Digital entrepreneurship tools and support for women entrepreneurs

Case Study Latvia



Digital entrepreneurship tools and support for women entrepreneurs | Tools für digitales Unternehmertum und Unterstützung für Unternehmerinnen | Инструменти за цифрово предприемачество и подкрепа за жени предприемачи | Alati za digitalno poduzetništvo i podrška poduzetnicama | Ψηφιακά εργαλεία επιχειρηματικότητας και υποστήριξη για γυναίκες επιχειρηματίες | Strumenti di imprenditorialità digitale e sostegno alle donne imprenditrici | Digitālās uzņēmējdarbības rīki un atbalsts sievietēm uzņēmējām | Інструменти цифрового підприємництва та підтримка жінок-підприємців

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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union




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Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere

Madara Cosmetics Ltd. is an example of a business founded in a highly competitive eco-cosmetics market, but successfully establishing itself in this market niche by realizing that there is a high growth potential for eco products in the world market, played a significant role.

The owner and CEO of the Madara Cosmetics is a young woman – Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere, owner and CEO. She studied business management and Japanese, lived in Japan and worked for a company in Osaka dealing with logistics and manufacturing processes. After returning to Latvia, she knows how factories are working. She is also a vegetarian and a person who really cares about ecology and a healthy lifestyle. She has notices that the eye cream gives her skin the allergic reaction and discovered that cosmetics can contain many unhealthy ingredients and she couldn’t find eco cosmetics that should satisfy her.

She started making healthy cosmetics at home and met other women also looking for healthy cosmetics. Soon, they discovered that the global eco cosmetics market was growing by about 20% annually and was the fastest growing segment within the cosmetics market. That helped them to decide to initiate the business start-up in July 2006. Lotte together with her female friend and sister were the ones, who started the business. They all had management education and some previous work experience, except Lotte’s sister, who was 18 years old at that time.

They started making eco cosmetics for the Latvian marked, but also started building a brand aiming to become one of exclusive cosmetics brands in the world market. This ambition was behind hard work to achieve good quality and an attractive appearance of new products.

Altogether it took around 2 years to establish Madara Cosmetics. Lotte and her colleagues spent most of this time understanding that they could dare to establish a company. Only a half of a year was needed to introduce the first products into the market. As support for a new enterprise the Madara Cosmetics received 5,000 EUR as well as a network of advisors, who helped to develop the initial idea, from an EU social funds program supporting female entrepreneurship, as well as used their own savings, loans and moral support from parents and relatives. The owners also approached several banks in Latvia for a loan but were rejected in each case. Therefore, instead of planned 20 new products they could start with only 4 cosmetics, which also helped to reduce a risk that was big for a small company with little resources.

The external environment in Latvia had a positive impact on the further development of Madara Cosmetics, except a stereotype that women can be successful both in their professional career and have family and children. Several successful female entrepreneurs have demonstrated that they can easily combine both, thus putting many women under pressure, as in reality this is very difficult, if not impossible. The problem starts with expectations regarding what a woman still must do after she comes back home from work, and this can cause difficulties in her personal life.

In the beginning, the Madara Cosmetics was an entirely female-run business. Later on, however, men joined the team. Today, there are 6 owners – 4 women and 2 men.

In the beginning, they had problems making employees work professionally and quite a tough situation with suppliers and other cooperation partners, as they were constantly trying to negotiate the best terms to survive. In 2007 the Madara Cosmetics was already a success story in Latvia and to overcome financial problems they choose to involve a local investor – a family company with investment experience in a diverse range of businesses, against minority shares and this allowed them to grow further.

Starting from 2008 Madara Cosmetics already has 2.1 million EUR in turnover and was able to quickly move into the global arena, starting with England and Lithuania. Today they are working in some 30 markets, the top of them being Switzerland and Denmark. The focus of the company is Europe, but the company is also working in other markets such as Japan and Malaysia. One of the most important issues for a company successfully growing globally is distributors who take responsibility for the distribution of the Madara brand in a specific country or region.

One of success factors of the Madara Cosmetics was the focus on quality and orientation towards the global market from the very beginning. Another success factor was the human factor - professionalism of all involved people and cooperation partners, as well as the way they are managed. Other core values of Madara Cosmetics, clearly reflecting the lifestyle of the company founders, are naturalism and Latvian identity. All products are made in Latvia and come from one of the greenest environments with an ideal climate for growing vulnerary plants. By emphasizing the Latvian identity, Madara Cosmetics owners acknowledge their responsibility that they simply cannot offer a poor-quality product, as the reputation of the country could then suffer as well. In addition, the balance between creativity and rationalism is yet another factor contributing to the success of Madara Cosmetics as the product development process, packaging, design and creating a visual image are all very creative processes, adding value to the product.

In 2022, the Madara Cosmetics is still in the same market niche of a high-quality ecological skin care brand in a high-price segment, with very similar values, as in the beginning. In 95% of the cases, their products, including eco cosmetics for kids, their main target audience is women.

The aim of the Madara Cosmetics is to become one of the top 3 brands in Europe in 20 years in the field of eco cosmetics.

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Last change: 12/29/22.