COOLA Suncare is making waves in the beauty industry after landing on the shelves of several retail giants, such as Target, ULTA and Sephora, and earning organic, word-of-mouth enthusiasm from its loyal customer base, including mega-celebrity Kourtney Kardashian.
Eric Gangnath, COOLA’s Creative Director, has built the creative department from the ground up. As the brand transforms from a small startup to a quickly expanding company, Eric is taking a proactive approach to digital asset management.
Goal: Eliminating bottlenecks to scale creative team flow
COOLA Suncare owns two brands: COOLA, which is the company’s high-end, luxury line made with premium organic ingredients, and Bare Republic, which focuses on eco-friendly mineral formulations. The creative team frequently works with freelance photographers and influencers to produce beautiful product and lifestyle imagery to use on the website, in campaigns and for retailers.
As a small team, COOLA initially used a couple of different file management systems, primarily accessed by outside sales, and Google Drive for collecting photos and videos from their photographers. When the company expanded, Eric became the bottleneck for the organization’s growing digital asset needs.
“As we grew, we added more team members and it got to the point where I was spending at least two to three hours per day locating files for the internal team, outside sales and vendors. Our previous system was not very visual and hard to navigate, and the search wasn’t great,” says Eric.
The breaking point came when COOLA had a big retail push and began working with multiple large-scale vendors simultaneously.
“Right when we branched out to big vendors, Target, ULTA, and Sephora took us in all at once – so for about two months I was working four to five 18-hour days where I had to stay the night just to get work done,” says Eric.
“If we had organized our digital assets better so I could have gone to one area to pull out everything I needed or delegated, those would’ve been normal days. I would have been able to go home.”
Taking this learning moment in stride, Eric took the initiative to invest in a DAM solution that would help the creative and marketing teams keep up with the company’s future growth. He chose Canto for its user-friendly interface, search functionality and price point.
“We liked how you can see everything you’re looking for in Canto. The functionality is intuitive and the search is great; even now I’m noticing it’s more in-depth than I originally thought. I also liked how you don’t have to rely on this super deep, traditional folder structure and the organization can be more top-level because you have the ability to search,” says Eric.
Enter Canto: From reactive to proactive digital asset management
Eric chose Canto not only to solve a current problem, but to also help the team scale their workflows to prepare for the future issues that might come with COOLA’s rapid growth.
“With that huge brand expansion to big vendors, everything we did was reactive. Canto is our step towards a more proactive approach and it’s working really well,” says Eric.
The creative and marketing teams use Canto to centralize their product imagery, packaging designs and influencer lifestyle content. Canto has streamlined how stakeholders access imagery to use, whether it’s sales, internal teams or retailers.
The creative team set up a top-level folder structure to organize product packaging files and lifestyle and marketing photography by brand. But rather than creating deep nested folders, the team focuses on tagging all assets so everything is easily findable via search.
End users can get what they need without going through the creative team, saving them time. “Everyone knows to check Canto first for assets now,” says Eric.
Strengthening retail relationships
Canto helps COOLA form strong relationships with their retail partners by providing a smooth experience for exchanging assets.
“As we get bigger and take on vendors that expect a professional, polished look, Canto portals have become really helpful,” says Eric.
Before Canto, Eric would get an email from a broker or retailer asking for a file, which he would have to find and send via email attachment. With Canto portals, COOLA’s retail partners can self-serve and grab assets that fit their specs on demand.
“Canto has been a huge help in having exact repositories for different vendors. All of these vendors have their own specs for assets and we can make Canto portals that are tailored to specific vendors,” says Eric.
This takes a lot off Eric’s plate while making it super easy for retailers to work with COOLA, which reflects well on the brand at a critical stage in its growth.
With that huge brand expansion to big vendors, everything we did was reactive. Canto is our step towards a more proactive approach and it’s working really well.
Eric Gangnath – Creative Director
Results: Smooth scaling as the brand grows
The COOLA team has worked incredibly hard to generate traction in a competitive market. As their efforts pay off, Canto gives the marketing and creative teams an edge in supporting COOLA’s rapid expansion.
“COOLA’s growth is an organic thing that we’re really proud of. It shows that the entire brand is coming across well – the product, packaging, experience – and people are gravitating towards that on their own,” says Eric.
For Eric, that means he gets those two to three hours he used to spend fulfilling asset requests back in his workday to devote towards creating beautiful experiences for COOLA’s existing and potential customers. And when it comes to the brand’s all-important relationships with retailers, Canto provides a seamless, easy way to share assets.
“When it comes to working with vendors, there’s a lot less friction in terms of expectations for turnaround times. The process is a lot more streamlined now,” says Eric.
Canto helps free up time for the creative and marketing teams to focus on meaningful work and collaboration, not digital asset management, which is especially critical as COOLA will need all hands on deck at this exciting time.
“Canto has worked really well to get a lot of our smaller tasks off our plates. It’s cut down a lot on repetitive tasks, because people now know they can go to Canto for assets. It’s a huge timesaver.”