The California-based makeup brand Too Faced, which is owned by Estée Lauder, recently announced that its flagship store on the Chinese e-commerce platform Tmall will cease operations in August 2022.
After completely clearing out their store, the Estée Lauder subsidiary announced that membership services and rewards programs will continue until July 27 at midnight, but that all benefits services will be suspended thereafter. In the meantime, customers can still purchase Too Faced products from the Australian beauty collection store brand Mecca, which also has a store on Tmall.
According to customer service personnel, the closure is being carried out for channel adjustment purposes only. However, judging from Too Faced’s lower-than-expected financial report for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2022, overall performance for the makeup brand has been lacklustre.
Like many brands, Too Faced also dealt financial blows from the pandemic which both weighed on consumer traffic as well as exacerbated supply chain constraints. In times of lockdown, consumers rarely stepped outside their houses, and if they did, they would opt to don a mask in lieu of makeup, thus reducing overall demand. As a consequence, cosmetic brands of all kinds witnessed a decline in sales, and Too Faced was no exception.
Too Faced first entered the Chinese market with the opening of its flagship store on Tmall in July 2020. In August, they invited actress Song Zu’er to be the spokesperson for Asia and included her in a promotional video. However, faced with fierce competition from domestic brands in the makeup market, both action and response fell short of expectation. In fact, Too Faced’s following count on Xiaohongshu still sits at 31,000 followers – a meagre figure when compared to the competition.
Despite such setbacks, Estée Lauder remains confident in its continued business ventures in China. During an earnings call in May, CEO Fabrizio Freda mentioned plans to open their own R&D centre in Shanghai to stimulate innovation and increase the company’s ability to serve Chinese consumers in a locally relevant way.
At the moment, it is still unclear whether or not Estée Lauder will withdraw Too Faced from the Chinese market. However, all things considered, Estée Lauder continues to hold strong convictions about China’s beauty market despite growing concerns.