“Cruelty-free and vegan products will be taken for granted in some years in the beauty sector”
Alumni José Gallart graduated from MSC in Marketing at UPF Barcelona School of Management and now he is Brand Manager of Max Factor, Sally Hansen and Astor. From his position he explains the challenges that the make-up industry has overcome over the pandemic and how they are facing challenges like sustainability and innovation in this sector.
What have you been doing careerwise since you graduated from UPF-BSM?
I started working at Coty as an intern through the UPF-BSM internship program during my MSC studies. It might sound like a short story, but since then I have only grown professionally in every single step of my professional career as I have had 3 consecutive promotions in 3 years! As a trainee, I managed all daily-business related affairs, leaded the communication in POS activations, worked thoroughly in improving the efficiency in existing processes and did extensive data analysis that helped to make strategically crucial decisions for the brands I work with. After completing my internship program, I was promoted to Go-to-market Manager, a role in which I managed all brand activations at the point of sales (over 3.000 stores across Spain and Portugal) and, after a short period of time, I was promoted again to Product Manager. As a PM I took a more strategic role and developed market analyses and business strategies that proved crucial for the company. One year later, I was promoted to Brand Manager, a position in which I’ve been working for over a year now and where I’ve had the opportunity to lead projects that ended up being best-in-class practices and were scaled to the rest of the world.
What do you do at Coty?
I’m Brand Manager of Max Factor, Sally Hansen and Astor. Working as a Brand Manager in Coty -and more specifically in the colour cosmetics industry- is a challenging but undoubtably enriching experience.
I manage these brands with a 360º approach that allow me to participate in and being responsible of all business dimensions: since market analysis or brand profitability (P&L and budget control), to ATL & BTL media planning, portfolio management, strategic decision-making or influencer marketing. Being able to lead three mass market brands with about 700 SKUs in such a complex category (over 14 market segments with different consumers, seasonalities, frequencies…) with such a diverse channel distribution (from food retailers such as Mercadona or Carrefour to perfumeries, drugstores and multi-brand stores like Primor, Druni or El Corte Inglés and pure players like Amazon) is something pretty peculiar in the world of FMCG multinational companies and is definitely an opportunity to develop your professional skills at a fast pace.
I would advise any student to really focus on their classes and try to get the most of them, once you enter the business enviroment, any student will realize how useful they were
What did you learn at UPF-BSM that you apply to your current job?
I would say that all the subjects I coursed during my MSC studies have been very relevant for the challenges I came up with when I started to develop my professional career at Coty. Just to highlight a few:
- Statistics and Quantitative tools are probably one of the key areas where one can master their professional skills since day one. I consider that it is absolutely crucial to have a strong analytical mindset when analyzing business-related topics so you can have a data-driven and fact-based approach that help you to un-bias your judgement and optimize your actions.
- Identification of market opportunities is essential for exploring new ways to develop your business and to cover unmet consumer needs. Opportunities are out there, and being able to identify them is the first step for achieving business success.
- Market Research should probably be the cornerstone of your business decisions and I definitely have a thing for Consumer Behavior. It is immensely important to not only know your market but to understand how it operates and which mechanisms interact in your shoppers’ decision-making processes and yourself’s.
- Financial courses are of course a must when setting one’s professional basics. It is key for having an A-Z business understanding and to evaluate your risks and opportunities.
I could keep going about almost every single subject, but I would advise any student to really focus on their classes and try to get the most of them because once you enter the business environment they will realize how useful they were and the skills they helped you develop will be the foundation of your professional profile in the short/medium run.
What are the current challenges in the cosmetic industry?
The cosmetic industry has been one of the most affected industries by the pandemic. Less social interaction, remote working, mobility restrictions, face mask usage… they all have been a reality in our lives during the last year and a half and they all have had negative consequences in our market; 90% of make-up usage occasions are related to socialization… and this pandemic made people socialize less than ever! Therefore, overcoming pandemic effects in the colour cosmetics market (i.e. recovering pre-pandemic levels of consumption) is clearly one challenge of the industry and seems to be farther than we initially thought.
Winds of change are blowing in the beauty industry, and strong-heritage brands will need to adapt as fast as possible to keep succeeding in the market
However, the beauty industry has many more challenges ahead. How to embrace skinimalism in a category where more make-up routine products were always best, how to adapt to new channels of communication and engage in Gen-Z conversations, how to innovate with technological products that add value to consumers in an industry that has been constantly launching new products for decades… and of course going green, cruelty free and vegan! Winds of change are blowing in the beauty industry, and strong-heritage brands –which are often less agile- will need to adapt as fast as possible to keep succeeding in the market.
Is the industry working on implementing the SDGs?
Of course! Coty is constantly trying to optimize its processes to develop a more sustainable business. In fact, not too long ago, our sustainability report Beauty that lasts went public! There, you can see some of the sustainability goals, commitments, targets and initiatives that Coty is either implementing or will implement in the near future to build a sustainable beauty business. 100% vegan formulations, full cruelty-free certifications, responsibly sourced natural ingredients, DE&I, Sustainable energy and efficient energy use, minimization of water use and waste, help communities in-need… these are only some of the values and commitments that Coty is going to implement to lead the change in the beauty industry.
One example of Coty’s commitment with sustainability is the incorporation of LanzaTech’s upcycled CarbonSmart™ ethanol, sourced from carbon capture, into its manufacturing process with the goal of using it in the majority of its fragrance portfolio by 2023. This will help Coty pioneer sustainable fragrance production in the industry by making most of its portfolio not only carbon neutral, but carbon negative in the upcoming years.
How are new values such as veganism, or the demand of cruelty free or ecologic products affecting the sector?
I’m particularly happy that you raised this question as I’m a vegan myself! Vegan, cruelty-free and eco products are a clear, solid and rising trend among users at all age ranges not only in the beauty sector but at all levels and is already the #3 purchase driver for beauty shoppers in Spain only after price and quality.
I am personally enthusiastic about the fact that people understand and value that beauty products should not compromise neither animals nor the environment
Particularly in cosmetics, cruelty-free and vegan products are a massive trend among make-up users. Most brands are heading there and most of the category innovation goes in this direction. I am personally enthusiastic about the fact that people understand and value that beauty products should not compromise neither animals nor the environment. The beauty sector is definitely redefining itself and, a couple of years from now, cruelty-free and vegan products will hopefully be taken for granted as will become the norm in the industry.
How do you see your future in a few years?
I see myself leading a marketing team and being able to develop bold and smart business strategies that enable my company to achieve business goals while being able to add value to society by working on more sustainable, ethical and efficient products. The beauty industry is definitely a very interesting sector to develop your career and hopefully I will continue to do so!
I would encourage anybody to lead the way in pursuing the adequate values and principles to build a better society, no matter the industry you’re working for! Together, we will be able to make the world a better place for everyone.