“When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things: There will be ground to stand. Or you will grow wings to fly.” – O.R. Melling
It’s almost been one full year since I received a call from my son, Louis-Alexandre, who was studying at NYU’s Florence, Italy campus, to tell me that he had just received an email from NYU announcing that the school was shutting the Florence campus due to increasing incidents of the COVID 19 infection in Italy. All students were to leave the country immediately. It was midnight on Feb 25th, 2020. Louis was on a plane the next morning. We had no idea how things would unfold…
In March 2020, the COVID 19 virus started to grow in all parts of the world. Stores began to close. We started to understand that the world was changing rapidly and things would never be the same. We all had to get used to working from home (hello Zoom!) and doing all of our shopping, from groceries to skincare, online. With some of NANNETTE de GASPÉ’s strongest markets… the state of California, NYC, London, etc. closing or being severely hit by the virus, we quickly shifted the majority of our focus to interacting with our clients digitally. Initially, I questioned how we would survive this. Almost one year into it, we continue to navigate through a constantly evolving new normal in the way we live, socialize, shop…
We accept that we must roll with the punches and adapt, as things adapt around us.
As an example, last spring we had planned to go into production to replenish our product inventories. Under normal circumstances, we were on track and would have more than enough inventory on hand for the projected demand. We were working with our product manufacturer to get ready for production. Unfortunately, no one was prepared for the supply chain disruptions that would result due to the COVID crisis. Production was delayed, and delayed again and again, due to active ingredient suppliers unable to supply some of the ingredients that are crucial in our formulations. We began to hear in the industry that other skincare companies were facing similar problems. As the inventory levels in some of our products dwindled, and demands for these products increased, we started to get concerned that we would not be able to fulfill orders, would alienate our retailers and would damage our brand’s reputation. Even now, months later, we are still waiting on a couple of products, expecting ingredients to arrive any day. We have had to stop, breath and accept that certain things are out of our control and that we are doing the best we can. We have had to have tough conversations with our retailers, to adjust our launch schedules for new products and simply adapt.
More timely than ever, we are quickly reacting to our client’s needs and taking action. I remember speaking to my team about creating a hand cream, using our Biomimetic Micro Vector (BMV) technology, to combat everyone’s over washed virus weary hands. Being seasoned beauty executives, the team warned that retailers did not generally buy into hand cream. It was not a big seller on the shelves. But I wanted to offer a product that was relevant and effective. Fortunately, with our rapidly changing world and the internet becoming our main platform to sell our products, there were no shelves, and we could offer our customers products that we knew they really needed. We moved quickly to offer a hand cream that is truly reparative and restorative and that includes antibacterial ingredients as well. Last fall, we launched our Youth Revealed Hand Cream online and are so delighted with the customer feedback, citing that our hand cream has healed their hands, even several suffering from psoriasis and eczema. This is extremely rewarding for us!
With social distancing and lockdowns, greater than ever, people are embracing selfcare. Addressing personal needs allows us to find a happy balance in our lives. It better equips us to handle life’s challenges, helping us to prevent mental, emotional and physical burnout. We are seeing through our online chats and masterclasses with our clients that they are now taking the time to learn and understand the unique offering of our brand with its science base, natural ingredients and sensorial experience. They are not just buying our skincare, they are discovering how to enjoy the products… appreciated the textures, the smells and aromatherapy benefits, while using them to improve and revitalize their skin.
Like the majority of the businesses out there, we cannot downplay the challenges that we’re facing under these trying times. But we have learned to start each day being thankful that we have our business and are able to continue to build. We have learned not to allow our fears to stifle us and to truly believe that when one door closes, another opens. We seek new opportunities, find solutions where we can and try to get around stumbling blocks.
I want to personally thank all of you for your ongoing support, especially over the last year, and I hope to get to connect with all of you more in the year to come.
Nannette de Gaspé Beaubien