Erin Graybill is the CEO and Founder of Niré Beauty, the award-winning and cruelty-free makeup brush business. The Newcastle-based business launched in 2015 and has helped people to feel confident and explore the world of makeup. Here she shares how really understanding customer needs has helped her company weather the pandemic:
“Before launching my business Niré beauty in 2015 I had moved from the American West Coast to Newcastle to study Economics at university. When I first moved, I struggled to find makeup products that catered to my sensitive skin. The makeup brushes that were available were either too abrasive and irritating or were very expensive.
I always knew that I wanted to launch my own business, and seeing this niche readily carved out for me, I set out to create my own range of high-quality and cruelty-free makeup brushes that were reasonably priced. From there, Niré Beauty was born!
The importance of knowing your customers
Makeup isn’t something that all people find easy and I wanted my brushes to not only be accessible, but easy and functional for my customers. My first product was a brush bundle which contained all of the tools any makeup beginner could need including; a variety of brushes, a foundation sponge a cleaning tool as well as an intuitive how-to guide for getting started.
All of our award-winning brush sets are vegan, cruelty-free and beautifully designed to suit any personality. The business has grown exponentially since launch, but when we started on Amazon the brand skyrocketed and we have sold millions of brushes worldwide across all of our channels.
Customer experience has always been at the heart of our business and despite our rapid growth, we have kept this ethos. Selling on Amazon’s stores has meant that we are able to consistently adapt and improve our service and product range based on customer feedback and reviews. We have also built a social media community where we can engage with our customers directly.
How we adapted our offerings to meet the current customer needs
I believe that our customer focus and understanding their current needs have been imperative to our continued growth throughout the pandemic. Despite having in-person interactions limited this year, as a collective we have spent more time in face-to-face video conferences. Because of this, the public is spending more time looking at themselves and I think this “Zoom culture” is boosting the beauty industry.
While it is not necessary, makeup can help people to feel confident as they go about their day-to-day and we want to promote this as part of a healthy daily routine. We are spending more time than ever looking at ourselves on video calls and people shouldn’t feel guilty about or silly for wanting to put on makeup, even though they don’t have anywhere to go. It’s completely normal to want to boost your confidence and keep some form of daily routine through wearing makeup. We love reminding people of that and hearing from our customers how much doing their makeup helps them to feel like themselves again.
Humans are creatures of habit and, for me, even when I’m not leaving the house, my routine is to complete my skincare regime and put on some makeup so that I feel ready for the day. Beauty products help to establish some level of normality in our customer’s lives.
The public now has different requirements from beauty businesses and we have expanded our offerings to meet our customers’ needs. Well-being and self-care are more important than ever, and we have adapted our offering to develop exciting new pandemic-appropriate products. This includes our gift hamper that includes wellness products and can be gifted to show people that you are thinking of them, even if you can’t be there in person.
How COVID reshaped us internally
COVID has reshaped how many businesses operate and while we have kept our core ethos of customer service, we have had to adapt a few of our processes to meet our customers’ current needs.
Being an e-commerce business has been hugely beneficial for us. Our online sales meant that we were in the right place to weather the storm of 2020. In particular, selling on Amazon’s stores helped our business to remain open during the height of the pandemic. Their distribution network was operational and efficient, meaning we were able to fulfil customer orders promptly.
Working from home meant we lost casual office interactions and we have had to implement more regular virtual meetings. As a result, our processes became more structured and organised. These meetings were also important for the wellbeing of the team. It was a way for us to check in with each other and I could make sure everyone was happy and doing okay. We also hosted various challenges to keep up the team morale and not limit our conversations to purely business, such as our two-walk-a-week challenge and various social focussed zooms.
The pandemic meant we had to adapt. I am really proud of how we have responded and adapted – revenue is up from last year, and we have plans in place to build on that growth. There are certainly processes that we have taken on due to the pandemic that we will keep in place, even once restrictions are lifted
Beauty needs have transitioned from party looks to a more natural style for video calls, as well as an increased focus on skincare. Our customers are looking to us for self-care solutions and we have adapted our products and social media content to meet this demand, through educational and informative posts.
What hasn’t changed though is our core ethos. “The customer is our boss” and that is so important to remember if you want to be successful in business.”
About the Author:
Erin Graybill is the CEO and Founder of Newcastle-based makeup brush company, Niré Beauty.
Website – https://nirebeauty.com/
Amazon Storefront – https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/6AA59743-734E-4CDE-A33E-161CCB23CD72
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nirebeauty/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/nirebeauty/?hl=en