Monday, 17 October 2011

An interview with Carmine about beauty sampling boxes and revolutionising the online beauty landscape

Michiel Kotting, founder and CEO of Carmine

Freshly launched in the UK this month, Carmine takes beauty sampling to the next level and aims to revolutionise the online beauty landscape. Michiel talks to Your Beauty Industry about beauty boxes as a sampling tool, building an online beauty community and the potential of the internet for the beauty industry.

Congratulations on the launch of Carmine! Can you give us an overview of what Carmine is all about?
Carmine is a subscription-based service that helps consumers discover cool beauty products and brands and find out more about them. Carmine also has a fast growing online community of like-minded beauty addicts that get to interact with brands and each other about what they love best: beauty!

"We have created a beauty community where consumers can participate, express themselves and meet like-minded people"
What benefits does this kind of sampling offer consumers? 
The monthly box of five deluxe sized beauty samples we send to our consumers every month is a handpicked selection of great niche brands and beauty staples. This provides our users with fresh product ideas and the opportunity to try products before buying them. At the same time we make sure that they find out all they can about these products, and get special offers and other perks from the brands. Finally, we have created a beauty community where consumers can participate, express themselves and meet like-minded people. 

How can participating beauty brands benefit from your service?
By putting brands in touch with avid beauty users we enable them to expose their products and message to people who can become their most loyal customers. In gathering feedback from users we give brands important insights into how their products are being perceived, and by opening up a two-way communication channel, beauty brands can reach out to consumers with interesting perks and offers.

How do you think beauty box subscription sampling sits alongside more traditional sampling formats?
Box subscription as a form of sampling benefits from all the best that online has to offer while putting actual product in the hands of consumers – it’s in the comfort of your own home, it gets to know subscribers and therefore targets the service to their needs, it provides the ideal combination of product experience, marketing message, editorial, expert guided how-to and community. It’s two way instead of one way communication, so it empowers users.

Tell us more about Carmine's plans to build an online community.
We want to bring together all the best sources in beauty. This can include founders of exciting brands, experienced master perfumers or R&D leaders, stylists to the stars, bloggers, editors from major publications and style icons.

However, often the most relevant component is avid beauty users like all of us. By polling, sharing, filling out profiles and commenting, our users share rich experiences which benefit themselves, each other and participating brands. We have started simple with comment boxes, a Beauty Profile quiz and active participation on social media, but we have a whole range of tricks up our sleeve. Stay posted to find out more, or let us know what you find important.

"Online will play a much larger role for beauty; it is absurd that 30% of computers are sold online and yet less than 4% of lipsticks are bought in this way"

What do you think is the future of beauty online and which industries can we learn from?
Online will play a much larger role for beauty than it does today. It is absurd that 30% of computers are sold online and yet less than 4% of lipsticks are bought in this way, while beauty blogs attract more readers every day by far than technology publications. Recent developments in social media will accelerate this process. For me a good example is the fashion industry, where the landscape has been revolutionized in the past 3 years.

What does the future hold for Carmine?
We hope to play an integral part in changing how beauty develops online, and be a partner for brands, bloggers and consumers in accelerating the discovery and enjoyment of beauty products.

To find out more about including your beauty brand in Carmine's beauty box, contact


*I am working with Carmine on its blogger relations programme*

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