The program works as a launch pad for established and emerging Italian brands to gain exposure in the U.S. market. While Italy is the sixth largest exporter of beauty products to the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Italian-based brands don’t have the same awareness in the U.S. as French or South Korean brands do, which is why the program is offering three different tracks for Italian brands to gain the skills and tools needed to enter the U.S.
“Italian cosmetics and beauty is one of the top 10 industries within the country,” said Meredith Kerekes, head of the U.S. beauty desk at the Italian Trade Commission. “Knowing that Italy manufactures more than 60 percent of beauty products, our goal is to reintroduce the U.S. market to Made in Italy beauty brands.”
The program is divided into three sections: a business incubator, brand accelerator and an Italian Beauty Council.
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The business incubator is meant for new brands that don’t have existing U.S. distribution. This section gives brands the knowledge needed to enter the U.S. market, like information on regulations, exporting and different retail channels. These brands will have access to webinars, research reports and promotional events and initiatives to gain exposure. High-performing brands in the business incubator are also asked to apply to the program’s second section, the brand accelerator.
The brand accelerator guides more established brands that already have U.S. distribution. These brands receive support from the program’s public relations agency in New York and have a dedicated adviser.
“Consumers don’t understand that [beauty] products are already made in Italy,” Kerekes continued. “We want to continue developing relationships with U.S. retailers and get American customers interested in these products.”
The third part of the program is an Italian Beauty Council made up of industry executives, heritage brands, influencers and U.S. retail executives. In addition to mentoring the brands in the program, the advisory board will also guide the conversation surrounding Italian beauty and help increase awareness among consumers globally.
Altogether, the program is bringing together 35 Italian beauty brands across makeup, skin and hair care, hair tools and fragrance. The program includes brands already available in the U.S., like truffle-based skin-care brand Skin & Co Roma and bath and body line Perlier, and brands only available in Italy, like skin-care and makeup brand Eva Garden and body-care line Rudy Profumi.
For this year, the program has plans to hold pop-ups with retailers for the holiday season and is hosting a beauty summit in Milan in November.