Hair and skincare specialist DS Laboratories has seen its sales in China soar over the last two years after partnering with Alibaba Group, according to brand executives.
The Miami-based dermatological brand teamed up with Alibaba’s cross-border B2C marketplace Tmall Global in 2021 to reach Chinese consumers.
By 2025, China’s haircare sector will be worth over $8.6 billion, according to market research firm Mintel. This presents a massive opportunity for foreign brands – if they can navigate its complexities.
“We tried entering the Chinese market without any success until we met Alibaba,” said DS Laboratories CEO Fernando Tamez.
Tmall Global guided DS Laboratories through every step of the process as they prepared to launch in China. Now, the country is on track to become the brand’s second-largest market after the U.S..
Alizila spoke with Tamez and Pablo Palatnik, Vice President of E-commerce and Digital Strategy at DS Laboratories, to learn more about the brand’s growth.
Below is a transcript of this video, edited for clarity and brevity
Fernando Tamez: The mission of DS Labs is to offer cutting-edge technology products. We work like a pharmaceutical company. All our equipment is pharmaceutical grade. All of our facilities are state-of-the-art automatized. We do clinical trials on every single active ingredient that we have in our formulas.
My dad was bald when he was 30, and every single cousin and uncle I had was bald. So I was going to do everything to not be bald and not lose my hair. I think it feels great to help other people with the same problems that I had and offer them real results and products that actually deliver the results.
Pablo Palatnik: The success of our products anywhere in the world comes from our uniqueness. They really are, bar none, the best quality products in the marketplace. As a global company, China was extremely important to break into for us. It’s the second biggest economy in the world.
Fernando Tamez: We’ve tried entering the Chinese market without any success until we met Alibaba. When they launched our flagship store on Tmall Global, we were very surprised with the quality, marketing materials, images, and pictures. They were able to communicate all our values, and that’s why we had explosive growth.
Pablo Palatnik: Since we launched on Tmall Global, we’ve had [sales growth] 50% over expectations.
Fernando Tamez: We went from not selling a single unit in China to being recognized by Vogue Business as one of the top ten companies to watch.
Pablo Palatnik: Tmall Global and China exposure gives the brand more credibility as a global brand, which is our vision for the future, being a true global leader in the hair loss and thinning hair space.
Fernando Tamez: We’re expanding our facilities by 30%. We had to buy other filling tanks and stations. We’re going to launch several other products, and we’re going to solidify our position as one of the market leaders. We’re very happy and very thankful for Alibaba.
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Additional reporting by Yashan Zhao