The Moodie Davitt Report brings you the latest instalment in our popular series Ten Easy Pieces*, in which we get up close and personal with leading travel retail personalities via ten snapshot questions.

In this edition, we meet Brilliant Cosmetics Founder and Managing Director Mariette Scoop, whose innovative You Joue lip gloss is fast becoming a high-flyer in travel retail.

1. Where were you born and raised?

I was born in The Hague, Holland and my family moved to the Dutch Caribbean island Curaçao, my father’s birthplace, when I was six.

It was an almost ideal place to grow up. We (my brother, sister and I) ran around barefooted most of the time. Mum always had to check us when going with her to the supermarket as we would hide in the back of the car, trying to get away with not wearing shoes!

On the beach: One of Mariette’s favourite places as a child

It was warm all year-round so we went to the beach a lot and the island was very safe. It was small, and, with a population of approximately 150,000, I knew people everywhere I went. Its very diverse population of around 65 nationalities made us comfortable with many different cultural, racial and international habits and ways of life. I had friends of Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Jewish and Muslim origins; friends whose families came from Surinam, Portugal, Holland, the USA and many more countries.

We never considered the possibility that the rest of the world was not like that at all.

2. A passion for dancing and a gift for languages. What roles did they play in shaping your career?

I started dancing at the age of six and spent countless hours growing up in the dance studio and on stage. I especially loved being on stage where you could completely let yourself go; dance your heart out, give it your all without being able to see your audience. It was a liberating feeling that I loved.

I did classical ballet but modern dance classes, based on the Martha Graham technique, were definitely my favourite. I had a little bit of talent and was a hard worker, but conscious enough to know that I didn’t have the body to make it all the way to the top.

It was a passion but I was realistic enough to know that I couldn’t make a career out of it. However, it taught me much about discipline and hard work.

Besides from obviously speaking Dutch, in Curaçao I learned the local language (Papiamento), English and Spanish. I have learned a few more since then; French, Italian, a bit of Japanese and Chinese. I am lucky enough to have a knack for languages. More than once I was offered a job for no other reason than having a particular language under my belt!

“Dance your heart out: It’s a very liberating feeling”

3. Let’s look at your first taste of travel retail, with Benetton in 1994. Where were you based and what doors did that open? 

I was working for Benetton in Mexico in 1993, in charge of the commercial department for Southern Mexico, when I was asked to move to Hong Kong and start up and lead the new Travel Retail division. Actually it was mostly duty free at that time.

I had lived in Hong Kong for a year in 1990, working for Benetton and mostly taking care of the Hong Kong stores in terms of Visual Merchandising and Collection buying. When asked to move back, I couldn’t resist and in doing so, discovered the Travel Retail Republic!

Flashback to school days on Curaçao: Mariette is second row, third from the right

I enjoyed this role immensely until the end of 1997 when I had my first daughter (I met my husband Vincent in Hong Kong in 1996). I decided that living on a plane was no longer an option so I actually moved away from travel retail. Not for long though, it was in my blood. The contacts and the understanding of how the channel works led me back; firstly as a consultant in 2003 and later I joined Cellularline Italy to help establish its travel retail distribution.

4. You founded Brilliant Idea Cosmetics in 2013 to specialise in travel retail products designed for women on the go. What made you decide to go it alone? 

I decided to set up my own company as I found a product that potentially ticked most boxes of the requirements for a successful travel retail product: impulse buy, small, reasonably priced and high-end. So I created Brilliant Idea around a lip gloss, but not just any lip gloss.

I considered the product a perfect handbag item for women on the go. It’s an innovative, extremely useful but fun product: I called it You Joue, which literally means ‘you play’.

5. What distinguishes your product from other lipsticks and glosses and do you have any line extensions planned?

You Joue is a lipgloss with a LED light in the rod that lights up when you open it. Then, as you point it towards your lips to apply the gloss, it lights up your lips, allowing you, with the built-in mirror, to apply your gloss anywhere and at any time.

In order to make it even better-suited for travellers who often suffer from dry lips, we added Vitamin E, Aloe Vera and Rose Hip, all ingredients to promote the well-being and moisture of lips in a harsh and dry environment.

You Joue is small enough to fit easily on trolleys and is a great product for inflight. We’ve secured listings on over 20 airlines and I am very happy with that sector of the market. Sales with P&O Cruises are also going well.

Lighting up the lip gloss market

As far as line extensions are concerned, I am considering a number of possibilities but I have no exact date yet as to when I will bring them to market.

6. How important is networking in travel retail and what makes the channel ‘special’?

I think networking is important in any industry where trading is involved. And those in travel retail are very good at it but it’s not what makes this industry unique. What makes it stand out, in my opinion, is that it is a global industry with a relatively small number of people involved.

This is one of the reasons why, in this industry, many people become friends across different categories and meet regularly around the world. That’s besides the fact that most of its trade fairs and conferences are not exactly a punishment to attend!

All the organisers, be it TWFA, Trinity, MEADFA, just to name a few, are meticulous in their organisation. The venues are well chosen and beautiful; the speakers, entertainment and catering, are all of extremely high standard. It all translates into quite an amazing work environment and the reason, I believe, why so many people remain in this industry for as long as they can.

Japanese style: Mariette underlines the importance of networking

7. An inspirational figure in your career and/or travel retail?

I can’t say that I have one particular person in mind. I tend to find different people inspire me in different ways. You can learn and be inspired by almost anyone if you are willing to listen.

Having said that though, there are days when I find Richard Branson particularly inspiring because of his positive outlook so I follow him on Twitter for my daily dose of positivity. I find travel retail as a whole quite inspiring. It is an industry filled with hard-working, good people and many with an untiring involvement with charitable endeavours.

8. Your husband is Swiss, your elder daughter was born in Curaçao and your second daughter in Hong Kong. You’ve lived in 11 countries. Where do you consider home?

Home? For me it’s a feeling I have when landing in a particular place; that feeling of “I’m back. I’m home!” It comes with a certain familiarity, smells, sounds and tastes.

Actually I consider myself very lucky as I can say I have three homes: Bangkok, where I am living at the moment; Hong Kong where I lived for over ten years and return to every year, and of course, Curaçao!

“Home? For me it’s a feeling I have when landing in a particular place; that feeling of ‘I’m back. I’m home!’ It comes with a certain familiarity, smells, sounds and tastes.”

9. Tell us about your ‘Dream Box’: what does it contain? 

Ah, my Dream Box: As dreams go, they are slightly vague, but if they are ever fully formed, they could become bucket list material!

Colourful Curaçao: On the top of Mariette’s Dream Box

My Dream Box contains one very real thing: a small piece of ocean front land on Curaçao that Vincent and I purchased and we are not sure what we will do with it.

There are also loads of bits and pieces, and thoughts, centred on my life-long interest in holistic and alternative healing: from homeopathy, aromatherapy, flower remedies, naturopathy to yoga for its healing postures and mudras.

And something more concrete, and definitely on its way to my bucket list: trekking in Nepal.

Enjoying the Maui fresh air: “Walking relaxes me, helps me think”

10. How does Mariette Scoop relax?

Most mornings I go for a walk. At the moment in Bangkok my walking is mostly on the treadmill, but that relaxes me, helps me think, and gets me ready for my day. I actually like walking so much that two years ago I walked part of the Camino de Santiago with a few friends; but that’s another story.

Practicing yoga in my free time helps me relax and when on holiday, and I get a chance, I like to scuba dive and occasionally play golf. Not that I am any good at golf; my handicap just about allows me on to the course!

Away from work and travel retail: A family moment

I also love spending time with friends, and Vincent and I both love entertaining at home. When I was living in Spain a friend there taught me how to cook Thai and we had many Thai dinners. Now in Thailand, I am always finding myself cooking European – roast chicken, pastas or paella. It’s funny when you think of it!

*PREVIOUSLY FEATURED TEN EASY PIECES PERSONALITIES INCLUDE:

Meet Tito’s Handmade Vodka International Managing Director John McDonnell

Meet Travel Blue Executive Director Jonathan Smith

Meet Antony Kime, a travel retail flying Kiwi

Meet Essilor sunglasses specialist Francesco Leccisi 

Meet Blue Chip Group Vice President Flora Lee

Meet ‘Mr Braun’, the ever-effervescent Klaus Mellin

Meet Karelia Tobacco Company ‘voice’ Joanna Kamarinopoulos 

Meet Monzelez WTR marketing specialist Irina Tarabanko