The brand Feel22 has created a leading name of its own, in the beauty and self-care community. The Lebanese e-commerce site, which was founded in 2016 by three Lebanese entrepreneurs, has managed to disrupt the beauty and cosmetics industry in a short time span.
Prior to the launch of Feel22, men and women typically shopped for their makeup, skincare products, perfume and hair care needs in neighborhood stores and pharmacies. However, the element of convenience and variety lacked in the process. Feel22 responded, and to date, over 30,000 clients have received their neatly packaged items, straight to their doorstep. Free deliveries, free returns and exceptional customer service, also means that many clients come back for more.
BDD’s team sat with the minds behind Feel22, to uncover how they got their first client, how they market their e-commerce site and their expansion plans.
BDD: How did the idea of Feel22 come about?
Feel22: Maurice Mattar, Co-Founder and CEO of Feel22, worked on the launch of Lazada, prior to returning to the Lebanon to work as L'Oreal Levant's Digital Manager. Lazada went on to become the biggest e-commerce marketplace in the Philippines, and is now part of Ali Baba Group.
In his role at L’Oreal Levant, some of his objectives included rapidly growing e-commerce adoption in the country, for L'Oreal brands. Unfortunately, there were no solid online players to do that. So, it became obvious that there is a huge market opportunity.
BDD: How did you bring on your first supplier, and 'acquire' your first client?
Feel22: Working in the industry really helped to bring on new suppliers, and eventually most brands were excited to try this new channel.
Of course, the first few customers were friends and family but we worked hard to optimize our search visibility and sprinkled in some advertising to test what works during our soft launch. A big part of the growing traction however was the word of mouth after positive experiences.
BDD: What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
Feel22: Nothing comes along easy in a startup especially as we are creating a new channel in unstable markets and with very little infrastructure to support our line of business.
We were the first to embark on this journey at such a scale and at present we are the biggest pure e-commerce player in Lebanon. We plan, test, learn and measure very fast and continue testing strategies until it works. For a lot of things we look at international best practices and then for others we have to find the "Lebanese" way.
BDD: What has been the most effective marketing tool, to drive sales?
Feel22: Both founders are digital marketers and we work to optimize conversions on an ongoing basis. However, from day one, we have an internal agreement that great customer experience should be our number one focus. Ultimately, this is what matters most to us, and through exceptional experience, we can drive future sales.
BDD: Has the current economic climate impacted Feel22?
Feel22: Undoubtedly all businesses are still figuring out how to deal with the ongoing crisis. As a startup we are used to working lean and adapting to the internal and external challenges very quickly. We are looking towards optimizing processes and working on regional expansion, to adapt. Most importantly we look at the data and act upon it every day, taking it one day at a time.
Feel22 has expanded into Iraq in 2019, with plans to expand further across the region very soon.