Beauty Products Entrepreneur Turns To ITC for Export Advice

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Sherry Brianza of Carlinville began creating a new line of multicultural beauty products just about the time the U.S. economy tanked, but that didn’t stop the determined entrepreneur from following through with her dream.

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The relationships we can facilitate through our service give our clients free access to foreign market experts, industry specialists and international trade offices.

Sherry Brianza of Carlinville began creating a new line of multicultural beauty products just about the time the U.S. economy tanked, but that didn’t stop the determined entrepreneur from following through with her dream.

She persisted and eventually negotiated a contract with Sears to carry her line of cosmetics for women of color—cleanser, toner, skin color correction, moisturizers and lotions. She’s now negotiating with other major outlets in the United States.

But, when she realized that her products could be useful to women overseas, Brianza turned to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Small Business Development Center-International Trade Center (SBDC-ITC) late last year for help in exporting Brianza Bella LLC beauty products to various countries. And, now, things are beginning to happen.

“Within a few months, Brianza Bella was introduced to several offices of the Illinois Trade Network abroad,” said Silvia Torres-Bowman, director of the SBDC-ITC at SIUE. “By spring of this year, Sherry received her first export interest from Mauritania, North Africa.” Brianza said that arrangement is currently pending and it looks promising.

Since then, Brianza also has explored trade with China, the Middle East and Brazil. “Sherry recently got back from a major cosmetics/skin care show in Sao Paulo, where she met with prospective distributors.” Torres-Bowman and her staff helped arrange for Brianza to attend the show, just one of the services offered by the SBDC-ITC.

“As part of the ITC’s International Consulting Project Series, participating clients receive at no cost a detailed international marketing plan for two countries that includes an analysis of the client's product potential, barriers and entry strategies for the target markets,” Torres-Bowman said. “The target markets are chosen through a combination of global market research and client input.

“The relationships we can facilitate through our service give our clients free access to foreign market experts, industry specialists and international trade offices,” Torres-Bowman said.

“One of our clients, Natural Enrichment Industries (NEI), was the 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Export Award in the category of New Exporter. NEI Vice President Bill Kuzma started working with us since the early days of NEI and has been able to participate in various trade missions to Europe, Latin America and Africa organized by the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment.”

A successful entrepreneur, Brianza has been in the cosmetics industry more than 20 years, with Montgomery Ward in Chicago and then on to Revlon, eventually starting her own cosmetics brokerage firm. That work allowed her to make connections and expand her business base throughout the country.

“A manufacturer I knew in California told me one day that I should start my own line,” she said. “I was inspired by the idea that there is a need in the marketplace for a treatment line that will appeal to all women of color.

The other inspiration in my life is the memory of my grandmother, a strong Italian immigrant who embraced life.” In fact, it was a decorative picture on the wall that hung in her grandmother’s home for many years that became the inspiration for the Brianza Bella logo, which depicts a woman in a flowing gown seated in front of a dresser and mirror, holding a cosmetics jar.

"Working with Silvia Torres and her staff has enabled my relatively new company to think globally not just domestically,” Brianza said. “It is so important in tough economic times to be able to find new revenue streams. We hope to be opening the Brazilian market within a year and that is something I would have never thought possible even six months ago.

“The SIUE center has helped me with determining which world markets show the best potential for my products, referred me to freight forwarders, attorneys to help us with trade agreements, financing and much more. The opportunity to export is not only good for my company but good for Illinois."

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a nationally recognized public university offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts. At SIUE we offer 44 baccalaureate degrees, 13 post-baccalaureate certificates, 47 master's degrees, 11 post-master's certificates, two first-professional degrees, and one post-first professional certificate. Known for an emphasis in health science education, SIUE offers a nursing school, pharmacy school and dental school. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are available through the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Business, and the School of Education.

SIUE offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the low tuition rates of a state university. SIUE emphasizes undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research to create
practical applications for student learning. Located in the second most populated area of the state, SIUE draws students from all 102 Illinois counties, 42 states and 50 nations.

One of 12 Illinois colleges and universities, SIUE is located on 2,600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in Edwardsville, just 25 miles from St. Louis, a major metropolitan area. Proximity to the St. Louis area enhances SIUE’s energy and vitality. The campus is easily accessed from several major interstates, while the city of Edwardsville offers ample opportunity for jobs, entertainment, shopping and fun.

Contact:
Greg Conroy
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
(618) 650-3607
(888) 328-5168, ext. 3607
gconroy(at)siue(dot)edu
http://www.siue.edu/marketingandcommunications

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