Cosmetic companies, particularly ones that have been focused on such things as direct sales, have seen some major changes in recent years. This offers more access to products for consultants to increase their sales, but this also offers the business as a whole the ability to expand their business. But do you have to sacrifice your core values as a company by using technology? By learning more about Natura and how it has used technology to grow their business while still retaining the core values of their company.

Natura’s Background

Natura originally started out in the cosmetics industry in 1969. This company was built up by an entrepreneur named Luis Seabra, a man who was incredibly passionate about people. When he built his first, very small store, his goal was to build up a relationship with potential customers first, before he got into selling them anything. By doing this, he was able to get a real pulse for what women wanted and needed, bringing fresh ideas to his company. Whether they bought a product from him or not, he offered a rose and a card to every woman. Eventually he launched the company Natura in 1974 as a direct sales company. From there, the company grew into what it now is today: the 4th largest beauty and cosmetics brand in the entire world, acquiring such brands as Avon and The Body Shop.

The Future of Cosmetics

Even before social media was a thing, the goal with Natura was social networking. It’s not just about presenting the potential customer with the catalogs or selling the products, just like the nature of the origins this company was built upon. These days, technology has opened up a lot of doors for sales for Natura but the problem with technology is the fact that it lacks the same human connection that was so important to Natura. They can sell things using technology, but the reality for Natura is that the human asset is far more important to them as a company than the technology is.

You can watch my full interview with Fernando Mattoso Lemos, former VP IT & CIO at Natura below or directly on my Youtube channel.

Natura is a brand that is all about innovation while staying true to its core mission as a company to put the customers first. This company sold products successfully prior to technology, and they are now using technology as a way to be even more successful while they still remain a customer-centric company. Utilizing both physical magazines and the technologies provided by the internet, they are working hard to modernize the culture that made them standout to begin with. The heart of the company and the culture that it embodies has been around since it began 50 years ago and they hope this keeps them successful for the next 50 years. 

The goal became being about going international. Natura needed to grow organically, but they also understood that they would need to acquire other established brands along the way to keep them on the path of success. The first part of this was acquiring AESOP, an Australian company, in 2012 and then merging this company with the Natura group in 2016. A year later, this meant acquiring the established brand The Body Shop, a company that Natura had a strong relationship with dating back to their early days. This relationship was strong for so long because they shared the same ideals and passion for human beings. Anita Roddick of The Body Shop was an activist who wanted to help women follow their passions for entrepreneurship as the Natura founder was fighting for causes in its native Brazil.

This emphasis on people and activism is what makes Natura stand out. This is what encourages conscious capitalism, growing the economy in a positive way. Natura believes that it’s important to focus on economic change, environmental change, and social change for the greater good of the world. 

However, none of this would be possible without the technology that is available today. The digital culture that exists now is why Natura was able to acquire these massive brands to get the international attention that they wanted. This technology allows their consultants to better serve their customers by offering the data that they need to be successful. Technology is essential for the sustainability of the company. 

What’s even better about the advancing technology is that it allows Natura to do research to create high quality, natural products that are made from ingredients from Brazil and Peru as well as other local countries. This is a crucial aspect to making a sustainable business that supports the local economies. Technology has given Natura the ability to grow as a global company. 

The moral here is that you don’t necessarily have to give up what humanizes your business. Technology is essential to helping business succeed in the current world. Door to door sales can help you find success on a local level, but you can gain more customers by using technology. You can use technology as a way to improve the products your business offers. While the origins of the company relied on Seabra talking to the customers and getting to know their wants and needs, technology can often take the personal out of this process. But thanks to technology, you can get to know a wider base of customers and collect a lot more data. As technology advances, the beauty and cosmetics industry will only get better. Natura wants to be at the center of this evolving industry.

Technology may be impersonal by nature, but companies like Natura are using it to their advantage. They have figured out a way to stick to their core values of being passionate about people. What this means for any business is that they can evolve using technology and keep their core values in place as long as they move forward with their core values in mind. Natura is only going to get better since they have always been a company that is focused on their customers. When you value your customers and  listen to them, your business will be unstoppable.

When I started my company Biassa three years ago, like many foreigners who settle in Denmark, I was struggling to find my feet here.

Getting proactive
It all began when I started sharing content from my blog on LinkedIn, and a few companies approached me to ask how much I knew about the Brazilian business environment.

It was then that I realised I could start ‘selling’ my consulting services – a much better option than waiting for the ‘perfect job’ to appear.

The journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been interesting, as I enjoy talking to all sorts of people from all walks of life. They energise me, give me a different perspective and at times help me with my blind spots.

Getting practical
I get contacted by many foreign students who are either looking for advice or a job. Invariably they’ve just finished their master’s and have spent their time doing a few voluntary jobs and unpaid internships.

I tell them to get practical – to ask themselves: What are you good at? What would you like to accomplish? What is your dream?

And then I ask them whether they have a LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn can be crucial, from sharing short-form posts to articles. Many users, for example, are unaware it has a whole section where you can share slides.

Starting a blog is a good option. That way, when you share content you’ll direct people back there so they can develop a better idea about you.

Getting pragmatic
Maybe I’m being too pragmatic or even conservative, but I’m not sure having a master’s degree means a whole lot nowadays.

We live in a glorious era in which middlemen are vanishing across the globe. For example, have you seen the number of CPG brands that are heading directly to the consumer? Soon we will no longer have a need for headhunters.

This year alone, I’ve received three job offers – in Denmark from Danish companies; no middlemen!

Forget perfect
We live in an age in which we can all be visible. And more importantly, we can be heard.

Remember: the internet is indeed a miracle, but the only way to explore and take advantage of it is by taking action.

So, are you prepared to roll up your sleeves, get practical and start to work, or are you just going to carry on waiting for the ‘perfect job’ to turn up?

In 2016, I was tasked by a client to help them increase their sales and industry presence in the UK market, specifically with the top 200 fashion and apparel brands and retailers in the region. The challenge for me was, unlike in my home country of Brazil, I had only five business connections in the […]

In June of 2013 Carlos Monteiro interviewed Matheus Viana, a highly experienced Brazilian tax lawyer focused on helping international companies to navigate through the challenging Brazilian tax system.

In addition to giving a general picture of the Brazilian tax system, Matheus also points out some of the common mistake foreign professionals make when doing business in Brazil.

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