"Big Make Up"

Well it looks like "Big Make Up" has struck again.  I read this week that L'Oreal has offered 1.15 billion Euros for YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) Beaute, that's US$1.68 BILLION!!!!   That is some pretty hefty petty cash to be throwing around.  This will add Zegna, Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney fragrances, Roget & Gallet soaps and YSL Beaute products to their already huge production of Biotherm, Lancome, Maybelline, Vichy and of course L'Oreal.  That is one big portfolio.  Now, according to Jenny Wiggins of FT.com this is only to purchase the license, YSL still owns the name, but even so this will seem to have L'Oreal holding a huge corner of the market, but believe me it is NOTHING compared to Estee Lauder!  Estee Lauder owns Estee Lauder (obviously), Clinique, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown and Prescriptives....to only name a few!!

This confuses me, if I were a manufacturer of anything (which I am not) I would want to make the best of each product that I could, not 50 different kinds of hand cream, 60 different moisturisers or an infinite number of lipsticks. I would just want to be known for making the best.  I don't think I could say it any better than Dennis Paphitis, the founder of Aesop the Australian cosmetics company, in an interview with Michele Lian, when he describes this mass marketing and mass ownership as “passionless products constructed by marketing departments and focus groups, and designed to exploit the vulnerabilities of people to appeal to those who would like to be lighter, slimmer, thinner, whatever.”  Now, being Australia Day, and me being the girl from Bondi that I am, I am going to liken this to the most obvious thing that springs to mind.....that would be beer.  Yes, I know, that does seem like a strange leap but come with me on this little journey to my point and see what you think. 

You see the same thing has been happening in the beer industry for years, each "Big Brewery" makes a veritable bevy of beers, or they find someone who is making a great beer and they buy them out, until there are several of the same kinds of beer being made by the one big company.  As someone who enjoys a beer every now and again I wonder how that philosophy sits with the guy who surely started the brewery with the intention of making the best beer in the world, he might possibly be wondering what is going on, because in my opinion the beer slowly but surely is the thing that gets compromised.

Now there is good news though, this practice has birthed the beautiful thing called the Micro Brewery, these little brewing companies that will not compromise on quality for quantity and will make only the best beer in the world, sure they might make a pale, a lager, a pilsner and a stout, but only one of each kind of beer.  I believe the same thing is happening in the beauty industry. People like Ali Hamylton and Dennis Paphitis, who were sick of either not being able to get what they were looking for, or finding the commercial brand names overwhelming in the large ranges of the same things that they were offering... said to themselves something similar to the bloke leaning on the bar one Friday night, 'I can make a much better bloody beer than this!'

So on this Australia Day of 2008 this surfy chick, makeup artist, beer loving all Australian girl says thank you to Ali Hamylton, Dennis Paphitis and to all the other micro brewing cosmetic houses out there, that have decided to make only the best of what they love and not compromise on quality over quantity, who put it all on the line to do what they love....Thank you, I salute you.


PS thank you so, so, so, so much to those beautiful beer brewers too, you people are the bomb....HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!