Lime Crime, the Los-Angeles-based cult makeup brand known for its vibrant hues and fantasy-like packaging, recently expanded its product line to China. As China is known for its mandate that requires animal-testing to be performed on all wholesale beauty products, the announcement of the launch may come as a shock for those who know LimeCrime as a sworn vegan and cruelty free brand.
Yet fans who shop the brand primarily for its dedicated stance on animal rights will be relieved to know Lime Crime’s recently promoted Global General Manager, Kim Walls, found a unique approach to entering China’s beauty market, without compromising their vegan ethics.
Entering China as a Cruelty Free Brand
Launched in 2008 by founder, CEO and owner, Doe Deere, Lime Crime is certified by both PETA and the Leaping Bunny Program as a 100% vegan and cruelty free makeup brand. This means that all of their products are formulated without animal ingredients or byproducts such as beeswax, lanolin, whey or carmine. This also means they do not partake in and are rigidly against the practice of testing products on animals, which directly conflicts with the mandate on China’s beauty market.
Speaking to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Shop.org Conference in Los-Angeles, Walls said, “Looking at China, one of the things I knew based on prior experience is that we couldn’t sell in any of the ways that I knew how to sell.”
In the efforts to evade China’s required practices of animal testing, Walls considered the option of shipping Lime Crime products to China directly out of the United States. Unfortunately, this scenario would present many complex transportation logistics, duties and taxes. Not to mention, there would be other international concerns such as managing returns and responding to customer inquiries written in a foreign language.
With these obstacles in mind, the brand was also forced to address another more scandalous issue. Walls revealed that in the previous year alone, over a million units of counterfeit Lime Crime lip toppers were sold via Chinese marketplaces. There was clearly a specific customer and demand for the brand, but how would they get the product ethically into the country?
Lime Crime’s Solution Was Found Right in Their Hometown
To enter China’s beauty market without sacrificing their vegan values and the cruelty-free backbone of Lime Crime’s brand, Walls partnered with the ecommerce fashion platform, Revolve. Not only is Revolve another Los-Angeles based company, but it just so happened that they had been looking for an opportunity to venture their fashion-based online hub into the realm of cosmetics. However, Revolve had been experiencing troubles selling in China as well.
“They really stood out as people who were servicing a very similar consumer from a very similar perspective,” Walls reported of Revolve.
Lime Crime and Revolve joined efforts in directing the initial roll out. Lime Crime built a “seed audience” in China’s cosmetic market by influencing people who landed on their website and socials to shop through Revolve’s ecommerce site. This in turn promoted Revolve as the sole official source to purchase legitimate Lime Crime products in China.
In a smart marketing maneuver, Lime Crime also offered the opportunity for existing fans of the brand to gain access to its ecommerce hub at the commuting time, which was two full hours before its launch. This successfully encouraged the spread of online word of mouth across the country.
Lime Crime Remains Leaping Bunny Certified
In the efforts to sell Lime Crime in China, Walls partnered with a number of other influencers, yet the brand specifically chose to avoid working with large “first-tier” experts, opting instead for lesser-known and indie companies who were passionate about promoting the brand and supporting its core values. A point Doe Deere makes very clear on LimeCrime’s official blog.
“For us, it’s most critical to have someone speaking on our behalf, or actually generating content with our product that looks like it would fit with our brand,” said Walls. “And that’s not necessarily the first-tier influencer, because they are their own brand.”
Thanks to Walls’ dedication to the brand’s mission and values, this creative solution will allow Lime Crime to keep its Leaping Bunny certification and the country of China can now shop authentic Lime Crime vegan makeup. This joins other LimeCrime partnerships like that of Doll’s Kill, and Naimies as other major stores to carry the brand.