This is where I tell you all about some of my and my beloved’s favourite French brands. This week I’m looking at a relative newcomer. Indeed, the company only recently celebrated its second birthday.
Established by Ning Li, co-founder of Made.com, Typology is a new Paris-based startup that designs and sells quality skincare and cosmetics products directly to consumers. According to Li:
Typology is a relatively ambitious project. We want to challenge FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] brands with a digital pure player. I spent all my career working in e-commerce. I’ve seen a lot of industries move from offline to online. But some industries, such as cosmetics, food and do-it-yourself, have been migrating to online channels more slowly.
Typology is now starting to make serious waves in the industry. Its turnover has massively increased during the pandemic. Aside from its cool packaging and branding, it has an incredible product offering. Not only are the formulas amazing, but the brand’s approach to skincare is what makes it stand out. Whereas products from many other French skincare brands risk overwhelming consumers with overly technical and scientific language, Typology seeks to totally demystify (and disrupt) the industry.
Typology differentiates itself from cosmetics giants with simple lists of ingredients and no dangerous products for your skin or the environment. The company also promises that all its products are vegan, cruelty-free and made in France – all good, right?
So the company ticks all the right boxes but there are countless brands around the globe that make similar promises. The main difference is that Typology doesn’t want to become yet another small-batch beauty brand. The team wants to create an e-commerce giant with multiple sub-brands, hundreds of products and an aggressive e-commerce strategy. Li said:
Unilever, L’Oréal and P&G represent over 50% of the market. And on the other side, you have a ton of independent brands that are quite small and will probably never stand out.
Typology launches different product lines every month each of which has its own concept and its own sub-brand. Everything has been developed in-house.
On its start-up, the company launched three sub-brands. “Raw” is all about mixing products at home. You order a kit and you get the raw ingredients – oils, powders, spoons and a small box – to create your own mask, hair oil, beard oil, etc. You can also order each product individually. Raw products are only made using one ingredient.
The “Lab” product line contains only cosmetic serums with its own set of properties depending on need.
Finally, “Ten” is the basic skincare product range, each of which has less than 10 ingredients. The company is started with face, hand and body moisturisers and moved onto shower gels, shampoos, micellar water and makeup remover etc etc
When it comes to branding and packaging, Typology uses minimalist design to represent transparency and simplicity. It’s also worth noting that Typology is a unisex brand. The company uses recyclable packaging as much as possible by relying on glass and aluminum.
Initially, Typology was only available in France, but the company quickly expanded to other countries following a significant seed round of funding: US $10 million from Alven Capital, Marc Simoncini, Xavier Niel and Firstminute Capital.
Some sub-brands will likely be instant hits while others might not attract that many customers. Typology is taking advantage of its funding to try many different things and experiment when it comes to positioning. It’s going to be interesting to see how the product lineup evolves over the years.
Images courtesy of Typology