African Luxury Brands
The global luxury goods industry is worth more than $1.48 Trillion (£1.07 Trillion / €1.2 Trillion), according to business consulting firm, Bain & Company. The market for personal luxury goods—the “core of the core” —reached a record high of $323M (£233M / €262M) in 2017. This market is expected to grow by up to 5% annually over the next three years. European top-luxury brands still dominate the industry with perhaps Coach and Michael Kors from the USA mopping up the mass market. This report kicks off a mini-series about African Luxury Brands on AlphaLuxe.
Epara Skincare blends African botanical ingredients into a range of beauty products that count ‘Harrods’ of London as one of its stockists.
The others being ‘Alara’ in Lagos, ‘Labe\chic’ of Brussels, and coming soon is ‘Maison Mara’ in Cape Town.
The product range includes Cleansers, Masks, Moisturisers, Serums and Tonics, starting at £45/$62 and up to £180/$250 per item.
Ozohu Adoh, created Epara Skincare, originally to answer the beauty concerns of ‘women of colour’, but the product’s appeal has spread beyond her target market. Her business plan was built upon London being the biggest market and then selected African countries. She was surprised recently by a Hong Kong agent asking to sell the brand.
Ms Adoh sees similarity between her brand and Asian beauty labels that have already crossed over to appeal to women from different heritage. “We have Korean and Japanese beauty products, which were created for Korean and Japanese women, but have become mainstream and everyone is buying into it.”
Epara, which means “to cocoon oneself” in the Nigerian Ebira dialect, was born out of a personal journey to find luxury skincare that caters to the skin types common in women of colour. Ozohu Adoh grew up in Nigeria, obtained her MBA at Oxford University and has a life-long personal passion for skincare. She suffered from a dry, uneven skin condition. No treatments or cosmetics helped so she decided to make her own.
Using organic ingredients from Africa, she soon found a recipe that worked wonders. Within just a few weeks, the irritability and sensitivity had diminished and her face was soft and clear. Ozohu’s next step was to work closely with a laboratory in the UK to fully develop formulas that address skincare issues faced by women of colour, including dryness and discolouration caused by the sun, free radicals and air pollution.
The result is Epara. A skincare range of hand crafted products derived from Africa to envelope you in an all-natural luxury. Epara repairs and pampers, leaving skin moisturised and hydrated.
“We believe that ingredients Mother Nature has provided within the African continent is best suited for skin concerns of women of colour”.
They strive to source ingredients ethically from across the continent and extract healing, anti-oxidising and nurturing properties. Moringa from Kenya, Marula from South Africa, Argan from Morocco and Shea from Ghana work in synergy to give Epara products their proven efficacy, lustre and intoxicating aromas. We’ll come back to the “proven efficacy” later.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of essentials from the Epara range.
Moisturising Face Cream £105/$145
This luxurious, nourishing face cream contains proven ingredients that leaves skin hydrated and smooth. Its special formula draws on plant extracts and botanical brighteners to target imperfections, even-out skin tone and provide SPF15 protection.
Marula Oil, Moringa Oil, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Licorice root extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Niacinamide (vitamin B3), Sodium Hyaluronate, Neroli Oil, Geranium Oil, Frankincense Oil, Ylang Ylang III
Hydrating Serum £180/$250
This light, refreshing face serum containing proven, natural ingredients that deliver deep hydration to the skin. By targeting wrinkles and damage, skin will appear visibly softer and smoother after two weeks of application.
- 92% Increase in smoothness
- 87% Leaves skin instantly hydrated
* Independent user trials on 120 women between 20 – 59 years of age over a 28-day period.
Licorice Root Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Spilanthes Acmella flower extract, Cotton Thistle flower extract, Frankincense Oil, Ylang Ylang III, Plankton extract.
Award Winning Packaging
One of the reasons for Epara’s success may be the clear and luxurious packaging that won a Luxury Packaging Award in 2017. Of course, the contents must be fit for purpose but the whole package must look and feel luxurious; yet be safe. Slippery fingers with creams and potions make for dangerous situations for “health and safety” reasons.
A 250ml polyester jar was developed for Epara’s Comforting Body Cream. An all-over, everyday beauty essential such as this requires a hardworking pack. The jar is made of PETG to look like glass, without the risk of breaking. Its glossy surface is perfectly colour-matched a smoky green/black, in line with the rest of the product range, meeting the challenge to ensure the same, exact colour across different materials. In fact, so effective was the colour-matching, the jar was used as the colour reference for the whole collection. This is complemented by white, screen-printed lettering and topped with glossy black caps, achieving a minimalist elegance according to the designer’s vision.
Epara’s Eye Serum, Balancing Face Oil and Hydrating Serum are high-end local treatments, requiring a precise delivery system. Quadpack’s Auto-Loading Dropper ensures accurate dosing, while making each drop treasured and appreciated by tactile feedback. The mechanism works by twisting the cap to automatically charge the correct dose. Clicking the push button then dispenses the formula onto your fingertip or directly to the local area. Its construction prevents blockage, while keeping the teat out of sight for a cleaner design.
For the application of Epara’s Moisturising Face Cream, Intense Hydrating Mask and Night Balm, they developed a bespoke, zamak spatula. The ergonomic applicator makes using the products a sensual ritual, gliding the product onto the skin’s most delicate areas. It also adds a cooling sensation, enhancing the formulas’ performance.
The designs for the outer packaging are very high quality, with sharp edges and corners, for prestigious look. The Epara range secondary packaging is the mirror image of the primary packaging. The premium white paper stock used is embossed with a fine Damask pattern and decorated with black foiling.
One African woman’s quest has led to a bespoke beauty brand created especially to nourish and protect.
The new wave of brands pursuing luxury clients could mean brands from Africa may start competing with some of the best known labels in the world.
African Luxury Brands on AlphaLuxe:
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).