Only a small pool of European companies can boast of their 200-year histories. Germany has nearly 850 and France barely 200. None can compete with Japan’s 3,146 businesses that have crossed the two-century mark. Many attribute this business longevity to Japan’s pervasive “artisan spirit”. Although still short of its first century anniversary, leading Japanese cosmetics OEM/ODM, Cosmo Beauty’s story shows how a company has used this same “artisan spirit” to capture a major share of the beauty market.
Artisan Spirit: Sticking to Standards
A fanatical focus on production standards and product and service quality have anchored Cosmo Beauty’s development from day one. Cosmo Beauty’s roots date back to 1949 and the opening of its predecessor, Mokuken Chemical Co. in Osaka. The company’s early business provided industrial hand creams and washes. With the later development of aloe vera-based products, the company entered the cosmetics industry in the 1980s with the launch of Cosmo Beauty. Today, Cosmo Beauty’s core business focuses on skincare, make-up, and personal care products.
From its earliest hand creams to aloe vera gels, or its industry-leading remover products, Cosmo Beauty has relentlessly pursued a “quality-first” strategy. Company management point to their world-class sterile environment, their strict ingredients inspection, and final quality management process as examples of their thorough commitment to quality. Their after-sales service also extends their quality assurance after products leave their plants.
Artisan Spirit: Innovation Prevails
In an industry that is often clouded by questionable claims, Cosmo Beauty’s data-driven product development and on-going R&D efforts have become a critical competitive asset. This helps Cosmo Beauty develop more than 4,000 formulations each year that yield 50 high profile new prescriptions which receive hundreds of Japan and international certifications and approvals. In addition, Cosmo Beauty has stepped up its investment in raw materials development and new patent applications to maintain its lead in innovation.
Cosmo Beauty’s service innovation has also pushed it beyond a pure OEM supplier. As the basic OEM model faces increased competition, Cosmo Beauty has repositioned itself as a full-service ODM production partner. The company’s large base of formulations and ability to deploy overseas raw materials provides it with an advantage in working with customers on highly customized, targeted product development.
Artisan Spirit: Success from Singular Focus
The Japanese meaning and spirit of craftsmanship implies a singular focus on pursuing excellence in a particular area. For Cosmo Beauty, that translates into staying true to its OEM/ODM business model. Unlike OEM/ODM competitors that have tried to weather the “retail winter” by creating their own brands, Cosmo Beauty has maintained its OEM/ODM position, neither launching its own brands nor selling directly to the market.
Artisan Spirit: Broad View on Opportunities
While Cosmo Beauty has remained highly focused on its core business, it has taken a broad view toward its markets, channels, and supply bases. Cosmo Beauty was among industry early movers in establishing OEM production overseas. It has built a vast global supply and plant network. In Japan, Cosmo Beauty operates plants in Kanto and Osaka. The company has also established two factories in Vietnam. The company has also built substantial supply capabilities in China and the US. In addition to the trading operation that Cosmo Beauty established in Shanghai in 2004, it has added a 14,284 meter plant in Nantong with a clean production facility and four skin care production lines that can put out 150,000 bottles of skin care product and 100,000 mask products per day. By mid 2017, Cosmo Beauty will begin construction of the second phase of its Nantong plant. When completed in 2018, the new facility will add 12,000 of factory space with 20 new production lines, including 10 mask filling lines, 4 soft tubing lines, and 4 Japanese imported, 4-8 head fully-automated liquid filling lines with total capacity reach 80 million units per year.
After its success at last year’s China Beauty Expo, Cosmo Beauty is preparing for an even bigger showing in 2017 as it anchors its tradition of quality, innovation, and “artisan spirit” deeper into the China market.