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The online beauty retailer has seen nine-fold growth in revenues since its launch, prompting interest from 500 Startups. We speak to founder Lydia Schoonderbeek to find out how Source Beauty achieved massive growth, and how the investment will be used to tap into the ever-growing beauty industry.
The beauty business is booming - from organic, handmade products to high-end, celebrity-endorsed makeup lines - and it's showing no signs of slowing down. Capitalising on a renewed interest in skincare, haircare and makeup among millennials and Gen-Zers alike is Egypt’s multi-brand retailer, Source Beauty. Founded in 2018 by Dutch-Egyptian entrepreneur, Lydia Schoonderbeek, the digital platform has announced today a pre-seed funding round - of an undisclosed figure - from 500 Startups.
Though it started as a blog in 2016, Source Beauty quickly became a chic marketplace for the burgeoning local beauty industry by 2018. “The vision for Source Beauty is to be an informed beauty e-commerce platform that seeks out the best skincare, makeup, fragrances and health products in the market and acts as a hub of information for the Egyptian female,” Schoonderbeek told Startup Scene in an interview, last year. Speaking with her today, it’s clear she’s very much taken strides toward that vision: “A few years ago, whilst I truly believed in my concept, I didn’t know if anyone else would like or believe in Source Beauty and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford the next hire. When you build the things that you believe in you find the driving force to keep going. I approached fundraising as an opportunity to align myself with partners who have more varied experiences to help grow Source Beauty.”
Source Beauty has since reported a seven-fold increase in orders and a nine-fold increase in revenues, largely thanks to its relationships with local brands and top-notch marketing, positioning itself as the authority on beauty and self-care in Egypt. “We want to create a paradigm of commerce that is much more emotional and seamlessly tied in with our suppliers and customers. We want to ensure that our customers, whether returning or new, are at centre stage, and that we are agile and dynamic enough to meet their demands and purchasing habits. What Source Beauty is here to do is not only sell beauty products but to increase the entire market size when it comes to the beauty industry. Most women don’t have only one lip gloss or lip balm by one brand in their bags, they have a few. Moreover, at Source Beauty we don’t think about how to push products, it’s more about pushing stories into an environment where people aren't looking to buy things but are looking to discover answers,” Schoonderbeek tells us.
“The funds will be used to continue the growth trajectory that we have been experiencing the last several months. We will invest more in technology and data analytics, build out the team to handle the increased momentum and invest in areas that would help us reach a wider audience and customer base,” she explains to Startup Scene. “Do you remember when fashion e-commerce websites launched abroad? When buying clothes online seemed like a wild idea? You can click and buy it from pictures and it's delivered to you! This is where Egypt is today with e-commerce. We’re still in that mindset, which is great because there is so much potential for growth. And it makes it so much more exciting to be part of this wave as a leader that is helping to shape the entire scene.”
Tapping into the self-care inspired uptake in quality beauty products that have seen brands across the world become unicorns overnight, Source Beauty is poised to rise to the top as the same trends filter into the Middle East. “The beauty industry in Egypt turned around in 2018 and started saying ‘we’re interested in you, your story and your routines.’ We are seeing a shift in consumer demand for more local, affordable products, where the customer doesn't want to compromise on quality. Beauty is more diverse than ever. Compared with fashion, beauty has been quicker to act on issues like inclusivity. Driven by social media, beauty has, in the last five years, moved to welcome and represent customers all along the spectrum. For beauty brands, their products, and the general measurement of ‘standards of beauty’, Egyptian consumers are looking for representation across a number of beauty categories. This is good news, as our brands are listening and embracing the needs and wants of our customers,” adds Schoonderbeek.
Visit Source Beauty here.
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