This is the result of 6 months of effort, condensed into a 5 min pitch!

I have been in a magical relationship for the past 6 months. A few days ago, it all ended. What relationship, you might ask? It is my relationship with a competition known as “L’Oreal Brandstorm 2017″.

Since January, my team and I competed in this product design competition where we pitched a packaging solution that compresses the entire men’s grooming regime into a wallet.

This competition was special to me in 2 ways. First, I joined this competition together with my sister. Second, this was a cosmetic-themed competition. I have never thought of ever having the chance to experience being in the cosmetic industry. Together with my sister’s friend (Chernis), we went to tackle the cosmetic world.

L’Oreal Brandstorm became a part of my identity:
It was a 6-month long competition. From the very start, our team believed that we will definitely be making it to the international finals.

Gradually, I found myself emotionally invested. Our idea was our baby and we were so eager to show it to the world.

For a guy that used to use hand soap to wash my face, I grew to learn so much about the cosmetic industry. The good, the bad, the glamorous and the ugly. I worked arduously with my team through many weekends and long nights and we even went to L’Oreal Singapore so many times that they gave us an access pass. It came to a point that whenever I wasn’t free, my friends would guess L’Oreal Brandstorm as the first reason. This competition became a part of my life during these 6 months.

Alas, it came to an euphoric end a few days ago when my team lifted the CSR trophy on the international stage in Palais de Tokyo, Paris. It was more than anything – an affirmation of our effort and confirmation of our idea. But to me, it was also the end of a beautiful chapter of my life.

How often would one get to compete on an international arena with their very own sister?

This is our team proudly displaying our Singapore flag as we win the global CSR award.

I came into the cosmetic and beauty industry purely for this competition and I never meant to stay longer than the duration of the competition. Like Alice in wonderland or Harry Potter, it felt like I entered into a whole new world. Made friends I would otherwise never meet. Now that it is over, I feel sad that I have to leave as I grew to appreciate and even love this strange new world that was introduced to me just 6 months ago. It really feels like the end of a relationship.

My team with the “Brands” team from Singapore! Became instant friends from the airport!

Beauty and technology could actually be a couple:
Getting through to the international finals, our team was privileged to be able to visit L’Oreal Paris Headquarters. There, we sat through a day of workshops with topics ranging from “How to make the perfect pitch” to “Marketing in the Digital age”.

There was a trend consistent amongst the workshop and in fact, the whole competition made me really excited from the view point of an engineering student. There had never been a better time as an engineering student to look into the field of cosmetics.

L’Oreal is the largest beauty company in the world and at every workshop I attended, they would either be talking about their newest data-driven marketing campaign or their artificial intelligent makeup visualisation software. L’Oreal, and I, daresay the whole cosmetic industry is big in investing into technology. These industrial giants are either building or buying their own technology expertise. Here are three products that L’Oreal and their subsidiary companies are working on:

– La Roche Posay UV patch
– Lancôme foundation shade matcher
– Make-up genius

As I write about the end of this 6 months long relationship with L’Oreal Brandstorm, perhaps not all hope is lost. There is indeed an opportunity for a techie like me to stay a techie and also work on projects that would keep me linked to this industry I have grown to understand and love. Maybe this is not the end of the relationship afterall.

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