Cosmetics Design spoke to the co-founder Juan Perez, who set up the business with his wife, Ere, who is the creative director for the business, to find out more about the rise of this independently owned business and how it is spread beyond Australia and into Latin America.
The company was established as a tiny business with little to no money, and 15 years later now has a major international presence. In this questions and answer-style interview we find out more about the evolution of the business and why the owners decided to take it to the Latin American market.
How and when did you start the business?
Our brand was born in 2004. Like most family businesses it started humbly from the sunroom of our apartment in Tamarama, Sydney.
Ere had always been passionate about natural healing practices and wellbeing. She inherited that from her grandparents on both sides of her family. After her arrival to Australia she wanted to create natural formulas for healing and health balance. It was a difficult task with little to no budget at all. She decided to start from a simple product that everyone could use, a black mascara which was the one product she couldn’t live without! We launched our mascara at a time when the concept of green cosmetics was very under developed. The product was considered natural but it contained ingredients such as mineral oil and parabens. Here is where the challenge started.
What is the philosophy behind your business?
Since the beginning of our business we have always had an emphasis on developing products that contain a great percentage of natural ingredients while making sure that each formula performs well and is a reasonable price for the consumer. Throughout the years our philosophy has evolved to incorporate our current brand values which include accreditations like cruelty free, carbon neutral, and other actions that focus on sustainability and fair trade.
Why is the Latin American market so important to you?
Latin America is where our roots are. Both Ere and I were born and raised in Mexico so this gives us a good knowledge about our people and their needs. Our headquarters are located in Monterrey, Mexico and network distribution all over the country.
What is your approach to both the packaging and formulation of your products?
When developing any new products, we always have in mind a clean and conscious living. When possible, we endeavor to source packaging materials that contain recycled materials; that can be either reused or recycled and we try to minimize our carbon footprint. For formulation we have a strict list of undesired ingredients that through the years has given a lot of headaches to our formulators.
What have been the main challenges in getting the business to where it is today?
In the past, the challenge was to be recognized, as green wasn’t a trend. We sold our products in health food stores next to granola bars and organic eggs! Marketing has been the key and we don’t believe there is a right or wrong way of doing business. We think brands should change and improve to suit their era, their times and the ever-changing consumer.
One of the main challenges we currently face is the rapid growth and the pressure to maintain our demand levels without compromising the quality of our products and service.
Another challenge that we have always had is the average time that we take to develop any new product. Contrary to the common perception that boutique brands can launch new products in a quicker time than main stream brands, we take months or even years of development and trials until we are fully satisfied with the whole concept of our products.
What are your ambitions for the future of the brand?
We want to focus on the improvement of our range and make it more suitable to the new markets where the brand is expanding. We want to continue being a responsible brand and will concentrate our efforts to improve our ability to source fair trade and sustainable ingredients and packaging. We want to be an example to the new generations on business and life philosophy.
If you would like to feature your Latin American cosmetics brand in the LATAM Beauty Brands Profile column, please do not hesitate to contact the Cosmetics Design team by clicking here.