Creating an entrepreneurial partnership
A Boots case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Boots 5 Image 6Cosmetics is a huge and fast growing industry comprising fragrances, traditional cosmetics, beauty and skin-care preparations as well as many different hair care and toiletry products. These are sold in a variety of ways: through Boots department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies as well as other outlets and direct sales.

Brands play a key role within this industry. Through names, terms, signs or symbols, brands provide a product with an identity. Consequently, the product is perceived according to the various qualities, strengths, characteristics and attributes the brand represents. Though brands encourage loyalty and make repeat purchasing easy, educated and progressive consumers are increasingly seeking the latest innovations. Consumers enjoy a choice of brands; they appreciate unique features and typically buy three or more brands on a regular basis. Consequently, a critical task facing any organisation wishing to launch new products is how to position a new brand so that it occupies a distinctive and desirable place in the minds of customers.

This case study focuses upon the Ruby & Millie brand, hailed as Britain’s most exciting range of personality-driven make-up since the launch of Mary Quant 30 years ago. First launched in October 1997, the brand comes under the Boots The Chemists' beauty product portfolio. However, the unique positioning feature of this brand is the personal profile of the two gifted entrepreneurs, Ruby and Millie.

Boots 5 Diagram 1Product positioning emphasises the unique features of a brand. It is the place a brand occupies within a given market as perceived by a group of consumers that helps it in relation to its competitors. Therefore successful positioning of a product will help a brand to stand out in a clearly defined part of the marketplace.

Boots The Chemists is the UK’s leading retailer of health and beauty products. It employs over 58,000 people and has more than 1,400 stores ranging from small community pharmacies to city centre department stores. In the beauty market it is a leader in cosmetics including No7 the leading cosmetics brand in the UK, and 17, the leading teenage cosmetics brand. It is also the market leader for fragrances, skincare, dental, haircare and bath toiletries.

Born in Nigeria of Bangladeshi parents, Ruby Hammer came to live in Britain when she was 12. Ruby is an experienced make-up artist to supermodels including Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.  Millie Kendall has widespread experience of the beauty industry. She is a high-powered beauty publicist, who grew up in Beverly Hills, California, but is now based in London.

Boots | Creating an entrepreneurial partnership