Little Ondine – the start-up cosmetics brand that made it big in China

Challenge: After an initial successful launch, many copycats launched cheap products on EC forcing Little Ondine to reduce prices. The business dropped in the absence of tactical price promotions. Offline stores lost revenue and became unprofitable.

A montage of Little Ondines slew of low cost, high ROI engagements

The consumer profile on Tmall is students or girls from T2 cities who can’t afford regular visits to the nail salon. A fast-growing follower “Miss Candy” outperformed LO to become the leader in the water-based nail polish category.

Objective: Build perception of LO to new consumer groups and differentiate LO from the category. Optimize its core business in China.

Strategy and Key actions:

1. Re-define target consumers who value what LO offers and run a fully integrated marketing communication plan to connect and engage with them.

2. Build up brand architecture including new positioning, re-define USP and brand story.

3. New product portfolio and pricing strategy. Clearly define role of each product (volume driver, profit driver, induce trial, image driver). Eliminate non-strategic SKUs and launch new products.

4. Kept only 3 offline stores for image and brand experience

5. Manage brand assets incl. KOLs, visuals, WOM, SEO…etc. Launched brand new EC pages.

High ROI engagements: a series of planned brand collaboration to accelerate sampling and penetrate to the newly defined targets

Official sponsor of 2018 Shanghai Fashion Week – was successfully adopted by 2019 London Fashion Week for all the 60 models’ nail art in London Fashion Week (LFW) generating great free exposure on Instagram

In-depth collaboration with Pernod Ricard’s new brand “Little J” launch, truly integrated IMC plan, from the launch set (Little J wine+ Little Ondine nail polish) in and; all the offline product placement in art exhibitions, social contents on Wechat and others won Little Ondine over 9 million viewership among the right audience.

Brand collaboration with Flower Plus, the largest flower subscription in China (8 million weekly subscribers) delivered brand exposure 140 million times and 12,000 sets of flowers + nail polish were sold.

Little Ondine’s content talks about its viewpoints on fashion and color matching. Its wechat column “Ondine’ view on Fashion” (奥汀聊时尚) won delivered significant readership without media investment. Other brand co-op such as with Costa Coffee, Heytea and asics brought lifestyle talkability and turned Little Ondine a Fashion Lifestyle brand.


After launching the brand-new image and EC pages, the major revenue contributor Tmall shop’s basket size doubled and conversion rate improved to 7% (from 2.5%) within 3 months. LO’s Purchaser profile changed to sophisticated office white collars in T1 cities. They are mid-high spending power with better taste on brands and willing to spend for quality life (source: Tmall data bank and basket analysis, 2019).

In Apr. 2020, Little Ondine was acquired by “Perfect Diary”, the fastest growing local cosmetic brand (valued 4 Billion RMB by now) and both brands are in the top 20 most trendy cosmetic brands in China.

Leveraging Perfect Diary’s channels and product portfolio, Little Ondine launched its Liquid Lip products and is now perceived to be more trendy than most of International brands (per DataTouch®2020)

Our Managing Partner Jacquelyn Wu worked on the rebranding and marketing strategy refresh of Little Ondine in 2018, prior to their exit via acquisition by Perfect Diary.

Jacquelyn has over 20 years experience in branding and marketing, with specific expertise in the China e-commerce ecosystem for both multinational and startup brands. She has helped several brands navigate a change from B2B to B2C business models. Reach out to her for more information and insights on branding and commerce in China.

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