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“For any business, if you’re not looking at the China market, you’re missing out."

Lan Belinky, Co-Creator and General Manager

Clean Beauty Brand boscia Grows Its Presence in China with Support from Tmall Global

Launched in 2002, California-based clean beauty brand boscia has had a remarkable growth trajectory. When the company was founded, “clean beauty” wasn’t even on consumers’ radars, but now it has become a category mainstay.

boscia uses botanical extracts from all over the world in its cleansers, serums and moisturizers and prides itself on its “plant to bottle” formulations. Lan Belinky, General Manager and Co-Creator of the brand, says, “We use the best of nature and advanced technology to create the most effective product, gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.”

The family-run company still manufactures its vegan, cruelty-free products in the U.S., where Ulta, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and others carry the brand. But boscia has also expanded into 46 additional countries—including China, its biggest international market. The brand entered the country under aconsignment model with help of Alibaba and quickly saw such strong results that it launched a flagship store on the company’s B2C cross-border platform Tmall Global just a few months later.

“China had always been on our mind as far as our market expansion,” says Belinky. “It was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t miss and finding the right partner to help us enter the market was very important because it’s not only a huge opportunity, but a huge project with its own unique challenges.”

One Platform, a World of Opportunity

Sarah Inomata, who heads international sales for boscia, recalls that the Tmall Global team reached out directly to the brand in March 2020 to express interest in helping bring the brand’s products to Chinese consumers.

“We had a conversation with the Tmall Global team and reviewed the process,” says Inomata. “They walked us through everything. We really were interested in the consignment model, and in a couple of months, we launched through that model on the platform. It was really a seamless process for us. The Tmall Global consignment model was so easy and effortless that we really should have been there sooner.”

The results the brand saw with consignment spoke for themselves: month-over-month growth for every product offered. The boscia team also gained valuable insights into Chinese consumer needs and preferences thanks to Tmall Global’s consumer analytics.

“We were able to learn what Chinese consumers think about clean beauty, how they look at retail, how they shop and what specific keywords they use when searching for products,” says Inomata. “We received a lot of feedback and positive reviews on the consignment model and had full visibility into what was working and what products were doing really well in the market.”

Based on that early success, boscia decided to participate in Alibaba’s Go Global Pitch Fest and was chosen to be fast-tracked to launch a global flagship store on the Tmall Global platform in time for Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the world’s biggest shopping holiday. The boscia team used a test-and-learn approach during the 11.11 event and has since participated in other Chinese shopping holidays to build awareness and customer loyalty in China.

Inomata notes that one of the most appealing things about launching a Tmall Global flagship store is that brands are able to maintain control over their content, including copy and product images, which are integral to expanding their offerings and sharing their brand story with Chinese consumers.

Leaning in to Livestreaming

With support and guidance from the Tmall Global team, boscia also began to experiment with livestreaming, a wildly popular way of shopping in China that combines retail and entertainment.

“We had no idea the power of livestreaming and how much volume that would bring for us,” Inomata says. “Our first livestream in the Chinese market only lasted for around two minutes, but we sold thousands of units. It’s now a key marketing strategy for us on a monthly basis.”

The company also learned that many Chinese consumers expect to receive a gift with certain purchases and that timely customer service is imperative in China. Inomata notes that, with livestreaming, the brand is able to answer customers’ questions about products and ingredients in real time.

Planning for the Future

Belinky says that boscia has the potential to grow even bigger in China and that the brand plans to continue to innovate new clean formulas, launch new products on Tmall Global throughout the year and monitor sales to determine how well they resonate with Chinese consumers.

“Global reach is a priority and the volume that we can drive on Tmall Global is enormous,” says Inomata. “Our goal now is just to continue to grow on thisplatform and see what we can accomplish. The sky is the limit for us. My advice to other brands that want to sell in China is do not wait. Start now. I wish we had started selling sooner in China via Tmall Global.”