Dennis Ericsson, David Lauwiner, and Filip Tysander met at the Swedish watch sensation Daniel Wellington, where they worked with tech development and internationalization. A few years ago, they founded Comis, a beauty-tech brand aiming at disrupting the beauty industry.
— We just had our first launch, a self-tan product called True Tan. We also launched the device and the technology behind the application of all products, says Jenny Sundbom, interim CMO, with a long background working with beauty brands and, more recently, beauty-tech brands. She continues:
— Our three founders wanted to find a segment within the lifestyle industry where they felt there were lots of improvements to be made. The first product is a self-tan because that’s an industry which is overcrowded but very underexploited. So, for their first step, they decided to try to set a new standard for self-tan. During this year and the next year, there are plans to launch four or five different products for the face and neck as well as, later on, develop a concept for the body.
Just like Daniel Wellington disrupted the watch industry, it’s fair to say that you now aim to disrupt the beauty industry.
— It is in a way because there are so many improvements to be made on how we look at sustainability in the beauty industry. We use so much resources for primary, secondary, and more for the different packaging, so if you could do something there, that’s great. And since the whole concept is built on recyclability, we’re also looking into developing an easy way to send back your used capsules to get a discount or some other benefit when you buy new ones. The device is fully recyclable and so are the capsules. In the long run, we’re trying to improve the whole beauty industry with both products and behaviour.
And how can your product change consumer behaviour for the better?
— If you ask me personally when it comes to the amount of products we purchase and the amount of resources every single one of us consumes per year or per month — we have to do something about it, says Sundbom. It’s also about how much product you use because it’s a lot of overconsumption in the beauty industry. The question should not be about how much you use, but what you use. In this respect, technology is our best friend. I’ve been working with beauty-tech for many years and this is one of the easiest concepts to use that I have come across in a long time. It could really really help us to change our behaviour.
And from your experience, what’s the current state of beauty-tech?
— I work with several brands and I work a lot with Asia. If you look at Korea or Japan, and how far they have come, how they develop formulations, different textures, and ways of applicating whatever you decide to use to fix your problem, we are just at the very start of the beauty-tech revolution in Scandinavia and Europe. There’s immense potential for innovation, behavioural change, and the development of products that could be so, so, so much better. For me, it’s the most interesting segment to be in with a lot of potential. We have very, very interesting years ahead. And as I said, Europe and Scandinavia in particular are just at the beginning of the beauty-tech revolution in skincare.
What are the biggest differences between Scandinavia and Europe and Asia?
— In Asia, since they have come much further, and they have so many beauty-tech products on the market for every person to enjoy and benefit from. They put so much money into research and development in the beauty-tech area and we have not done that yet, but I’m sure that it will come. The biggest difference is attention and how important it is for big and smaller players within skincare and also makeup, general beauty, and haircare with beauty-tech. For the European side of beauty-tech, I think it’s just about knowing that there are possibilities here and deciding on trying to do something. This is where Asia is way, way, way ahead of us.
Nespresso has disrupted the coffee industry in a similar way with capsules. Is it realistic to believe that the way we have consumed beauty and skincare for hundreds of years can change?
— It’s funny that you say Nespresso because one of our founders has said that this is about trying to become ’Nespresso for beauty’. So, I think it’s great potential but the learning curve is quite steep. It will not happen in a month or two but it will take time.
If we talk about the actual product, how does it differentiate from other self-tan products?
— The packaging and the dispensing system are very efficient since we’ve used nanotechnology when developing the device. The droplets are around 50 times smaller than a normal spray product and thus penetrate the skin easier and it goes deeper to do the job that it’s supposed to do. And this is not just a self-tan product, it also has nurturing, moisturizing, and skincaring benefits. If we look at DHA (dihydroxyacetone, an ingredient commonly used in sunless tanning lotions and products, Ed’s note), it can basically be partly synthetic and/or natural. We use natural, and it’s also completely without trace colour, which is what stains your bedsheets, your white T-shirt, or your bathroom and gives you this very orange look that we’ve all seen so many times. So this is more efficient and also much more personal because it’s based on the user’s pigmentation and complexion. So, it works for everyone, even sensitive skin — and the lack of the awful smell is one big, big benefit as well…, says Sundbom.