Cosmetics Being True

Branding & Naming from Scratch for a Handmade Local Business

The Story

Adelina contacted me asking for a branding recommendation.

She was about to launch her product - or, rather said, her small collection of handmade cosmetics.

She was creating this creams for a while now. In the meantime, she also studied cosmetology - while having a day job as a medical resident.

She had tens of 1:1 collaborations with clients that wanted holistic care for their skin. These clients were mostly women. And they understood that applying a good cream is not the sole solution to having healthy skin.

Adelina was very clear with what she needed: a name, a logo, a slogan - to be applied, for starters, on product labels.

Sustainability is one key value she has mentioned. She knew it plays a key role in my work. So it was on me to come up with solutions to building a sustainable brand.

The Reason

Adelina’s reason as a business owner is to bring into the world custom care for people that understand that skin is just a mirror of selflove and real selfcare. This was reflected in the research we have done together.

Beyond that - Adelina is a young entrepreneur. So I had to fill both my specialist and my consultant shoes with all the know-how I had gathered - to be able to support her.

Me coming in at the beginning at her business had a key role in business decisions that go beyond branding or crafting a logo.

Applying circular economy principles in the business model was one of the first steps I had proposed Adelina - and it was not far from what she also wanted, as business principles.

Me entering a reuse-jars program, as a customer, is a trial of possible solutions to improve on the product life cycle.

Beyond that, mindfulness in production materials and customization processes are also closely considered.

The Process

We started with the brand sprint workshop.

And then continued with some more research. The competitor’s analysis was quite conclusive for the question: where is there a spot in the market where we naturally align with our mission, our audience and our archetype?

That sweet spot was not where expected - several competitors were expressing a similar USP - connecting science and nature.

So we needed to shift that, while keeping authenticity to the brand’s mission and its uniqueness. This is how we got to the concept of skin as a mirror of self love.

The SWOT analysis was also conclusive. Minimalism and sustainability demonstrated to be strong opportunities for where the business wants to stand, in the competitive landscape.

The Concept

We went further with what we gathered from the research tools. We identified the brand archetype - the Magician. We had an extensive customer avatar questionnaires - and eventually, mood-boarding and word-clouding.

After all of these, we needed to identify a strong concept that distills the unique selling proposition: skin is the mirror of self-love - into strong:
logo-symbol &
slogan - all intertwined.

We checked that the winner naming respects the SMILE principles. Some concepts broke at research phase. Others broke at the logo phase. And then, we eventually got a winner:

starts within.

Behind The Scenes

The iterative process of the concept was quite a ride. First, we eliminated whatever just seemed to be suited. Afterward, we got closer: the textual layer was clear. For the visual representation, we were not yet on the same page.

I was proposing a minimalist approach, with logotype only. Because it was, in and of itself, a symbol - due to the square brackets used. They acted as an orthographic metaphor for the importance of self-awareness in self-care.


The Scene Itself

The Next Steps

So what is next for this newly-born brand? Adelina is deciding on her best packaging method for the 3 cosmetics she is producing at the moment. The face cream is often times a custom recipe, part of a 1:1 consultancy with the customer. The body and deo creams are more with ready-made recipes.

All 3 products are produced in small batches. And she needs a packaging formula that looks and feels premium and is environmentally friendly - at the same time. This is quite a challenge. She found a unique biophotonic glass that preserves the essence of natural products - it is a very good option, fully reusable and recyclable.

She wants to test a fidelity program with customers that reuse the cosmetics jars - and so the life cycle of the product is sustainable.

She wants to personalize directly on-glass - and she’s testing the best printing methods for the small scale production she needs now. I am offering all my technical support for making the best call. This is just the beginning of skin starts within.

Case Study Summary

Client Location:
Business Type:
local, handmade
Collaboration Type:
in person & remote, freelancing (specialist, consultant)
Brand Values
• authenticity
• knowledge
• passion
women, 25+, understanding 
that there is more to skin care 
than skin products
What does the brand do?
phytocosmetics - starting with: body cream, face cream, deo cream

Services Provided
• the Brand Sprint Workshop
• research
• creative concept
• brand identity (rebranding)
• textual - naming & slogan
• visual - logo
• product branding (cosmetics)
• brand mini-styleguide
• brand implementation (packaging)
• production consultancy

All the visual assets presented in this case study are the intellectual property of
Skin Starts Within Ⓒ All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for allowing the use of the imagery to showcase my work.

Credits to mock-up creators and photographers for putting their work out there.
Many thanks - my portfolio looks pretty also because of you.

Thanks for reading - I hope it was relevant.

On the website you can discover a few more case studies.

I consider all the results of my work a co-creation alongside my clients.

The selection of studies is just a glimpse of what my creative process can be.

Stay imaginative and open.
We can go places together.