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Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

VOCAST has been curating lists for the German Fashion and Home Interior sectors for many years now. Due to the high relevance of the German Market for all brands in both segments, we hosted webinars for you to learn more about the potential of Germany and how to unlock this large market as a company. Germans value craftsmanship, sustainability, transparency, and quality. They will buy into a company more than solely a product, which is why Scandinavian lifestyle brands have been very successful within the German market for quite some time now.

Find a recap of important things to know about the market. Here is why and how you should go about conquering the German Lifestyle Market:

 

“Berlin is home to the dense concentration of fashion businesses in Germany. With approximately 3100 companies and 25400 people employed, Berlin is Germany’s Fashion capital!”

German efficiency is not only a cliché

German efficiency is a phenomenon based on the truth! It is a cliché we Germans are proud of and an image we like to continue to portray to others. For you, this does mean extra work though! German people expect you to reciprocate the level of efficiency when working. If there’s anything you want or need attending to, it is expected of you to do so in an efficient manner. Have all your facts straight, and know what you need to when approaching someone. Knowledge within a subject matter is absolutely vital. No one wants to be wasting anyone’s precious time, so ensure that you are being thorough. This also goes for punctuality. When meeting someone in person, make sure to be a few minutes early…Germans don’t like waiting!

Being direct yet polite is the key

Germans are known to be direct and blunt, but being polite is key! They might not reciprocate the kindness if you catch them on a bad day, but hey no one is perfect! If you want something, don’t hesitate to ask! Being direct is preferred, don’t waste anyone’s time! The German standard for politeness and etiquette is slightly different from some other countries. When addressing someone with “you” in German there are multiple forms. “Du” and “Sie”. When speaking to someone you don’t know, you should always address them with the “Sie” form and their last name, especially when having E-mail contact. You can switch to a first name and “du” basis when they invite you to do so! If you’re unsure of how to speak to someone always choose the more formal version, just in case!

Consistence, Practicality and Budgets

German people are known to be easily recognizable on any vacation and as much as that construct is a cliché it is based on facts. Comfort and practicality are elements highly valued by the German consumer. Paired with the love of things being easy, efficient, and consistent and the ability but not desire to invest a lot of money, the German spending culture may seem different to other markets.​

 

Get acquainted with the German media landscape

Included in VOCAST’s German curated lists

 

A rich influencer scene

Germany is obviously a very large market, with over 83 million people inhabiting the European country. When it comes to influencers there are an endless amount of digital creators. Whether known on Instagram, Youtube, or more recently, TikTok, German influencers are present on various social media platforms with the ability to reach a large group of people. This makes influencer marketing essential for brands wanting to gain traction within the German market.

Stefanie Giesinger is one of the most well-known German Fashion Influencers with nearly 4 Million followers on Instagram, followed by Leonie Hanne, Caro Daur, and Xenia Adonts, all of which can be found in our Top 10 Fashion Advocates list, with consent, ready to be contacted. These prominent, globally known influencers only make up three of the many relevant influencers. With brands working with different aesthetics, brand values, and products, there are countless micro as well as macro-influencers.

Stefanie Giesinger

One of Germany’s influencers with the highest following on Instagram, Stefanie Giesinger has 3.9M followers and takes her followers on a daily journey of fashion, travel and more.

Anuthida Ploypetch

Anuthida is an influencer with over 421k followers on Instagram. She is based in Berlin and has a very edgy style, which is well-known in the city!

 

Daniela Schinke - Wunderblumen

Daniela Schinke is the face behind the popular interior account @wunderblumen. The colourful and tasteful interior profile attracted over 147k profiles following Daniela’s home.

 

Julia Ballmaier - My home is my horst

Julia is the face behind “My home is my horst”. She is an interior blogger, stylist, author and mother with over 11k people following her design journey.

 
 
 

 

 

Print and Online Publications

Berlin may be the Fashion capital of Germany but the large publishing houses such as Condé Nast and Burda Media are based in Munich. The high fashion and commercial magazines are predominantly based in Munich and Hamburg with Berlin housing more quirky and individual magazines, which are not owned by big media corporations.

With 60+ magazines online publications solely in the fashion segment, brands have the ability to make informed decisions on where they see brand features to be most relevant and have the luxury to select the best matches for them and still saturate the market with content. Discover a few of the many publications you have access to through the German Curated Lists below!

Fashion Magazines

There are many commercially known magazines like VOGUE, ELLE, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and more in Germany.

Fashion Magazines

The more edgy publications are produced on a much smaller scale but with just as much impact! Discover magazines such as 032c or INDIE on the German Curated lists now and learn more about the Berlin-based publications.

Home Interior Magazines

From Architectural Digest to Elle Decoration, Germany has its own version of all the known publications as well as its own successful publications such as Schöner Wohnen.
Find the magazines on our curated lists alongside many others.

 

Meet some of the editors

Kerstin Weng

Kerstin Weng is the Editor-in-Chief at InStyle Germany and has been since 2016, before then she had the role of Editor-in-Chief at Cosmopolitan Germany.

 

Alexandra Link

Alexandra is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief Digital at ELLE & Harper’s BAZAAR Germany & Esquire.

 

Stefanie Bärwald

Stefanie Bärwald is the interior design editor at Schöner Wohnen magazine and more recently also for the new publication Guido’s Deko Queen.

 

Andreas Lichtenstein

Andreas Lichtenstein is the deputy editor-in-chief and creative director at Living at Home magazine.

 

 

To get access to the German curated lists of these Magazines, Influencers, Architects, Editor-in-chiefs, Editors, and more

   

Isabelle is the German Market Coordinator, responsible for the fashion and lifestyle research and coordination within the German market. She has a degree in Fashion Promotion and works as a Copywriter at a creative agency alongside her work at VOCAST.

 

 

 

 

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RELATED POSTS

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

VOCAST has been curating lists for the German Fashion and Home Interior sectors for many years now. Due to the high relevance of the German Market for all brands in both segments, we hosted webinars for you to learn more about the potential of Germany and how to...

Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

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Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up and coming influencers, otherwise known as micro-influencers, are without a doubt one of the most exciting demographics on social media in the eyes of any lifestyle brand. Micro-influencers are usually defined by having a humble number of followers whilst having a very strong engagement and conversion on their SoMe platforms – meaning that they have a measurable level of trust with their audience. This niché group of influencers are golden to marketing strategies.

Community Curators

A community influencer, in the most literal sense, is an individual who impacts the lives, decisions, and habits of those in their close vicinity. When it comes to social media this vicinity may not have global bounds, but a community it is nonetheless and micro-influencers play a vital role in SoMe communities. Oftentimes, they are connected in real life to other micro-influencers in their city or industry, and together they have an immense impact on the livelihood of consumerism within the community that they are not only a part of and are helping to shape. 

Whether it be within fashion or home interior, brands can utilize this method of marketing to their advantage by targeting the exact group of consumers they want – be it a community of Copenhagen city-girls who are sustainable in their fashion purchases, or a global community of home interior lovers who are obsessed with pastel color pallets. The amazing thing about up and coming influencers in any given market is that they curate content for the community that they themselves are a part of. So they know who they’re talking to and how to get the job done when creating content with your brand!

Social Shifters

As influential community curators within the lifestyle industry, up and coming influencers also have the power to enact real social change. A micro-influencer is not just a marketing tool, they are a talented content creator who is great at what they do because they know how to connect with their audience from a place of trust and honesty – whilst telling visually beautiful stories of course! As Gen-Z gets older, and the purchasing power of this generation grows, the market will have to adapt to them. According to Forbes:

“today’s consumers, particularly younger demographics, are looking for brands who care about connecting with consumers through authentic, nontraditional representation.

It’s particularly critical for brands to make diversity a priority in their influencer outreach because of how influencer marketing works. Audiences are drawn to influencer marketing because of its relatability. Influencer marketing works best when it comes from a place of authenticity and audiences can relate to what’s being shared.” 

The pool of micro-influencers is more diverse in comparison compared to macro-influencers and that’s what’s so rich about them. By working with micro-influencers, brands can reach so many different consumer profiles. Society and its values are constantly changing, and studies show how younger consumers are not only more engaged in social media marketing, but the influencers that they tend to follow are more diverse and socially aware, as found in a study reported by Marketing Dive:​

 

  • Almost half (44%) of Generation Z has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, compared with 26% of the general population.
  • 36% of influencer-following consumers saying they follow a more diverse group of influencers than they did before the protests against racial inequality started in the summer.
  • 65% of consumers saying they would stop following an influencer who says or does something that doesn’t align with their personal ethics and values.
  • 32% of respondents saying they had purchased more products/services from businesses that are endorsed by influencers from different racial and cultural backgrounds.

On The Rise

Up and coming influencers are, as the name suggests, always on the rise. This means that an influencer who is rising in the Danish home interior sector today may be a top advocate within the industry by next year. The interesting thing about these influencers is that by working with them now, as they are still classed as “micro”, your brand will have access to communities that have great engagement and conversation rates from SoMe marketing and who really trust the influencer you’ve partnered with.

Hence, linking your brand to that concept of authenticity in the eyes of these communities. Moreover, as they become “macro” influencers, your brand will be associated with a content creator who can grow from a position of consumer trust and social significance. You can read even more about the ins and outs of influencer marketing in our article Influencer Marketing: An ever-changing industry that is here to stay.

Industry Insight

We spoke to Alessandra Giffuni, The Founder of The Talent Lab, to hear her expert insight on what makes an up and coming influencer exciting for brands and why you should actively be working and co-creating with them.

Alessandra Giffuni is an entrepreneur based out of Milan. A creative at heart, she is passionate about marketing, education, and real-world experiences as a means of learning.

She was first introduced to the fashion industry while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Marketing in Milan, Italy, which eventually led her to co-found Global Fashion Travels, an educational travel experiences company that brings the New York and Milan fashion worlds to entrepreneurs and university students across different programs.

In 2020, she founded and currently leads The Talent Lab, a global influencer marketing agency that operates between Milan and Miami. The Talent Lab exclusively represents over 30 talented influencers and content creators across different markets and works with the world’s most renowned brands and conglomerates in influencer marketing campaigns.

In your opinion, what would you class as an up and coming influencer?

Within the Italian market specifically, I would say it’s between 20 to 60 thousand followers, in our agency we would define them as micro-influencers. We see a lot of them emerging more and more with really professional content, often the same level of content as the more macro talents we have.

There is also a big trend, especially, with talents that are considered part of a minority that has been underrepresented in the marketing industry, they are finally emerging on a larger scale, which means the overall population is recognizing them as part of mainstream culture. They tended to have smaller numbers in terms of followers and, right now, they have a big role so brands have shifted their attention to these types of profiles too to make a more diverse representation happen. With this, I’m talking more about Europe, in the US, although not perfect, it had already started. There is a focus on inclusivity and representing the diversity of a country in marketing initiatives which wasn’t really there before in the way it is now.

This is just one of a few reasons, though; micro-influencers tend to have a closer relationship to their community and their engagement is higher, so if a brand would like to reach really specific segments, for example, if they’re advertising locally, it makes sense if they’re working with a local talent that will reach the exact community that they want. Micro-influencers here (The Talent Lab) have a high engagement, close ties to their community, high conversion rates – these are the main characteristics. But yes, we see brands becoming more and more inclusive, so that’s really great and a good direction.

 

Do you think that this social activation towards diversity in marketing comes from brands’ initiatives driven by events we’re watching in the news, or rather brands looking to what competitors are doing?

Or, is it a natural trend being pushed on social media by young people following different types of profiles?

It’s all of the above. It’s something that was bound to happen and should have happened earlier in my opinion and I’m very happy to see that this is finally going on. Of course, every market in Europe is different and some markets were ahead of this social change already, for example, France. Here (Italy) it was a pretty big change.

From last year to this year, we saw a huge shift in attention, with Black Lives Matter playing an important role. I think what happened at the beginning of the pandemic really shifted the perception of people in general. Then, when the market demands something brands pay attention – and I think it’s a must that brands pay attention. Maybe some did it because they had to, it’s a learning curve for everyone, but some did it because they understood it and are genuine about it.

In general, though it was bound to happen and, as I said, it happened too late in my opinion. It is also definitely related to Gen-Z – they’re more activists than us millennials! They absolutely care about social change and it’s a very interesting generation. As generations get older and have more purchasing power brands will listen, and some US data shows that the highest conversion rate that social media can have is with Gen-Z.

 

So with this in mind, if we think about numbers and performance, how do you tell if a micro-influencer is up and coming and therefore worth watching out for?

If they grow really fast that’s a good indicator. Especially if we are talking about Instagram, because growing isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago. So, if a talent or content creator is growing a lot it’s a great indicator that they have a great engagement and they are creating content that has been found interesting enough that it’s allowing this growth. With YouTube it’s pretty steady, you don’t really go viral overnight, it’s pretty rare – unlike Tik Tok, where we currently can witness talents going viral overnight. 

 

Then would you say that there’s a correlation between the time taken to create content and the growth rates of influencers?

I don’t think necessarily. Certainly, a good portion of really good content may take a long time to develop. For example, Tik Tok can take a very long time to record, especially if it requires a lot of transitions because then it becomes a whole process. It’s just more the style of Tik Tok is very relaxed, you can be in your sweat pants and in your living room, so it may look like it did not take too long to create but it actually did! Whereas Instagram tends to be glossy.

YouTube usually requires a whole production. Many creators choose a studio set up to create quality content. YouTubers we manage use studios and some of them edit all of their own videos so they really need to have entertainment skills and technical skills. It’s really time-consuming to keep the platform updated. The quality of content is a big driver, but it’s really the relevance that’s another huge driver. It’s who you’re speaking to and if the content is relevant within the platform.

 

So what would your advice be to brands wanting to collaborate with micro-influencers perhaps rather than macro-influencers – particularly when it comes to different marketing initiatives and storytelling ideas?

I’m not advising to do either or, it really depends on what the specific brand wants to do. For instance, if you want to advertise more locally or to a specific community then you’re probably better off reaching that community with micro-influencers. At the same time, you have to have a lot more points of contact to reach the same amount of people, maybe you need 10 micro-influencers to reach the same amount of people as you would have reached with one macro talent with a good engagement. Also, the consistency of working with one talent versus 10 means that the storytelling of that brand is more “under control”.

A key part of influencer marketing is that talents communicate in their own style and the more talents a brand works with the more differences there will be in how the brand story is told, so it just depends on what needs to be achieved. I think actually working with both micro and macro talents is the better strategy based on the marketing initiative. We do work with both types of talent and we get great results with both – it’s all about your approach and your objective.

I also think it’s great for brands to experiment as well, and see how an activation may differ with different types of talents implementing it. Talents all have their own way of communicating that will reach their community in a way that is relevant for them. Giving them the freedom to do that is going to give really good results and I think brands can, and should, experiment to learn what works best for their objectives – they can get so many valuable insights from letting different talents do their thing!

Marketing is a science but also a form of art. Something can work once and you can do it repeatedly but it’s eventually going to get boring and it won’t be relevant anymore. Yet you do need to be continuous – you need continuity to get exponential results so by collaborating multiple times with the same talent you get a fuller picture of what story is being told. But, continuity also means continuously trying new things, and then also bringing back from the past when there’s relevance again.

In other words, marketing never stops. I don’t think it’s so much about reinventing the wheel, I just think we need to be relevant at the appropriate time and to achieve that, you need to be consistent.

 

Georgina is the UK Market Coordinator at VOCAST, responsible for British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry.

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How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

The most cost-efficient marketing program that all brands can execute with next to zero budget.

 

Across most of the western world, retail has been challenged for years by the Internet leading to the mass closure of many small independent stores. And then came Covid-19 on top and made it all worse. Is wholesale dead then? Not if you ask us at VOCAST:

 

“Some of the best fashion brands we work with actually have growth on their wholesale accounts from 2019 to 2020. I didn’t think that was possible in the current condition, so naturally, we have dug through the best cases to learn how they do it, and we discovered that most brands will be able to it with very little resources.

 

One of the great things about this marketing program is, that most brands already have the content needed to help their clients sell more. It is just a matter of delivering it in the right manner.”

“The numbers don’t lie. We have rapid growth in download traffic in our clients’ digital showrooms. After steady growth for a while, we went from 1,8 to 2,5 million unique monthly users a month during Black Friday.

 

An obvious testament, that you need content to sell products. Some of our best-performing clients average close to 100,000 downloads a month. And that activity consists mainly of their wholesale clients downloading images to do Instagram campaigns.”

Co-founder Jens Hamborg Koefoed

​Internet changed publishing

20 years ago the only way to become known in a market went through fashion magazines. So very few, very powerful editors controlled your access to the market. If they featured you, you would be successful. Internet and Social Media have made drastic changes to publishing in the last decade or two. Since the Internet and Social Media have made it possible for anyone to become a publisher, everyone is publishing.

The first of the main consequences of that is, that to get known you have to go through radically more people than you used to reach your market. The second is, that since this number is higher you can’t rely on wining and dining and relations alone like PR people used to. Instead, you have to automate your PR and marketing programs. And then the quality of the content becomes more important since it should be able to engage your audience and tell the story that sets your brand apart.

 

 

Treat retailers like they were magazines

Since traditional printed publications have been losing reach and influence for close to 20 years, who did they lose it to? If you take a look at the fashion shows and who is front row the obvious answer is bloggers and other types of digital influencers that come in so many shapes and sizes. Nothing new here. But retailers also started blogging and Instagramming. They also have websites, newsletters and some even have printed publications.

And the good news is; They already love your product so much they bought it so you don’t have to pay them to market it on their channels. But they could use some help. Not all are professional content creators so they might do content with your products, that you don’t like.

 

But if you supply them with a steady stream of content there will be many positive consequences:

1. They will have you top of mind which is nice because you compete for attention with their other brands.

2. They will know your brand better, thus they will be better at selling it.

3. They won’t damage your storytelling by creating content that tells the wrong story.

4. Your content will help them drive customers into their stores asking for your product rather than the products from other brands.

 

How to get started?

So what do you need for this? Very little actually.

1. Content

You can start with the content you already create for a collection. Campaign shots, lookbook shoots, and product shots of course. But next time you do a photoshoot ask yourself which types of photos would my clients want to publish? In our experience, most great content originates from the original thoughts and the process of the designer.

So take photos and videos when you source products. It can be rough and low cost, start with an iPhone and start experimenting from there. Do content on your production. How is it made? Who is making it? Document the design process, make content on colors, fabrics, tailoring, prints, and other continuous design choices you do along the way.

When you do the classic photoshoots, you should do behind-the-scenes content with an iPhone. Show how fashion is being done.

2. Distributing content

Of course, you can send a link to Dropbox when your clients put in an order, but that won’t make them use your content. Think in snacks rather than meals: So you have to share small selections of content with a theme at a high frequency. Weekly or biweekly depending on your resources.

Do it visually. Everyone in the fashion industry are visual people and they like to be treated accordingly. Beautiful emails with links to visual content.

3. Copy writing

You should inspire them with a few lines for a post accompanied by the images and videos to nudge them to do it immediately rather than next week.

4. Evaluating

If you have a professional tool, you look at the download and engagement metrics to learn what they like and what they don’t. Our experience is, that location is better than studio. Make it personal, tell a story. Flatlays are better than cutouts. But the your clients are unique and they behaviour will tell you their story.

And one last thing: You should make it into a mantra that: The product isn’t sold before our clients sell it.

   

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Beauty advocates in an age of change

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Beauty advocates in an age of change

In every market, there are a select few beauty influencers whose reach and authority are more crucial for your brand’s success than others. Our international research team curates lists of relevant lifestyle media contacts and saw an increased need for a list that selectively showcased these specific personas; Top 10 Beauty Advocates. The advocates we have chosen are continuously updated to reflect the markets’ climate, they are influencers and industry insiders – but it’s not just about how many followers they have, it’s about who follows them and why.

There is an ongoing movement that is increasingly pushing the beauty industry standards to embrace inclusivity, mental health, and sustainable practices. For that reason, we decided to speak to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR, a beauty and lifestyle PR agency based in Copenhagen to share with you why you should aim to work with this new generation of outspoken beauty advocates.

​Beauty influencers a power still to be reckoned with

The rise of beauty influencers and social media has quickly changed the beauty industry. Prior to the social media boom, beauty brands relied heavily on traditional advertising and magazines to reach customers. Fast-forward to now, social media has introduced consumers to a wide range of beauty content covering different types of needs.

From wanting more cleaner beauty products to a more extensive and inclusive range of foundation shades, the increased exposure social media has provided to brands has had consumers beginning to question how commendable their favorite cosmetics brands really are. They are now able to react to campaigns in more direct forms than ever before.

According to Terese, the old-school approach to reaching the new generation of consumers is definitely outdated:

« Before, the beauty industry was mainly dictated by huge media houses and brands. That means a board of people who need to agree, and often it takes a long time to convince big organizations to try something new.

With the rise of beauty influencers, we’ve seen regular people create their own media platforms without having to ask anyone but themselves what they would like to share with the world.

We’ve seen people from different genders, ethnicities, sizes, etc. create huge followings on social media, and today many of them have their own brands or partner with world-renowned brands on collaborations. »

Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR

The importance of collaborating with the right influencers is even more crucial in the beauty realm. According to Forbes after a study made by Harvard Business School MBA graduate Alessia Vettese: « 62% of the women she surveyed in her study said they follow beauty influencers on social media. When asked where these women search information about beauty products prior to purchasing them, social media influencers ranked highest at nearly 67% (…) Advertisements made by companies ranked much lower at 44%. »

When evaluating beauty products before purchase: « The women said influencer marketing sways their purchasing decisions most, while direct-mail marketing is the least effective way to reach them. » – Alessia Vettese

Strong authentic opinions are key

Nowadays, a wide range of social media influencers put authenticity and integrity above all. They are very assertive about who they are and feel responsible to let their followers know that it’s okay to be different and not fit the norm.

Last year, in our article Beauty and Fashion: A powerful alliance, we had the pleasure to speak with professional makeup artist Marie Thomsen, based in Copenhagen who worked with the likes of GANNI, Stine Goya and By Malene Birger. She advised brands to not be afraid to collaborate with influencers that are not only different but also opinionated:

« I think we are going to be very bored with the pretty influencer with good skin. Instead, fashion brands should look for audacious beauty bloggers, as long as they have a really good style. Find the right people to stand out because less perfection gives a stronger impact.

My advice would be to collaborate with strong personalities, daring and opinionated influencers that match the brands and be inspired by people who opt for different standards of beauty.”

And according to Terese, beauty brands are understandably catching up on that:

« I’ve noticed a huge change in how beauty brands work with influencers. Just a few years ago a lot of brands were afraid of working with influencers who are political or in any way take a stand in certain areas. Today they love it and the more they can work with influencers who speak up, the better.

I think it has taken a while over this past decade for brands to understand the value of influencers and how to utilize them as part of their PR and marketing strategies. In the beginning many viewed influencers as models with lots of followers.

Today they understand that it’s not just a pretty face but a person who shares strong opinions on topics. If you work smart with influencers that fit your brand and values, the right match and campaign can make a huge impact on your brand value. »

Powerful messages to create stronger bonds 

Makeup, skincare, haircare, etc…Have in various ways helped many boost their self-esteem, and be more accepting of who they are. This feeling of self-care – exacerbated by the pandemic which forced us to retrieve and pamper – has made a lot of brands realize how important it is to emphasize the message of taking care of oneself both on the outside and inside.

Selena Gomez is one of the latest celebrities to launch her beauty brand. However, instead of just relying on promoting the tangible benefits of her « Rare Beauty » range of products, or her fan-base, her company also puts attention on mental health and empowering people to feel confident in their skin.

A direction, alongside good product reviews, that has helped the brand successfully launch and flourish. The brand has fortuitously reached out to many more with a universal message, and influencers and consumers alike have responded positively.

Rudolph Care is another prime example of a beauty brand that has decided very early on to make sustainability the heart of their business with a powerful message « born sustainable ».

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Une publication partagée par Rudolph Care (@rudolphcare)

The shift we are currently seeing is in full motion, and as we are seeing more and more societal changes occurring in our present times. Outspokenness and subsequent accountability are bound to happen. But how will this keep evolving? Terese believes that the shift we are currently seeing will continue on the same path:

« I think the beauty industry will only keep getting closer to the consumer. Whether led by the brand or ambassadors such as influencers or celebrities, we will see the brands take even more of a stand on societal, ethical, and sustainability issues because this is simply demanded by the consumers today, especially by the younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z.»

Our Top Beauty Advocates Picks

In the slides below you can see an example from each market, hand-curated by our research team. (1-The UK, 2-The US, 3-France, 4-Germany, 5-Denmark, 6-Sweden, 7-Norway, 8-Belgium, 9-The Netherlands).

THE UK - Freddie Harrel

Freddie Harrel is a French-born, Cameroonian, Londoner. One of the most prominent beauty influencers in the UK right now, Freddie is a content creator, entrepreneur, and activist. She’s an influencer who has been in the industry for almost 10 years, making her one of the UK’s original beauty-go-to-gurus. She is an example of someone who is extremely well versed in the ins and outs of not only the beauty and fashion industry, but the wants and needs of the consumer. She recently launched her own beauty brand: Rad Swan – “the conscious brand built with, and for the Global African Diaspora”. The launch of Rad Swan and the social media platform for the brand itself shows how in touch she is with her audience and her knowledge of where the gaps in the beauty market lie.
 
 

Georgina Juel – UK Market Coordinator

THE US - Nyma Tang

Nyma Tang is a Sudanese beauty influencer based in Texas as well as Los Angeles. She is self-taught and has the following base of nearly 2 million (IG + youtube combined). She has gained a lot of recognition as she’s been a strong and loud advocate for greater inclusion, wider shade ranges, and more diversity within the beauty industry, mainly the makeup world. It started off with her youtube series ”The darkest shade” where she reviews the darkest shade of makeup products different brands offer and it quickly became a hit. She felt a need to do this as she herself did not feel represented when buying the products she needed to be able to create her content. Her insights on inclusion and greater representation are highly regarded and valued. 

Cerena Kulego – US Lifestyle Researcher

 

FRANCE - Fatou N'Diaye

Black Beauty Bag is a fashion and beauty blog created by Fatou N’Diaye in 2007. Originally from Mali and Nigeria, the 43-year-old Parisian is one of the first bloggers to focus on empowering and sublimating the beauty of black women in France. When she first created her blog, it was a way to say “I am black, I love myself, and I want to talk about the reality of being a black woman in a society that is not made for her, which goes beyond a lipstick story.” (lemonde.fr). Today, Fatou continues to inspire as a content creator and is also a consultant for major cosmetic and luxury brands.

Ines Boubazine – Research & Marketing Coordinator

GERMANY - Farina Opoku

Farina is a 30-year-old Beauty and Fashion influencer from Cologne. She was one of the first influencers in Germany, who made a name for herself on a larger scale. Her blog was very successful, with Instagram being a logical addition back in the day. Today she has over 1.3 Million followers and collaborates with all relevant beauty brands out there. Farina does very glamorous, yet wearable makeup looks, which her followers love to see. Her hair routine is copied by many and accompanied by her chic sense of style, the influencer from Cologne has a unique audience of followers, covering various areas and niches.

Isabelle Kube – German Market Coordinator

DENMARK - Carla Mickelborg

Carla has a broad lifestyle profile, with a focus on much more than beauty alone. Her life is all about inspiring others to pursue their dreams, focusing on the journey to get there – not just the goal. She covers topics such as well-being, health, and self-development. On her Instagram, you will see traditional beauty tutorials as well as a lot of self-love. She has recently started Carla Club – a community for her followers with live broadcasts on self-development. She also produces 4 podcasts, no specifically about beauty, but about life and love, and has written multiple books.
 

Sarah Friis – Danish Lifestyle Researcher

SWEDEN - Leyla Aksoy

Leyla Aksoy is a professional beauty junky from Stockholm, Sweden. Her expertise within skincare and beauty products began when she as a teenager tried to manage her oily skin and from there a passion and career was born. When Leyla isn’t working as a teacher, which is her day job, she runs a popular Instagram account called @leyglow where she makes beauty tips and tricks accessible for all. Leyla is also one of the Elle Swedens beauty bloggers and is definitely a beauty advocate to trust and seek inspiration from.

Josefine Forslund – Swedish Market Coordinator

NORWAY - Eveline Karlsen

Eveline Karlsen previously worked as a makeup artist and as a salesperson in a luxurious beauty store but has in recent years stepped up her game as a beauty influencer and businesswoman and been successful at it. She has acquired an impressive following on both YouTube and Instagram and has become one of the leading influencers within beauty. She is outspoken and is not afraid to talk with her viewers about personal subjects or her opinions – which has strengthened her integrity.

Sara Linvåg Næss – Norwegian Market Coordinator

THE NETHERLANDS - Nikkie de Jager

Nikkie de Jager is a Dutch makeup star. She started her YouTube makeup tutorial channel in 2008 and now has over 14 million followers on Instagram, almost 14 million on YouTube with more than a billion views for her videos. In January 2020 she reached global news when she revealed she was transgender. She is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations in The Netherlands focusing on themes like racism, gender equality, and women’s rights. The first Dutch YouTube Original series was launched in December 2020 and is a documentary series about her called NikkieTutorials: Layers of Me.
 

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands

BELGIUM - Anouk Matton

Anouk Matton is a Belgian DJ and model who took her passion for makeup and launched her own beauty brand AM Cosmetics. With this vegan makeup line, she wants to boost people’s confidence. What makes it different is that it is made with crystal extracts because she believes in their healing power. The products are divided into three lines based on the crystal: there are products with pink quartz, amber, and jade all in the color palette of the gems.

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands

 

References: A special thanks to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR find them on Instagram and impressionpr.dk – Forbes and Harvard Business School: How Influencers are making over beauty marketing.

   

 

Ines is the Research and Marketing Coordinator at VOCAST. After spending most of her life on the beautiful African continent she has chosen Copenhagen as her home-base. A self-proclaimed “beauty curator”, she previously worked in the beauty industry and is now exploring her passion for digital marketing, fashion PR, and design.

 

 

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Homewear on the rise: how the pandemic influenced our fashion choices

Homewear on the rise: how the pandemic influenced our fashion choices

Homewear on the rise: how the pandemic influenced our fashion choices

The fact that last year was tumultuous, to say the least, comes as a surprise to no one. As the virus spread and the pandemic were underway it forced most countries to shut down and pushed people indoors. This required and brought a number of changes – including our fashion choices. When stuck at home, naturally homewear becomes everyday-wear and so, the trend was fast-approaching.

We’ve gained prodigious insights from Carla Buzasi, CEO at trend forecasters WGSN and Maria Glæsel, CEO & Partner at loungewear brand Aiayu, about what the pandemic has meant for our fashion and what post-pandemic trends might look like.

Growing preference for comfort

In the days prior to lockdowns, regulated times for outdoor activity, and mask mandates, our fashion preferences had begun shifting. An increased interest in comfortability has been on the rise for the past couple of years, with athleisure at the forefront.

With casual clothes becoming more and more functional and gym clothes designed to look good even outside the gym perhaps a mix of styles was inevitable. And so, a shift of trends was on the horizon. Wanting clothing to show off one’s lifestyle and values has become increasingly important to us.

Since athleisure, harmonizes perfectly with the increased focus on sustainability and wellness we have seen in recent years, it likely plays a role in why consumers wholeheartedly have accepted the comfortable style phenomena. 

In 2019, Forbes predicted that the athleisure trend was going to persist thanks to the growth of “comfort-oriented silhouettes”. Along with that, in early 2020, before the pandemic had come to its full fruition Refinery29 stated that the coming fashion year would put coziness and being comfortable at the forefront.

Homewear set to take over our lockdown lifestyle

As the pandemic forced us to swap the outdoors for indoors, it required many to work from home and cancel most social events. When our otherwise immense, globalized world suddenly shrunk into the size of a screen and four walls, even athleisure did not meet our comfortability quota.

Now that we no longer had places to go get dressed for the day started looking a lot different. Our need for fashionable clothing halted, homewear surged and quickly became our main fashion choice.

Although spending on clothes reached all-time lows amid covid-19, loungewear was the one category to see a rise in demand.

Sustainable Danish house and homewear brand Aiayu can attest to this:

The brand has been creating exclusive essentials for a conscious home and wardrobe, using nature’s best materials for over 15 years. And their success has continued throughout the pandemic, as they have seen continued growth and increased demand in all their product categories.

Brand CEO & partner Maria Glæsel describes how they’ve noticed their quality-conscious consumers increased desire to create an elevated home experience. Both in terms of lounge apparel and interior products. Further explaining it she says:

“People are wanting to invest in and elevate their homes and everyday lives, which matches our product universe well.

[They] want versatile everyday items they can wear to a virtual meeting and look professional and pulled together, but also feel entirely comfortable and effortless.

The same applies to home items, people are choosing to invest in products which make another night-in feel a bit more special and elegant.”

Homewear, not just “a sign of the times”

With the rise of athleisure, and not to mention the streetwear trend – that also alludes to a rather comfortable aesthetic with oversized and baggy garments, the homewear trend was well on its way to gaining momentum. And hence, bound to be popularized. That it would require the world to come to a standstill first was, however, more unexpected.

Glæsel, however, emphasizes that Aiayu’s continued success during the pandemic is not solely to be related to something as “a sign of the times”. She rather equates it to their reluctance of adopting a fast-paced, trend-driven approach saying:

“Comfortable luxury is integrated into the design of every Aiayu item. Our “slow fashion” ethos means we have always [been] committed to creating versatile, luxurious, high-quality items that work equally well at home as they do out.

As an original adopter of this model, we have found a core customer group which has always appreciated this about our brand, but given our products’ deep resonance with the current times, our customer base has continued to grow.”

She continues by explaining that: “Research has shown that the pandemic has increased consumer interest in sustainability and that they are happy to see consumers choosing to support brands committed to reducing environmental impacts.”

Just as the rise of athleisure could have correlations to a growing interest in wellness, this raises the question, of loungewear’s rise could be tied to an increased environmental consciousness? Seeing as we grow more conscious of what we choose to purchase and dress in.

Regardless, when our desire to be comfortable overthrows that of dressing up, fashion as a status symbol and measure for well-being renders nearly useless. Judging by this, dressing up might become less about “looking the part”, and more about “feeling the part”.

Aiayu Domus campaign image – “Marlon Throw” blanket

The next trends approaching: Introducing Athflow and Cocoon Swoon

In its annual ‘Pinterest Predicts’ trend report Pinterest forecasts loungewear is here to stay throughout 2021. Though the end of lockdown season seems to be nearing, this doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly shed our comfy layers.

The report introduces both Cocoon Swoon (the new layering) and Athflow (where athleisure meets elegance) as the styles that will take homewear out into the streets.

 

Atflow

Where the Athleisure trend brought outdoor workout clothes indoors, according to Pinterest, Athflow adds a touch of elegance, making the look both functional and aesthetically interesting.

It’s about comfort in all aspects of life with pieces that can easily be dressed up or down depending on whether one’s headed for the office, a yoga class, or the couch. 

Cocoon Swoon

is similar in adapting loungewear to both the continuation of the out of the office and a return to the out of home life. It’s all about layering comfy clothes.

Pinterest explains in its report that the cozy aspect of the trend takes inspiration from our interiors: That feeling of rolling out of bed to our desk in a duvet-burrito? You can take it with you wherever you go. Coincidentally, those are the precise desires Aiayu has seen grow amongst its consumers, as mentioned above. 

Always according to the report, the most popular search terms linked to the fashion trends were ‘house dresses for women’, ‘co-ord outfits’, ‘oversized and soft outfits’, as well as ‘cozy aesthetic outfits’, ‘cocoon cardigan’, ‘fluffy slippers’ and finally ‘slouch socks’.

Judging by these search terms it seems the trends will mostly gain traction in the US and the UK. Although interest can be seen in European markets such as France, Germany, Italy, and the UK as well. 

In alignment with this, we spoke to Carla Buzasi, CEO at trend forecasters WGSN, who told us:

 

“Key elements of the [homewear] look are evolving, including the rise in ‘2-mile wear’ and ‘at-home lounge’, which are subtly different to athleisure.”

 

 

Post-pandemic world on the horizon – taking homewear outdoors

Since we’ve grown accustomed to wearing comfortable lounge clothes for the past months it raises the question of how we will want to dress when there is reason to dress up again.

For absolute comfort, as pointed out by Pinterest Predicts and Net-a-Porter, we’ll venture out in-house slippers. The slouch socks and slacks from the aforementioned cozy trends will be topped off with slippers that will have you walk on clouds – almost literally. The fluffier the better it seems, even for SS21.

According to Carla Buzasi, the lifestyle changes the pandemic brought will leave deep traces for how we will want to dress in the future, but not change it fundamentally. She explains:

“All our research, suggests that comfortwear is here to stay, driven by the lifestyle shifts we’ve seen over the past 12 months that will outlast the pandemic, such as working from and exercising at home.

However, that doesn’t mean we won’t want to dress up at all and [that] the actual volumes of this kind of clothing will decrease VS 2020, [rather it will be] stabilizing somewhere between the levels of 2019 and 2020”

Carla Buzasi, CEO at trend forecasters WGSN

Similarly, Pinterest Predicts prides itself on its accuracy in presenting trends before they’re trending – according to the social medium, eight out of ten of their 2020 predictions actually came true.

Those who kept a close eye on the global fashion week runways for SS21 and FW21 can only agree with that statement. British Vogue highlighted what it calls the ‘living room disco’ look which – in line with Athflow – can be defined as ‘relaxed glamour’ or ‘comfy chic’.

Cocooning galore on those runways too, as British Vogue notes how we’ll take the fluffy comfort of hoodies and blankets on our post-pandemic journey. Prada, Hermès, Max Mara, and others showed their low-key yet luxe approach with hoodies, functional skirts, and puffer jackets.

Rotate Birger Christensen AW21

​It is particularly interesting to see what our changed lifestyle has meant for brands standing in direct contrast to those catering to homewear.

Rotate Birger Christensen is one such example. The Danish brand is known for creating coveted styles for the festive wardrobe and offering a sexy take on everything from miniskirts and suiting to accessories. After glancing through their AW21 collection, it becomes apparent that even they have jumped on the pandemic fashion bandwagon. As they introduce sweatpants and pair glittery dresses with cozy cardigans, something they haven’t done pre-pandemic. 

A future in comfort

As for what the future holds, homewear brands and trend forecasters seem to agree. Maria Glæsel of Aiayu says she “does not believe the demand for homewear will subside any time soon”.

As customers have experienced the benefits of curating a beautiful home environment and a more comfortable, streamlined wardrobe, she finds it hard to imagine people abandoning those practices. Similarly, Carla Buzasi of WGSN explains that “the overriding consumer demand will essentially be for comfort, whatever we might be doing.”

The shift to rewarding comfortability in clothes speaks to the fact that fashion is an ever-evolving industry, reflective of the times we live through. If life before the pandemic was characterized by casual sporty attire signaling comfort, life in a pandemic has notched the dress-code up a few levels on the comfortability scale.

While the post-pandemic outfit will likely add a bit of luxury to our homewear look. Whether that be in terms of material origin or explicitly glittery dresses.

Image of Maria Glæsel: Instagram  – Image of Carla Buzasi: Carlabuzasi.com  – Images of Rotate Birger Christensen looks: courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Week imagebank.

   

Cerena is the Lifestyle Researcher for the US market at VOCAST. She has a degree in Media and Communications and has previously worked with fashion PR. She cares for inclusion within the industry and when not working she’s a dedicated snacker and music listener.

 

 

Wided is the Lifestyle Researcher for the Belgian and Dutch markets at VOCAST. She’s a Belgian editor and author with a background in journalism. In London, she established a career in digital marketing for fashion and interior design brands. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s, you’ll find her in front of a canvas, paintbrushes in hand.

 

 

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Growing it fast, keeping it slow: The digitalization of the jewelry industry

Growing it fast, keeping it slow: The digitalization of the jewelry industry

Growing it fast, keeping it slow: The digitalization of the jewelry industry

The pandemic was an eye-opener for many industries to rethink their processes. An industry facing a more substantial scope for digital advancement in both e-com and social media than others is jewelry, set to continue being one of the fastest-growing areas in the luxury industry. We are shedding a light on the digitalization of the jewelry industry and what fashion can learn from it.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the jewelry industry was all set for continuous growth, is considered one of the fastest-growing areas in the broader luxury industry. Its global market value in 2019 was almost 230 billion dollars and was originally forecast to reach nearly 292 billion dollars by 2025.

Considering the dramatic turn of events in 2020, such forecasts might sound too optimistic: repeated lockdowns have affected retailers globally and a GlobalData report states that this will have cost the global apparel market 297 billion dollars in 2020 – a 15.2% drop compared to 2019.

Status of the jewelry industry

Although the jewelry industry did not escape this fate, there is hope for recovery in 2021: The acquisition of Tiffany & Co. by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s leading luxury products group, was finally completed in January 2021 at almost 16 billion dollars.

Moreover, Denmark enjoyed one of the best performing stock markets in the world despite the pandemic with jewelry brand Pandora topping the list. The brand noted an organic decline of 11% for the year, but its strong finish with 4% growth in the last quarter of 2020 makes for an optimistic outlook on 2021. Important in that regard is how online organic growth was at 104% making up 32% of total revenue.

As we explained in a previous article, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for the fashion industry to challenge many of its processes – from production to presentation and sales. This pushed the digitalization of the jewelry industry even further. However, the jewelry industry that had only taken baby steps into the digital realm, faced a more substantial scope for digital advancement in both e-com and social media.

In fact, the forecasts built on data prior to the pandemic noted a recent consumer shift toward online jewelry shopping and digitalization of the jewelry industry: the share of online jewelry sales in the US and Western Europe doubled in 2019, partly due to retailers relying less on purchases for special occasions such as weddings.

Shifting sales channels

A welcome preparatory shift in the light of 2020’s many wedding cancelations and introduction of a Zoom-era, accompanied by a jewelry trend of bold pieces to stand out on screen. In June, BCG already pointed out that the notable increase (14% in the US and 17% in China) of first-time online shoppers was a sign of accelerated sales channel shifts and the digitalization of the jewelry industry.

Particularly, mobile social media sales were expected to increase significantly, meaning that brands should focus on creating an optimal online presence with special customer attention through eg. customization and community-building.

“The jewelry industry has always been a bit behind on fashion, which is why the sector freshly finds itself in the midst of the digitalization process right now.”

Says Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen, founder of The Jewellery Room, an international platform connecting the consumers with the most significant jewelry brands. “Buying habits are changing as shopping barriers are overcome and consumers now feel more secure buying jewelry online.”

Building a trusting community

In 2020, The Jewellery Room went all-in on the digital front and decided to move from their former focus on B2B to a solely B2C approach with the website acting as a marketplace. “The Jewellery Room is already an established platform for the brands, so now we aim to evolve toward being a trusted source for consumers,” Møbjerg Knudsen explains, noting the need for expertise and trust with regard to fine jewelry purchases.

Møbjerg Knudsen envisions a different integration of The Jewellery Room and fashion weeks than what has previously been done. “Due to the digitalization, fashion weeks have recently become accessible to all, it’s no longer an exclusive universe as the consumers make up the audience. So there has been a natural shift toward B2C in that sense.”

 

“Fashion weeks are no longer an exclusive universe as consumers make up the audience. Digitalization has caused a natural shift toward B2C”

– Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen, The Jewellery Room

 

The aim of The Jewellery Room is to remain active during fashion weeks but with a different format, feeding the newly developed digital universe with the DNA from their previous physical participation in the fashion industry.

“We really strive to build a trusting community,” she says. “Many believe that fine jewelry should be sold online in a similar manner as clothing. I don’t think such an approach would succeed. Craftsmanship and expertise are highly important and respected when it comes to jewelry. The jewelry industry doesn’t work with collections and seasons in the same way as fashion – almost eliminating the risk of overproduction.”

Focus on ethics and sustainability

Lowering the threshold for fine jewelry and making it more accessible to consumers with less income to spare due to the repercussions of the pandemic, is one aspect. This shifting consumer sentiment regarding personal finances means people are not only less likely to spend money on fashion items, but there’s also a bigger focus on value, writes BCG in its research.

This mindset which was widely adopted during the pandemic is likely to last and aligns with Møbjerg Knudsen’s focus on expertise: a growing consumer base attaches more importance to ethical and sustainable products from purposeful brands. Sustainability is a hot topic these days – and the jewelry industry might just be more sustainable than most people think: it is slow in nature as opposed to the heavily critiqued fast fashion industry. According to Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen from The Jewellery Room:

“The beauty of jewelry is that if it doesn’t fit, it can be adjusted – and if it isn’t sold, it can be melted into a new piece. There is no waste”

“Fine jewelry doesn’t play the discount game. It relies on quality,” says Møbjerg Knudsen. “The industry deals with just a few – greatly regulated – producers and suppliers, and the material costs working with precious metals are high, leading goldsmiths and producers to recycle gold and even collect gold dust. The up-cycling opportunities are endless. The beauty of jewelry is that if it doesn’t fit, it can be adjusted – and if it isn’t sold, it can be melted into a new piece. There is no waste,” says Møbjerg Knudsen.

One of the big players in the jewelry industry, Pandora, recently announced its ambition for a circular economy aiming to use 100% recycled silver and gold in their products by 2025 – right now it stands at 71%.

Bridging the gap

When sisters Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen and Charlotte Møbjerg Ansel-Henry started The Jewellery Room back in 2015, they wanted to bridge the gap between two industries. They noticed the growing importance of jewelry in catwalk looks and felt there was more use in integrating the field in the fashion weeks than organizing jewelry fairs as an afterthought. The sisters succeeded.

But is it really only the jewelry industry that would benefit from a further integration? Seeing the current developments, it looks like the fashion industry has much to learn from the jewelry industry when it comes to slowing down and introducing a circular economy. “The two industries can learn and benefit from each other,” says Møbjerg Knudsen.

Image of Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen: Chris Tonnesen

   

Sarah is the Lifestyle Researcher for the Danish market at VOCAST. She is very passionate about the fashion industry and along with her work at VOCAST she studies Communication at Copenhagen Business School.

 

 

Wided is the Lifestyle Researcher for the Belgian and Dutch markets at VOCAST. She’s a Belgian editor and author with a background in journalism. In London, she established a career in digital marketing for fashion and interior design brands. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s, you’ll find her in front of a canvas, paintbrushes in hand.

 

 

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