It goes without saying that developing a beauty product isn’t the easiest job. It involves tedious planning, research, and testing—all that seemingly boring stuff just to make the cosmetic and skincare items we need.
This is what UP Visayas students Genevieve Millan, Herna Tiagan, and Jasper Dioco experienced when they joined L’Oreal Brandstorm Philippines 2017. Collectively known as Team Maxim, they won a spot for the international finals in Paris this June with their cocktail-inspired InSpirit line. This includes a compact powder (Chaser Spray), dry shampoo (Dry Smash), deodorant infused with rum (Deo Rocks), and instant shower (Body Shot)—all combined in one bottle.
We had the chance to chat with the three before they flew back to their hometown about the process of making InSpirit. Also, how they’re preparing to represent the Philippines at Brandstorm’s finals.
How did you come up with the concept of your product for L’Oreal Brandstorm?
Genevieve Millan: We wanted something that would appeal to men, so we thought of liquor. So [Herna] said that vodka can be used as a toner, but we had to do additional research on the active components.
Herna Tiagan: Because vodka is mostly used by girls and I tried researching other liquors [that would work for men.] So, I found rum, which is usually associated with men.
Is it the first time you made a product, especially for a competition? If so, how was it?
HT: It felt like each level was a different competition because there were a lot of things that needed to be fixed.
GM: Especially our presentation.
Jasper Dioco: For the product, it was very difficult because we’re business students and we don’t have background in chemical engineering. So we learned about chemicals compounds and active ingredients, and how we can incorporate that in our product.
HT: We needed to read a lot of articles, consult a lot of people. We couldn’t just do something instantly because we thought of it. We really needed to make it feasible.
GM: We also needed other peoples’s perspectives to help us improve our presentation.
As business students who just started with product development, what was your mindset throughout the process?
JD: We wanted to know what the consumers wanted first. We wanted to know cosmetics and how we can change the men’s grooming industry and it’s products.
HT: It mainly revolves around innovation. I mean, why make a product when there’s nothing new in it? Almost every aspect of our presentation, including the marketing side, we wanted to make it unique.
Was it more difficult to conceptualize a men’s product?
HT: You’d already know what women would use because it’s common. For men, there are a lot of barriers.
GM: And when you ask them, even they don’t know what they want.
So you did a survey for men as well. What did you find from your results?
JD: As you can see, our new product innovation doesn’t just have a new active ingredient. We actually thought of having all our products in spray form because men don’t want to use pads or massage products on their face. They also don’t want others to see them applying moisturizers that way. Men usually have this pride of spraying perfume—they want others to see them do that and you know, masculinity and all. We hinged on that [insight,] and came up with a compact powder in spray form.
HT: If it were a girl, they wouldn’t care if it’s in any form because you know that they always use it. For men, they don’t fuss about their appearance as much. They can be out the door in five minutes even.
GM: And the trend for the grooming industry for men is evolving. They also have BB Cream now. So you can foresee it in the future that it’s possible that men will also have specific products that are similar to women’s. But right now, the approach should be subtle so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
You guys are flying to Paris for Brandstorm’s International Finals soon. How are you preparing for that?
HT: Actually, we haven’t accomplished much yet because we’re still taking our final exams. We want to finish that first so we can really focus on the competition. For the past levels, we juggled academics and L’Oreal.
JD: We have to prepare our 10 slides and prototype. Those are the only items we’re allowed to bring. We’re not allowed to bring collaterals like flyers and even video.
GM: The challenge is it’s difficult to explain our product with only pictures. You really need to see a video [of how to use it.] So we really need to think of how to present this to the judges in just five minutes and 10 slides.
JD: We have to work within the limits [of having our slides in PDF form with no animations.]
HT: Even the prototype is a tedious job because we still need to have it made. It’s not [a regular bottle] that you can simply change its sticker. It’s a customized product.
What are you expecting when you arrive to Paris for the competition?
GM: Meeting with new people and cultures, and also learn about their ideas.
HT: It’s exciting because the top students from different countries will be there. So it’s cool to see the products they came up with. We can watch the other teams presentations while waiting for the judges to finish deliberating.
Advice for aspiring cosmetic product-makers like you
JD: Understand the people that you want to help. For example, we wanted to help men who don’t have time to prepare.
HT: Look for a need. No matter how nice your product is, if there’s no need then no one would buy it. With us, everything evolved because of our target market.
GM: Just be creative. Don’t limit yourselves with your ideas. Ask other people too because their ideas might be applicable to your product.
JD: Our product began as a “What if?” in a coffee shop. [Herna] asked us, “What if we focus on alcohol?”
HT: It started out as a joke at first. Even the craziest ideas can work. What’s also good is that three of us have different personalities, and our ideas and approach aren’t monotonous. It’s easier to spot the flaws and not just say yes to every suggestion.
Photos courtesy of Ogilvy PR