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Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Allen Sleiman, Fountain Cosmetics

Allen Sleiman, Fountain Cosmetics

1. Tell us about your business and how you have leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?

Fountain Cosmetics is an Australian-owned company that uses the most advanced scientific solutions to make innovative anti-ageing skincare and cosmetics. Everything is formulated and manufactured in our facilities located in Frenchs Forest, Sydney. All our products are unique — you will not find anything like them.

ACBC has been central to our success in China. The networking events let us collaborate with people who share the same visions and values. One thing I learnt from an ACBC event was the concept of guanxi — building networks of mutually beneficial relationships. It is a much more in-depth sort of business relationship than in Australia. It is all about building trust and community, which is what Fountain Cosmetics is all about. At the end of the day, Fountain has excellent products, but more than anything, we are a Cause: we strive to enhance the well-being of our customers and to help grow the businesses of our distributors.

2. What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

There’s no such thing as a typical day for me! Fountain’s constant innovation means that things move quickly, and it is exciting to wake up and know that I will be doing something entirely different from the day before. Fountain Cosmetics is currently working on launching two new lines in JUNE: probiotic skincare and organic skincare.

The probiotic range is formulated to boost your skin’s protection and functionality. Our organic skincare range is for those with sensitive skin who are looking for gentle ingredients that deliver the same great results that we are known for.

Our distributors in China are very excited to release these products to the public soon.

3. What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

  1. Consider cultural differences: There are the distinct differences with Western culture and Chinese culture, like the lunar calendar. However, there’s, even more, to consider: the differences between cultures within China. People talk about ‘the Chinese market’, but there’s no single Chinese market. You have to be flexible and innovative and understand how your company fits into each market.
  2. Respect the Chinese view of the world: Chinese culture values the collective so much, which is something I admire. It is something that Western business can learn from. Companies looking to expand into China have to understand that value is defined differently. That is why Fountain Cosmetics focuses on providing value in as many ways as possible.
  3. Listen to your customers: Fountain Cosmetics’ most popular products in Australia are not always the most popular in China. I keep up to date on China-Australia markets and regularly consult with our partners and distributors in China to stay relevant to the consumer.
  4. Build partnerships: Entering China is all or nothing. Either you do it, or you don’t. I travel to China often, but I never get everything done on business trips alone. (Perhaps I should move to China to get it all done!) You need a good team based in China to help you deal with logistical hurdles and make connections.
  5. Build trust: You need an excellent product to sell, but you also need to prove that you are going to help them and their business. Building trust and relationships between Chinese companies can take time. Let your partners know you have long-term goals in mind and find out how you can help them. Fountain Cosmetics’ partners know that we are not here to take from them — we are here to provide value to them, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?

Fountain Cosmetics participate in trade shows and conventions in China, to show our products to potential distributors and build relationships with other businesses.

Building relationships in China are all about being at the right place and the right time. Our partners in China are currently working on establishing an even more extensive social media presence for Fountain.

Fountain Cosmetics in Australia currently operates on a social media model. Our customers are invited to become part of Fountain Cosmetics by sharing products for discount codes. We want to make sure that people who love Fountain Cosmetics are rewarded in every way.

5. You have been very successful to date, but there has no doubt been challenges — what’s been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?

The rules and regulations are very different in China compared to Australia. Procedures take time and resources, and it took us some time to find distributors. At first, it felt like we were just sitting in China, losing money! My tip is, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are government and non-government organisations that have the experience and resources to help you understand breaking into China. The China-Australia Chambers of Commerce

(AustCham) In China has many industry events. And of course, ACBC in Australia.

6. What’s your motto/mantra?

Everyone who touches Fountain, will benefit. I live by it. Every customer, employee or partner will gain something from working with a fountain.