Over the last several years the number of innovative start-ups disrupting various industries has increased, leading to the reshaping of local, state, and federal laws. As business environments rarely remain static, these organizations regardless of size have realized that dedicating company resources to the development of their brand’s reputation with both policy makers is critical for their success.

One such company is Beautycounter. The company was founded by Gregg Renfrew, with the goal of bringing “safer and high-performing products to the marketplace and to advocate for stronger cosmetic safety laws.” Keeping with their mission, the company launched a grassroots letter writing campaign coinciding with the 77th anniversary of the 1938 Cosmetic Act. Despite much effort, the bill has not been updated since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill into law.

Let’s take a look at the campaign and how Beautycounter has the potential to be a game changer for the cosmetics industry, like Uber has been for the transportation industry. However, before we take a look at this case study, it’s important to understand what a grassroots campaign truly is and what it is not. In simplest terms, an organization brings together their members, employees, or customers to become their “advocates” and to take action, normally is the form of letter writing and phone calls. Advocates raise the level of awareness regarding certain causes and issues at either the local, state, or federal levels. The purpose of these efforts is so that you can influence public perception and congressional action on legislation and regulations.

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Case Study: Help Us Reform The Cosmetics Industry

Issue

The cosmetics law regulating the cosmetics industry has not been updated since its initial passage into law in 1938. Earlier this year Sen. Barbara Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 1014 the Personal Care Products Safety Act (learn more about the bill here) to strengthen regulatory oversight of skincare and beauty products.

Objective

Have Beautycounter costumers, consultants, and fans contact their senators and ask him or her to co-sponsor S. 1014 to reform the industry.

Method

By using the organization’s blog, email newsletter and social media accounts the company was able to connect with their supporters seamlessly with a strong call to action: Help Us Reform The Cosmetics Industry.  In addition, by launching the campaign on the 77th anniversary date of the 1938 bill, they were able to quickly catch the attention of their readers increasing the number of advocates contacting their senator. Below is an image of the campaign “ad”.

BC_CosmeticsIndustryReform_Photo_Blog-v2b

 

Making the Case

Their call to action clearly communicates to readers what they like about the proposed bill and what they believe needs improving:

  • What We Like
    • We applaud the parts of the Personal Care Products Safety Act that do more to protect public health, including the following:
    • Giving the FDA the authority to review cosmetic ingredients and restrict them as they deem appropriate
    • Ingredient disclosure for online brands and hair salon products, which currently do not have to disclose ingredients
    • Giving the FDA the authority to recall cosmetic products with egregious health impacts
    • Addressing “contaminants,” which can be as harmful as intentionally used ingredients, but which are not disclosed on ingredient labels
  • What We Want To See Strengthened
    • Increase the number of ingredients the FDA can review each year
    • Strengthen the FDA’s Definition of “Safety”
    • Require Ingredient Suppliers To Provide Health and Safety Information to Manufacture.

Take Action

To make the process easy for their advocates the blog provided a sample letter template that can be cut and pasted into an email and sent to targeted Senators. The letter did a great job of describing why they believe changes to the bill are important in order to ensure cosmetics safety. The post also provided a link to the official Senate.gov site with each sitting senator’s contact information.

Going Forward

The campaign did a great job of informing and encouraging participation, the only area of opportunity would be to set up a separate take action page on a website platform, like POPVOX, that would allow advocates to simply type in their zip code.  Once the zip code is entered their senator’s contact information, the letter template, and a space for additional comments would automatically populate and with a click of a button the message would be sent to directly to Congress.  Having a site like this would increase the number of advocates participating and would allow the company to track the success of the campaign – how many people actually sent letters and from which states.

Why This Is Important

Despite which side of the issue you support, having meaningful dialogue will lead to regulation that is beneficial in some way to all parties involved – multi-national brands, independent brands, and consumers.

Beautycounter has taken a powerful position that most of their competitors have not –a very public and visible stand on pending legislation and encouraging their network to champion a policy measure that impacts their business.  Having a mission that is partially grounded in a policy outcome and the willingness to advocate places them on the forefront of small business /start-up grassroots lobbying within the beauty industry.  Over the next several years the industry can expect to see more entrepreneurs with forward-thinking business models/missions participating in the political and legislative process not solely for favorable business outcomes but also for their customers.   You can learn more about Beautycounter’s campaign and take action by visiting their site by clicking here: Help Us Reform The Cosmetics Industry.

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What Say You? Are you in support of the bill? Interested in how Beautycoutner is taking action to see change? Let me know what you think.

1938 is the online magazine blog for Well-Kept Beauty, formally entitled Primer.

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