Five Minutes With…Ryan Charton, Country Director, Union Swiss

Ryan Charton, the country director of Americas and Gulf region, talks about the region’s flourishing skincare industry and its potential.

What is your company focusing on this year?

We continue to focus on the global roll out of Bio-Oil. It is currently available in 86 countries around the world and we continue to grow that footprint. In addition to that, Union Swiss is has recently launched a range of oil based skincare products for everyday use called Lipidol.

Is the market for skincare industry in the UAE growing? How lucrative is it?

Our experience is that the industry is growing in the UAE, and certainly our results to date have been extremely positive. Compared to some of the other larger markets around the world, the UAE is a small one with only around eight million people. It does, however, punch above its weight in terms of global exposure and influence.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

The skincare and personal care industry differs around the world. To illustrate this example, one finds that skin whitening products are a large category in the East, while products with (self) tanning or bronzing properties are a large category in the likes of Europe and North America.

So growth tends to differ from market to market in this industry. Many people believe that growth comes from the innovation of new products. I believe differently, that growth in the personal care industry only comes from the economic upliftment of people, enabling them to purchase products to help them look and feel better about themselves.

What new products will your company launch this year?

Bio-Oil is a single product which comes in three sizes only. As such, there is no need, and we do not add different lines to the Bio-Oil brand. Bio-Oil aside – having gained many years of learnings, understanding of and experience in skincare oils, we have recently launched a new range of skincare oils for everyday use as mentioned earlier.

Will you be expanding into new territory?

Yes, in the region, we are currently launching Bio-Oil in Oman. We are also in the process of launching Bio-Oil in a number of different markets around the world such as Bangladesh, Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Ghana, Uganda, Estonia, and Latvia.

What are the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in your sector?

The greatest challenge for businesses in our industry is to produce the best possible product and get it to the end consumer at the best possible price. There are too many stepping stones between manufacturer and consumer, which adds to the cost of the product and in many cases deter from the consumer experience.

Will you be hiring this year?

No. We have built an extremely scalable business based on simplicity and efficient systems. The growth of our company does not require, and is not dependent on a greater employee headcount.

What’s your leadership style?

My role within the organisation does not require teams of people to run the day to day operations. Having said that, I am a big believer in finding the right role for the right person; the delegation of goals and the responsibility that goes with that.

What makes the perfect employee?

Someone who is passionate about what they are doing.

Define success in five words…

Finding your reason for being.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

Find your passion and follow it. Be honest with yourself and others because the clock is ticking.

When I’m not at work…

I like to get outdoors. Cape Town, my home, is full of things to do on the mountain, at the beaches and in the wilderness.