The peaceful hills surrounding Great Barrington seem far removed from the fast-paced global market for cosmetics.
But don’t let appearances fool you - Iredale Mineral Cosmetics and its 85 employees have transformed their home base in the southern Berkshires into a world center for mineral-based cosmetics designed to be healthy for human skin. Founded 17 years ago by former television and film producer Jane Iredale, the company generates 25 percent of its sales overseas.
Iredale’s exporting success has earned it one of three 2011 Global Trade Awards from the AIM International Business Council. The company will join fellow winners Rocheleau Tool & Die of Fitchburg and medical/consumer products leader Philips in accepting Global Trade Awards tomorrow at the AIM Annual Meeting.
“I feel really pleased that we seem to have been able to make a contribution to the economy in a way I never thought we would. International markets are getting an ever-growing attention across our company and this recognition serves to inspire us further,” Jane Iredale said.
Iredale Mineral Cosmetics designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a full range of mineral-based cosmetics under the brand name of jane iredale. The brand is available in 40 countries and has product descriptions translated into 12 languages. The company built and operates its own dedicated global e-commerce software and has increased its variety of make-up colors to accommodate skin palettes worldwide.
The company says it was the first to supply the aesthetics industry with a full-line of makeup based on minerals and to offer physicians a makeup that was good for the skin. Jane Iredale has worked with plastic surgeons and dermatologists in the development of her line and lectures all over the world on its benefits.
Iredale Mineral Cosmetics sells internationally through distributors, and looks for partners who already have a presence in the skin care market and place and emphasis on customer education.
“It really is a marriage,” Iredale told a conference recently.
“These are people who are going to be in your lives every day. You need to like them, and test their credibility and honesty.”
Iredale Mineral Cosmetics will accept the Diplomat’s Award from the AIM International Business Council.
Rocheleau Tool & Die of Fitchburg, with 33 employees, won AIM’s Ambassador’s Award. The company designs and manufactures blow molding machinery to produce plastic milk bottles, reservoirs for windshield wiper fluid, and other items for the consumer package goods, industrial and pharmaceutical industries. International trade accounts for nearly half of the company’s revenues.
A foreign-owned firm, Philips, won AIM’s Chairman’s Award. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips is an industry leader in healthcare, consumer products/services and lighting. With its global healthcare headquarters and its US headquarters for electronics located in Andover, and its US lighting headquarters in Burlington, the company has nearly 5000 employees in Massachusetts. Through its operations in more than 100 countries, the company is working to enhance healthcare in the developing world.
“What’s the lesson here? You don’t have to be a big company to succeed internationally. You don’t have to be a well-known company to have a global presence. Most companies that excel in international trade begin carefully, plan ahead, research their competition, know their markets, use local experts, and exercise patience,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
More than 60 companies have won an AIM Global Trade Award over the past 16 years. For a complete list of past winners, go to www.aimnet.org/international.