Masa Cui (崔晓红), an engineer for a lighting factory in Foshan, Guangdong Province, grew tired of her boring working environment. So, she brought color to her work life by founding her makeup brand Marie Dalgar, which is now rising quickly to be one of the top domestic Chinese cosmetics brands.
History of Marie Dalgar
In December 2006, Marie Dalgar ((玛丽黛佳) created its first grafted mascara, which completely overturned traditional view on mascara. It achieved an amazing sales performance: Marie Dalgar claimed that they sell one mascara every 15 seconds. In May 2008, the Chinese cosmetics brand formally established Shanghai Feiyang Cosmetics Co., Ltd., the marketing center. The brand has followed the rapid development path based in Shanghai and expanding to the whole country. In the same year, it launched its official website, providing consumers with a comprehensive information platform.
In January 2010, Marie Dalgar opened its’ international factory in Shanghai Fengxian Industrial Park, covering an area of 20 acres, which is the largest mascara production base in Asia. Besides, it won the “China Cosmetics Annual Best Single Product Award” at the 2010 China Cosmetics Industry Conference.
In March 2011, Marie Dalgar won the 2010 “Best Makeup Brand” and “Best Single Product” awards in China’s cosmetics industry. In the same year, the brand joined hands with the well-known fashion women’s website Kimiss, and organized makeup contest with international brands such as Armani, Bobbi Brown, and MAC.
Currently, Marie Dalgar is one of the most promising cosmetics brands in the Chinese market.
Marie Dalgar’s brand concept
As the brand claims, besides the perfect effects, makeup is also an artistic master piece. It enhances confidence and it is a factor for different life expression. Marie Dalgar represents the spirit of modern woman’s personality and the attitude of women in this era.
Focusing on young consumers
From the user portrait, Marie Dalgar’s target group is 18-24 year old college students, and 25-35 young white-collar workers in China who have just started work. Brand has a strong focus on young consumers and builds products that are easy for them to use on different occasions. The youthful brand naturally attracts young consumers through its product innovation and engaging cross-over marketing in the ‘new retail’ environment. Having its own research and development centers and manufacturing bases allows Marie Dalgar to innovate and meet changing demands quickly.
Data Source: NetVoices, 2018 Top Cosmetic Brands in China Report, Marie Dalgar’s consumers by age
Marie Dalgar’s marketing strategies
The domestic brand embraces the “New Retail” concept, taking a unique approach to increase the consumer experience and build brand awareness. On top of this, it has been a pioneer in collaborations.
Cooperating with third parties for campaigns
Co-branding is a key marketing strategy. These collaborations are through co-branding, such as collaboration with KFC and Heineken, and through collaboration with social media platforms like Douyin.
Co-branding rather than embassadors
Every year, Marie Dalgar holds Crossover Art Project. The brand invites artists to express themselves by using its make-up products. For example, fashion photographer Paco Peregrin chose the theme ‘Facing’ in 2015. The following year, photographer Damien Dufresne opted for ‘Through your eyes’ . For its products packaging, the brand also calls on artists, like the young Chinese artist JINLE, invited to celebrate the year of the pig. Out of a limited edition run of 3,000 units, Marie Dalgar sold 1,000 units within 10 minutes. The campaign reached 62 million consumers online, with a total of 50 million engagements.
Source: Marie Dalgar, Wechat, Year of the pig campaign
Cooperation with KFC
The young makeup brand decided to take advantage of the expanding retail ecosystem by cooperating with third parties for special campaigns. Marie Dalgar outsourced sales efforts and found other ways to use partners’ e-commerce platforms in China. In 2017 Marie Dalgar cooperated with KFC on campaigns and advertising, pulling in traffic from KFC’s huge consumer base.
Source: Chinessima, Marie Dalgar’s cooperation campaign with KFC
Marie Dalgar and KFC created the “Pink is Cool” theme cross-border lipstick gift box. “Pink” and the shared target audience became the basis of this cross-industry cooperation. Marie Dalgar used this collaborative lipstick to create a cool makeup look, and attracted the attention of makeup consumers through the sharing on the Weitao platform. KFC used stores and offline resources to create a cross-border offline theme store to promote this cooperation. The campaign helped the brand win 1.4 million visits on Tmall’s official store and make over RMB 12 million in sales. Most of visits were from selling limited edition gift sets, which included both KFC coupons and lipsticks.
Cooperation with TikTok
In April 2018, Marie Dalgar and TikTok jointly launched challenge event. Being the first collaboration of its kind in the beauty industry, the video challenge had a maximum number of participants of 75,000. The event and related advertisements reached approximately 288 million people.
Cooperation with CCTV
Marie Dalgar partnered with the CCTV documentary series “National Treasure” for a limited-edition lipstick. It helped to build a well-earned reputation among consumers for championing Chinese heritage. Collaborations don’t even need to be in the realm of high culture as long as it will reach the masses in popular spaces.
Cooperation with Heineken
Marie Dalgar teamed up with brewing giant Heineken and Tmall in 2019 to release a “forgiveness” gift box. The gift box was released on Tmall’s “Fans Day” to coincide with the European Champions’ League soccer final, which Heineken sponsors. The hook: soccer lovers could give their partners a gift box to beg “forgiveness” and apologize for ignoring them while watching the final. “Wearing a green cap” in Chinese means “to cheat on your loved one”–in this case, with soccer. Two boxes were offered in “his” and “hers” editions. One box featured green lipsticks and green tea flavors, while the other contained limited-edition Champions’ League bottles of Heineken.
Marie Dalgar uses AR to attract customers
Marie Dalgar and Ali jointly launched the “unmanned color vending machine” and the beauty unmanned store “TO GO “ combined with the platform’s big data to reach more potential consumers. Marie Dalgar’s “TO GO” store features an augmented reality (AR) mirror to link offline consumers’ experience with their online purchase. This application of AI in beauty boosted both offline and online sales.
Source: Chinessima, Marie Dalgar’s “TO GO” store in Shanghai
WeChat and Tmall are key platforms for brand’s retail and marketing
Marie Dalgar established the “Playing Color Academy” on WeChat. They use this mini-program to make more customers to reach offline channels. On top of this, Marie Dalgar uses WeChat database for analysis of user portraits and then send it to product development department.
Marie Dalgar actively uses Tmall and gained popularity among its users. In 2018 its rating there was even higher than such cosmetic giants as Armani, Estee Lauder and YSL. Besides, brand’s live streaming on Double Eleven was equally astonishing, with a total of nearly 100 live broadcasts for 300 hours and 1.3 million views.
Data Source: NetVoices, 2018 Top Cosmetic Brands in China Report, Make-up brands rating among e-commerce users in China
Marie Dalgar is one of the leading cosmetic brands in China
Data Source: Kantar, Top-5 fast-growing make-up brands in China
Innovative products push Marie Dalgar’s sales in China
In its early stages, Marie Dalgar attracted attention thanks to its “grafting” mascara, especially adapted to the relatively short and sparse eyelashes of Asian people. “It lengthens eyelashes by 300% and increases their density by 700%”, according to Jumeili.
Marie Dalgar’s Innovative products:
- The world’s first grafted mascara
- The first micro-vibration electric mascara in China
- The first domestically baked eyeshadow and blush
- The first mascara with retractable brush in China
- The first vibrating mascara in China
- The first domestic mascara with adjustable thickness and variable extension brush
- The first domestic mascara with 360° rotating brush
- The first custom-made DIY eye shadow in China
Marie Dalgar was the number one domestic makeup brand during the 2018 Double Eleven festival
On Double 11 shopping festival in 2018, Marie Dalgar’s online flagship store was on the Tmall’s Top Beauty brands list. Its mascara also was in TOP 3 hot single products. The daily turnover of offline shopping mall channel stores increased by 414% year-on-year during 11.11 festival. Marie Dalgar participated in Tmall Double Eleven many times, and won the “New Retail Outstanding Contribution Award” from Tmall. The relationship between Marie Dalgar and Tmall are complementary.
Marie Dalgar expands to the Asian market
All of these steps helped to make Marie Dalgar one of the best-selling local brands and advanced the company onto the global stage. It became the first Chinese brand to sell its products in Sephora stores outside of China.
Expansion to Singapore
At the end of 2018, the brand entered Singapore via Sephora. To Mary Dalgar’s CEO, Chen Haijun (陈海军), Southeast Asia is only a preamble before Europe and the United States. “Worldwide markets will represent 20% of the brand business within 5 years”, he said.
Because of it’s strong innovation power, and collaborations to expand it’s consumer base, Marie Dalgar is one Chinese brand that is worth learning from.