In just under three years, Hermosa Flor Cosmetics, founded by ex-navy-turned-entrepreneur, Mbali Sabapu, has bagged multiple awards and recently celebrated opening up their 4th store in Cape Town. Hermosa Flor has established itself as a much-needed delightful success story that aspirationally speaks to so many tenets of the black experience in our pursuit for success. It speaks to entrepreneurs and the pursuit of legacy, it speaks to black content creators who’ve not been represented well in the beauty industries, it speaks to representation and inclusion, it speaks to black excellence and black woman empowerment! It’s been an absolute pleasure watching its come up unfold before our eyes. We caught up with the Hermosa Flor team to unpack the ways in which they are disrupting the cosmetics industry.
1. High-end Product Quality At A Fraction Of The Price
High-end product quality at a fraction of the price is perhaps the most significant way Hermosa Flor is disrupting the market. Beyond add-ons, the most crucial part of anyone’s experience with cosmetic products is the quality – is the product delivering on what it said it would and more? If it is an eyeshadow palette, is the colour pay-off as bright and as creamy as promised? If it’s a plumping serum, is my skin feeling plumpier than usual? In most cases, cosmetic products that deliver on their promise DO NOT come cheap; and in the rare cases they are affordable, their product range is not suitable for anyone darker than “cinnamon”.
Anyone who got their hands on Hermosa Flor’s debut eye shadow palette can attest to being blown away by the quality of the product given the price. A step further when assessing the quality was the choice in textures and colours – perfect balance of bronzey and bold tones, shimmers and glitters – a well thought-out product.
“Our retail price point is low for a reason. Imagine a highly pigmented, non-flaking, long lasting, full coverage lipstick for only R160.00? That does not have to be a thought anymore because as Hermosa Flor, we were able to bring that offering to the cosmetic market. In fact, we do not have any product priced over R400.00 which is quite exceptional and competitive in the cosmetic sphere,” says Operations Manager Sandisiwe Toko.
2. All The Range While Maintaining Good Quality
In just 3 years, Hermosa Flor has grown their product offering immensely. They’ve not only grown their product offering, but they have continued to maintain the same level of quality throughout their offering, something even global legacy brands often get wrong. Not reserving good quality for flagship products only is another major differentiator.
“Initially, we offered palettes, and with the palettes we were able to build a name for ourselves. Customers associated the product with high pigmentation which was a great signature for the brand and it was able to carry us through.”
“We have now diversified and upscaled to providing lipglosses; lipsticks; brow kit; translucent powders; setting sprays; contour and blush palette; skin care for both acne prone skin and Glow Range; and accessories such as brush sets and beauty blenders,” says Operations Manager Sandisiwe.
3. All About The Glow Gang
It’s common knowledge that all brands should aim to be customer centred in all they do but we’re seeing new levels of being “all about the customer” with Hermosa Flor.
“When decision making, thorough research is conducted to understand what our customers need. From product development to customer service, our clients are at the centre and are involved in the process.”
“For example; when launching the Love At First Bake Translucent Powder range, our product development team conducted a survey that was dedicated to understanding the benefits and different skin shades and tones. From there, we were able to create a range that offered a variety of essential benefits and that catered for a wide audience, the research process was done with our glow gang, by them, and for them.”
There was a time not too long ago when extensive make up options simply did not exist for black individuals. Most notably was the lack of inclusive shade ranges and black-owned options in large retailers, but if you are a black make-up enthusiast, you noticed a lack of inclusive options in not just shade ranges, but in other products as well – you noticed the majority grey-toned eye shadow palettes that looked ashey on your melanated skin and the lipstick options that made you look like you’re playing dress up. To have a brand whose entire product catalogue caters to you is something worth celebrating.
4. Inclusivity – A Seat At The Table For Everyone
There’s a reason Hermosa’s digital presence has experienced the sharp growth it has in a short space of time – no other cosmetic brand is committed to collaborating and platforming, especially black, beauty content creators like Hermosa Flor Cosmetics. In the beauty community especially, this is a major differentiator.
The battle for representation and recognition by black beauty content creators from big legacy cosmetics brands is well known and well documented in the beauty community, fortunately this is a gap Hermosa recognised and committed to addressing. Hermosa is platforming black content creators of all shades, shapes, genders and influence.
“Instead of partnering with macro influencers who have the resources and a larger audience to market our offerings, we have decided to mostly use nano and micro influencers. This is because they are more authentic, they are able to utilise our products entirely which allows them to have more detailed reviews. In that way we are able to broaden our audience spectrum.”
5. Digital Savviness
With over 74 000 followers on Instagram garnered in under 3 years, and a very active engagement rate, Hermosa Flor is the most followed black female owned cosmetics brand.
“Our founder, Mbali Sebapu, was able to utilise her Instagram platform to create a demand and expose the brand to the targeted audience.”
“Throughout the years she has been in the influencer marketing space, Mbali had the opportunity to form bonds with her audience totally based on trust. So from there it was easier for us to penetrate the market.”
“With social media platforms we were also introduced to a different tool to marketing, so instead of utilising tradition media such as billboards and TV commercial, people now want to see you actually using the products, they want to be shown the specific product characteristics you are selling. Instagram has assisted in this manner as we are able to host live videos and showcase our many products by utilising them.”