Lessons from 30 years of researching the beauty industry

I was really pleased to be asked to give a talk last week as part of the CEW {UK} mentoring programme. It was an opportunity to share with women in the beauty industry my views on research and the difference it can make to the way people do business.

To be honest, I was amazed to see so many turning up to hear my presentation. I was even told by the CEW office, there was a waiting list. Why am I surprised? Well, research doesn't usually get as high a billing as marketing, advertising and PR.

As it turns out, sexy it may not be but everyone in the room agreed that having good data is crucial.The most important lesson I've learned is you can't always trust what you find. The question is how can you be sure that what you're reading is reliable?

Just the other day, I was researching the story of a new skincare launch and came across a blog by a respected newspaper journalist who had just interviewed the brand owner. The journalist wrote that the range was about to launch in Space NK. I called Space NK and found that it was old news - the launch had actually taken place a year ago.

My advice; always make sure you corroborate what you read. It can be time consuming, but it's better than finding out during a strategy meeting with your boss that the information you've prepared is suspect.

Over time, I've built up my own resources and more importantly personal sources that help me conduct reliable research. I believe in keeping up with the key trade press, such as Esprit and SPC, who do a great job in covering the beauty industry from all angles. Then there’s the industry news websites which I've bookmarked and check up on before I do anything else each morning. Not forgetting key blogs and twitter!I don’t see a reason why anyone can’t become an expert on the beauty markets. In fact, if you’re working in the industry it will give you greater confidence by helping to validate your hunches and business decisions.