Lime Crime, an American cosmetics brand, partnered with Revolve, a Los Angeles based fashion platform, to sell their products in China. As a vegan brand, they faced difficulties in selling their products to a Chinese market where all cosmetics must be tested on animals. According to Kim Walls, the Global General Manager of Lime Crime, the company needed to branch out from their usual distribution methods. In order to avoid testing on animals, the brand will ship their products directly to China from the United States, however, this poses several logistical issues. Among these issues are language barriers, duties, and international returns.
In addition to those issues, a substantial counterfeit market already existed for the company’s products in China. Prior to their partnership, Revolve already serviced a similar audience to the one Walls wanted to reach in China as an online fashion platform. Revolve was looking to expand into the beauty segment, which made the companies a natural fit. The brands utilized a multi-part strategy to introduce the product, creating a ‘seed audience’ in China before the official launch. Lime Crime encouraged their social media viewers to visit Revolve’s website, promoting the retailer as the only legitimate source of their products in China. Walls emphasized the ‘unified effort’ by the two companies in order to undermine the existing counterfeit market.
The brands rewarded existing fans by allowing them to access the online market two hours prior to the official launch of the products, which prompted discussion of the brand online. Additionally, they used influencers to promote via word of mouth and their own social media channels. Walls stressed that the companies wanted content that reflected the cosmetics’ brand and, therefore, avoided using well-known ‘first tier’ influencers who had already developed their own brand, favoring more obscure influencers who were avid users of the company’s cosmetics in their promotion instead.