At Anisa International, innovation is an integrated part of the culture – which is necessary since working in partnership with leading beauty brands to amplify their products requires constant connectivity to consumers, collaborative communications, and an openness to try new ideas.
When beauty brands innovate with new ingredients and formulations, consumers need new tools to pair with them, according to Anisa executives who met with WWD Studios to discuss how the beauty industry is evolving in the skincare category. The Thought Leaders’ Lab, titled “Forward Facing,” also examined the importance of making authentic connections to consumers.
Participating leadership from Anisa International & ANISA Beauty included: Anisa Telwar Kaicker, founder and chief executive officer, Heather Sumner, vice president of business development and sales, Zhanna Gershanok-Moody, vice president of business operations and human resources, and Jules Dykes, chief of staff. The discussion provided insights into the organization’s history as a leader in beauty innovation and the recent launch of a new category: skincare brushes.
An Early Innovator
Largely a B2B company, Anisa International was founded in 1992 and quickly evolved into the industry leader for makeup brushes with beauty brands. In the beginning, brands were putting makeup brushes in compacts, and Anisa recognized the opportunity for brushes to be so much more. “Consumers benefit when they know and understand how to use their products with a perfectly paired cosmetic brush,” Telwar Kaicker said.
Anisa is fully integrated in the product development process and has been a fundamental and pioneering force behind the beauty tools category. By opening her own manufacturing facility in 2003 she took complete control over not only the process but the intellectual property. Ownership over innovation has been a driving force in the company’s success. Today’s strategy addresses ethical manufacturing practices, consumer trends, and a commitment to be the best when it comes to brushes that will benefit the face and body. Consumers want to feel confident in knowing what’s in their products, how they’re made and who is making them. Anisa can answer all of these questions.
“I think consumers are becoming much more aware and asking the right questions and becoming conscious of where their products are coming from,” Gershanok-Moody said. “I think that people want to know that their products are made in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, harm animals, and has been sustainably and ethically produced.” To that effect, Anisa International’s recent investment in a brand-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was designed with sustainability in mind.”
New Natural Evolution
“When I first started, fibers came from animal hair, so it was an important decision to innovate and create new fibers from an alternative man-made source,” said Telwar Kaicker. Anisa is tied to the ever-changing product innovation happening in the beauty space. Innovations are seemingly endless, and products are changing so quickly – all needing the next “perfect applicator.” Important to this process, is looking at product pairings and knowing that if a brand launches a new foundation, it will likely have an innovative formula which will benefit from an original application process.
“It’s fascinating how many different ways you can innovate with a brush,” Dykes explained. “the two elements that are vital to the success of a brush are the head shape and fiber quality, and the innovation possibilities within these areas are endless because product formulations are changing so quickly.”
Innovation by Collaboration
Product pairing remains at the frontline of product development for Anisa International. Brands are also looking to the Anisa team to help innovate possibilities for future product launches.
“What I love about what we do is that every single day is different,” Sumner said. “Every day something new happens – there’s a new product coming out, there’s a new launch that we’re supporting, there’s a new brand that asks, ‘what’s next?’ and we get to help them come up with what that means for them.”
An Emerging Category
Clean beauty and a rise in skincare have taken over the beauty space and become a higher priority for consumers. An emphasis has been put on skincare to achieve a healthy, clean complexion. We are now seeing a new opportunity emerging with skincare brushes and tools.
The concept of using a brush for skincare application has traditionally been used by estheticians when applying masks but the idea remains new in the hands of the consumer and with the rest of their skincare products.
“With skincare on the rise and offering greater efficacy and active ingredients, I thought why not do the same thing we’ve been doing with makeup products? Why aren’t we product pairing with skincare? And that was how skincare tools came into play and now skincare brushes,” said Telwar Kaicker
“And every time that you use a tool with your product, you’re elevating your product,” said Sumner. “The most exciting part is that we get to work with our partners, they spend years developing a new formula and then how do you put it on, with your hands? Hands can be dirty and you really want to soak all of that product into your skin instead of your fingers, and using a brush, especially the ones that were making, tri-fiber, new innovative heads, is going to help that product and those innovative ingredients really absorb into the skin and get those end results.”
As consumers continue to take more time for skincare, we are seeing that their application regiment is grounded in the concept of the selfcare movement, which has taken hold of the beauty industry at large. “Even though it is a brush, I feel like we’re more than the brush,” said Telwar Kaicker. “We are all about people really feeling good about themselves.”
Developed to Amplify
The benefits of skincare tools are several, from how to apply, where to apply, how much to apply, cleanliness, and maximizing skincare investment.
“What I’ve seen is that when we pair the right tool with the right product, it automatically means sales for both,” said Sumner. “And then the consumer comes back because the tool is the right tool, to buy the product again. And brands see that.”
Designing for what’s next in beauty is integral, for Anisa with innovation and collaboration taking a critical role at every step.
Letting Beauty Breathe
From the consumer’s perspective, self-care is now a part of our daily lifestyle and includes having healthy skin.
Based on a willingness to invest in skin care products, we are going to help maximize these investments with the right tools – but that doesn’t always mean more and more products. “I think we need to allow innovation to breathe,” said Telwar Kaicker, explaining that a consumer is often wary to spend money on a new item when they believe something better is right around the corner. “So, we should allow a moment to just appreciate a purchase instead of churning and burning and making beauty so disposable.”
While Anisa brushes have been an integral part of women’s beauty routine for decades, many consumers only recently became aware of the name behind the brush when the company launched its new brand and began selling directly to consumers on anisabeauty.com. Now having a direct connection to the consumer, Anisa is able to educate beauty consumers and receive feedback that empowers her to understand the choices in a purchase. This communication loop also informs the innovation feeding the B2B side of the business. With the ability to see first-hand what consumers are responding to and purchasing, the company is able to present innovation backed by data.
WATCH: Thought Leaders Lab — Forward Facing