Lime Crime, a popular Los Angeles cosmetics company, is planning to launch its products in China for the first time. The company is using a unique approach to do so, as Lime Crime is facing an unusual market dynamic. Global General Manager Kim Walls said, “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.”
A Vegan-Based Company in China
One problem facing Lime Crime is China’s requirement that wholesale cosmetics must conduct animal testing. Because Lime Crime is a vegan brand, it does not test its products on animals. The only way to circumvent China’s mandate is for Lime Crime to ship its products directly from the U.S.
But, shipping directly to Chinese consumers comes with complex transportation logistics that would force LimeCrime to deal with more taxes and tariffs. They would also have to manage international returns, and handle customer questions asked in a foreign language.
Not only was Lime Crime facing these hurdles, but the company also had to contend with counterfeit products. Walls said, “We found out that we had over a million units of our lip topper product that were counterfeit sold through marketplaces in China last year.”
What Did Lime Crime Decide to Do?
Lime Crime decided to partner with Revolve, to overcome the obstacles of selling vegan makeup in China. Revolve is another Los Angeles-based company that operates an ecommerce fashion platform. Revolve had an interest in expanding into cosmetics. As it turned out, Revolve was dealing with problems selling in China as well.
Lime Crime formed a “seed audience” in China by directing web visitors to try Revolve’s ecommerce service. By taking this step, Lime Crime was able to notify its customers that Revolve was the source for its legitimate products in China.
Fans of Lime Crime had the opportunity to enter its ecommerce hub at the company’s commuting time, which was two hours before it officially launched. This was a move that resulted in plenty of free marketing through online word of mouth.
Along with these steps, Walls worked with a number of other influencers, but in selling its product in China, the cosmetics company mainly avoided using “first-tier” experts. Instead, it turned to those who were less well-known. It stuck with people who were passionate about promoting the brand.
Walls said, “For us, it’s most critical to have someone speaking on our behalf, or actually generating content with our product that looks like it would fit with our brand. And, that’s not necessarily the first-tier influencer, because they are their own brand.”
Leaping Bunny Certification
Lime Crime is a cosmetics company that believes in protecting its furry friends. To this end, the company sells only cruelty free cosmetics. This means that it does not test any products on animals. Lime Crime has taken its love of animals a step further by selling vegan makeup. In fact, all of the company’s cosmetics are 100 percent vegan, and it has received Leaping Bunny certification.
Leaping Bunny certification is a program that sets a particular standard for producing cruelty free makeup. This involves strict background testing through a third party to ensure that the manufacturing process avoids animal testing. Lime Crime has received this verification from an independent 3rd party.
Creative Thinking Done Right
With the stringent rules in China, Kim Walls had to be especially creative with their marketing. Because Lime Crime is committed to vegan standards, they had to partner with another makeup company. Fortunately, the cosmetic company’s leaders had the bravery and the foresight to do so, bringing vegan makeup to the people of China.
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