Hair removal hopes: ‘There are smaller companies equally in the game’, says Sugar Coated co-founder

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sugar Coated has just signed a distribution agreement in South Africa and wants to expand into other global markets (Image: Aqua Natural)
Sugar Coated has just signed a distribution agreement in South Africa and wants to expand into other global markets (Image: Aqua Natural)

Related tags: Hair removal, UK beauty, Business, cruelty free, Naturals

British hair removal specialist Aqua Natural wants to build out its Sugar Coated brand, following a rebranding initiative last year, and says there’s plenty of space to do so in a growing category.

Aqua Natural’s rebranded sugar-based hair removal line Sugar Coated – previously called StripEase – features a range of six hair removal kits, including one for the face, legs and tattooed skin. Manufactured using sugar syrups, each variant featured a different essential oil, like lemongrass or lavender, and all were certified vegan and cruelty-free.

Currently stocked in a range of select stores across Europe, Aqua Natural’s sugar-based hair removal line was previously stocked in The Body Shop under its old brand for 18 years, before losing the contract in 2010 after the L’Oréal’s acquisition.

A ‘complete refresh and rebrand’

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Aqua Natural co-founder Rosie Khandwala said the last decade had been spent working hard on reinvigorating the business and global expansion plans.

“When we lost our Body Shop contract, we were in a bit of a dilemma on what to do,”​ Khandwala said.

With the loss of such an important retail contract, and declining sales elsewhere, she said the decision was made to invest in a total rebrand, eventually launched in July, last year. “We thought it needed a complete refresh and rebrand. It’s coming onto the market slowly now, and we’re looking potentially to other retailers in the health and wellness space to carry our product.”

Khandwala said Aqua Natural had just signed a distribution agreement in South Africa and was already stocked in Australia and in certain European markets but hoped to widen presence even further in the coming year.

“I think the potential is there with the product. We feel we can be equally as competitive as any other larger brand in the market. We want to get the brand known and get it on the shelf.

Beauty brand values, market experience and innovation

Sugar Coated has a range of six variants (Image: Aqua Natural)
Sugar Coated has a range of six variants (Image: Aqua Natural)

“…[Hair removal] is a growing market and I think there’s room for everyone to be there, ​she said. “I know there are big brands, but indie brands are coming in – people are trusting smaller companies. We have survived as a small company, doing this for the last 30 years, and for us the ambition now is to create a brand that stays true to the values we have.”

Aqua Natural, Khandwala said, would remain dedicated to its clean and ethical principles and continue to invest in sustainability programmes, like its current partnership with a UK beekeeper association to provide its apiaries sugar syrup in winter months.

And whilst market entry wasn’t easy for smaller, single product companies like Aqua Natural, Khandwala said experience in the category helped. “It’s going to be an interesting year for us. ​…Industry needs to know there are smaller companies equally in the game,”​ she said.

Aqua Natural also had some product innovation in the pipeline, to stretch its offering beyond hair removal into hair retardants and nourishing oils, though these products wouldn’t be ready just yet, she said.  “Last year, it was all about rebranding and repackaging; this year, it’s about concentrating on the market – there is great opportunity.”

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