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Elif Cetin Durso: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”

The best advice is to set realistic goals. Be cautious about buying fast-beauty products just because they are hyped in the beauty community. On the other hand, I always believe beauty is being beautiful the way you are. That may sound generic but it isn’t. It’s important that women accept the way they look in […]

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The best advice is to set realistic goals. Be cautious about buying fast-beauty products just because they are hyped in the beauty community. On the other hand, I always believe beauty is being beautiful the way you are. That may sound generic but it isn’t. It’s important that women accept the way they look in a satisfied way rather than only seeing their physical shortcomings.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Elif Cetin Durso, a global brand marketing and PR professional with luxury beauty and cosmetic brand expertise. Elif’s expertise is derived from her more than 12 years of experience in marketing and PR. She began her career in the beauty industry in Istanbul. She held leadership positions for Burberry Beauty, Givenchy Beauty, FENDI Beauty, Karl Lagerfeld, Balmain, Mont Blanc, as well as mass market personal care brands Murad, John Frieda, Bliss, Burt’s Bees, Sally Hansen, and Arm&Hammer. Currently, she leads the marketing and sales deparments for Reluma Skincare.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Of course! I have always dreamt of a career in communication. I love building relationships between people and brands. It’s something that comes very naturally to me. After I got my bachelor and master degrees in communication, I got my first job at the distributor for Murad Skincare and I fell in love with it. I really felt the power of communication in the beauty industry, how a great color lipstick can change your mind-set and confidence. Growing up in a digital age and seeing the transformation of marketing has been incredibly fascinating to me. I knew this was something I wanted to be involved in and be on the edge of the new age of marketing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In early 2016, I was working as a pr manager and it was really exciting when after years of hard work and research, we launched the first niche fragrance boutique Home of Scents in Istanbul. I had an opportunity to meet world-famous noses.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

The major tipping point in my career was when I found a mentor who helped me accelerate my career and pushed me outside of my comfort zone to make bold decisions. It was empowering but scary. I took risks and got to work in different countries with different brands.

One of the most important lessons that I learned was to be quiet and listen. You have to absorb everything that is happening around you. You will realize that your knowledge needs to expand beyond your immediate area of expertise. Generally speaking when you are just starting out, try to take in as much as you can from the professionals. Be nice to everyone. Be kind and grateful. Consistency, a good ‘can-do’ attitude, and a healthy dose of warmth will take you far.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It’s hard to choose one particular person. There are a few people who always support me. I always feel so grateful that I got to work with great mentors who helped shape my career and showed me how to transform my mistakes into skills.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

I agree the industry is expanding at an unprecedented rate. It’s really motivating to see xxx growth of the industry. Reluma Skincare is a growing science and innovation focused company. Our products use growth factors and matrix proteins produced using Invitrx Therapeutics’s breakthrough Stem Cell Core Technology. As everyone knows our body’s ability to maintain and replace healthy cells declines over time, and noticeable aging is the result. Our main ingredient is called Polypeptide Enriched Media. Our scientific approach to skin care has earned Reluma a passionate and loyal customer base all around the world.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

Global cosmetic brands are turning their attention to virtual interaction with their customers. I strongly believe Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiences will be more popular after the pandemic. Consumers now spend more time interacting with brands online than in the physical retail world. That’s one of the factors driving beauty industry growth. Zion Market Research already suggests that the AR industry as a whole will be valued at 133 billion dollars by next year. This is very exciting.

Brands are exploring new concepts in the space between traditional boutiques and online commerce. This approach has already been proven in the Asian market. This technology allows consumers to “try” items without experiencing the pressure many feel they get from sales person.

The beauty industry is being driven by consumers. So brands continue to explode with more natural, vegan, and clean products. It’s good to see that now we understand that the skin and the mind are linked; there’s a connection between skin care and wellness. Today’s consumers are more conscious of ingredients. They want to know what they are putting on their bodies.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Exploring new beauty products and getting professional advice in a physical store is preferred by most beauty consumers. However during the pandemic beauty companies had some challenges. Today, they have to adapt digital media and PR to help build their brand without advertising. They have to invest aggressively in creating educational video, online technology and content. I think it will continue to be a challenge for the few years.

E-commerce creates a race to the bottom where price is the primary factor and as a result some retailers devalue the brands.

Just a couple of years ago, women of color were struggling to find makeup colors that matched their skin tone and complexion. Today, brands are expanding their make up shades and gender-neutral product lines. However not enough progress has been made.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

The best advice is to set realistic goals. Be cautious about buying fast-beauty products just because they are hyped in the beauty community. On the other hand, I always believe beauty is being beautiful the way you are. That may sound generic but it isn’t. It’s important that women accept the way they look in a satisfied way rather than only seeing their physical shortcomings.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

Frankly speaking, there is no single formula for succeeding in the beauty industry. Innovation is everything. Emerging beauty companies have always been interested in innovation. A lot of people still have old mindsets. Don’t stick with the classic way of thinking about cosmetic retail. Always try to be an original. Beware if you’re experiencing an emotion, most of your customers will be feeling the same way.

Customer relations need to reach to the next level. New generation brands such as Glossier have achieved a loyal dedication to its customers, their needs and wants. This is how consumers are inspired by beauty brands.

It’s always easy to forget that behind the glossy marketing campaigns there is a serious business. There is a new era emerging in which the intangibles of brand reputation are driving political, social and economical forces.

Modern beauty brands are more open and transparent. Drunk Elephant and Deciem are two of the best examples. And, above all these, a simple, personal, and connected experience is essential.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you for your kind words. People can be capricious, we adopt new causes in our lives as quickly as we drop them. In 2020, this cause could be “plastic pollution’’. I’m so happy that people are listening more, and questioning their purchases, so making changes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Martin Luther King, Jr., “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” I’m always seeking opportunities for growth and development.

How can our readers follow you online?

Facebook @ElifCetin

Linkedin @ElifBurcuCetin


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