Lumene is getting back in touch with its roots to gain brand awareness and increase market share in the U.S.
The Finnish skin-care brand has premiumized its entire line, from formulations to package design and marketing, which hones in on the perceived notion of a healthy, wellness-oriented Nordic lifestyle. The restaging, which is rolling out to Walgreens this month and will launch in CVS and Rite Aid in early 2017, comes on the heels of Unilever’s former vice president of hair care Michel Dallemagne’s installation as chief executive officer in 2015.
“The proposition we’re tapping is very on-trend,” said Dallemagne. “We’re talking to women who are into healthy lifestyle, a bit of fitness, they care for what they eat and know the importance of sleep. They’re in their late thirties to early forties. As they get older, they’re looking for different viewpoints on beauty.”
Dallemagne saw a white space to leverage the brand’s Nordic heritage. “Nordic food is on trend, Marimekko is out there, Finnish design — but in beauty there’s no brand,” he said.
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The new formulations harness arctic cloudberry, Lumene’s signature brightening agent, along with other Nordic-sourced ingredients, such as birch water, sea buckthorns and lingonberries. Dallemagne noted the products are designed to feel natural and gentle. On the outer packaging is the brand’s new symbol, wheel-like design that Dallemagne said represents purity and was inspired by “the ancient light rituals of northern Finland.” Three collections — Sisu, a detoxing and purifyng line, Lahde, a hydrating line and Valo, a brightening range — comprise the new products, which include on-trend items like masks, essences, mists and facial oils touting antioxidants. They are priced at $8 for micellar water to $30 for an antipollution hydrating serum. “We kept the stuff that was doing well, like the vitamin C products, but we lifted up the quality,” said Dallemagne.
Dallemagne, who was hired to accelerate the brand’s international growth, plans to use the brand’s sleeker positioning to gradually increase distribution in the U.S. It currently sits in about 20,000 doors, including some Ulta stores, though he noted the brand has little visibility there. After the brand completes its drugstore rollout, Dallemagne has his sights set on better positioning within Ulta and entering Target and possibly Whole Foods. Ultimately, “we could get this to a place where we could approach QVC and Sephora,” said Dallemagne, who said he is also interested in travel retail. “China, Singapore, they all come to Helsinki,” said Dallemagne.
But first, Dallemagne noted that the he is looking to further ingrain the brand into the mass market, where better sales could equal better shelf share, which Lumene doesn’t have in its drugstore doors. At Ulta, “We have an agreement based on better sales, we’ll get a better space, a different type of merchandise. “We know where we come from and we work with current customers,” said Dallemagne. “The mass retailers realize what’s winning is these small niche brands with expert viewpoints.”
Industry sources estimate Lumene is worth 15 to 25 million dollars, but that it could increase to anywhere from 50 to 100 million dollars over the next two to three years.