Marion Vigot, founder of Ma Belle Box – the first beauty subscription box in Việt Nam, aspires to revolutionise how Vietnamese women explore the world of beauty. The 25-year-old from Nice, France, embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure in HCM City only a year ago and found her niche in the market. Marion speaks with Thu Huong Lê about her concept and passion for beauty.
Inner Sanctum: Why did you decide to live in this country and which aspects of Vietnamese culture do you find most fascinating?
I first came to Việt Nam to challenge myself. I had never been to Asia before and had no ideas about how life would be here, from both personal and professional perspectives. When I first arrived here, I was shocked to see that there was wifi everywhere. People were driving motorbikes like crazy. There were noises all around. Everything was going super fast. This first impression really put me out of my comfort zone, and at the same time, was very exciting for the upcoming months that I was going to spend here.
Inner Sanctum: What opportunities do you think Việt Nam offers women entrepreneurs?
It’s more and more common for women nowadays to start their own projects, which is very inspiring and motivating for me. I think in Việt Nam, there are generally more opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Firstly, money-wise, it is much more affordable to start a business here. Secondly, there are so many opportunities and things to do in Việt Nam because there are many unfilled needs in the market.
For women, I feel that the entrepreneurial journey is also much more accessible here. For example, I would not have launched my startup in France because there’s already a wide selection of monthly beauty box subscriptions to choose from, such as Birchbox or My Little Box. French women were already very familiar with the concept. However, it is totally new here in Việt Nam, which creates a lot of challenges for me.
I had the passion and motivation to do it here because I saw the huge gap between Europe and Việt Nam in the beauty industry. Vietnamese consumers strongly desire customised and authentic beauty products, and I was confident that launching this service of a beauty box subscription could help fill this gap.
Inner Sanctum: Ma Belle Box is the first beauty box concept in Việt Nam. Where did you get the inspiration for Ma Belle Box?
Ma Belle Box allows women to discover new beauty brands and products from official beauty brands in Việt Nam. Every two months, we deliver a surprise and customised selection of beauty products to our customers, according to their beauty profiles, so they can test and try products before deciding to purchase the full size. It works like a magazine subscription, but with beauty products instead.
I have always been a huge fan of this concept back in Europe, from a consumer side and a marketer side. Oftentimes, Vietnamese women ask their friends abroad to bring back beauty products to ensure that these products are authentic. There is also a big problem with shops here that sell unofficial or unregulated beauty products. Therefore, we work with official beauty brands only and educate consumers about the risk of buying non-registered and potentially unsafe beauty products in Việt Nam.
So Ma Belle Box comes before the purchasing step. By launching the first beauty box in Viet Nam, I also really want to pass on this French touch, this elegance and finesse that France embodies so well.
Inner Sanctum: What are the challenges for a beauty startup such as yours?
One of our biggest challenges is to educate women about this concept, as it is still very new on the market. Most consumers have never seen it before, so it is extremely interesting to understand their trends and habits and adapt our communication strategies. Here, it’s a concept that was virtually unknown in Viet Nam. Only a few bloggers and brands know the words “beauty box”.
I guess all startups face the same challenges when launching an innovative solution, product or service in an emerging market. However, that’s what makes emerging markets such as Việt Nam exciting.
You have to be different, adaptive and have the ability to think outside the box.
Inner Sanctum: Each Ma Belle Box includes messages that are related to health issues for women. How do you go about framing these messages?
We want women to feel more confident from the inside out, more knowledgeable about beauty and to take more time for themselves. In our latest edition, the Pink Beauty Box, we partnered with the Breast Cancer Network Association in Việt Nam to help them raise awareness about breast cancer prevention. Our mission is also to support meaningful causes, as we want to help women in ways that go beyond beauty. — VNS