Halal is the new clean: Luxury halal Swiss brand targets clean beauty market in South East Asia
Co-founded by Paulina Kostrzycka in February 2020, NUME-Lab offers skin care products ranging from cleanser, face cream, night serum and eye serum.
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Asia, Kostrzycka explained that the brand rode on the skinimalism trend:
“We started almost four years ago, together with my partner, because there was purely a need for clean and simplified skin care. Skin care can get very complicated, especially the ones coming from South Korea where you have so many layers. We see a lot of people who prefer to have simplified, multifunctional products, so we have decided to start with the basic routine.
“My partner and I have been living in Switzerland for some years. Once you try to Swiss cosmetics, it’s very hard to go back. Therefore, it was very natural for us to find the lab here in Switzerland and we were very lucky to find one with one of the best biotechnologists.”
Halal goes hand-in-hand with clean
The brand prides itself for obtaining its halal certifications from Switzerland. “Some [halal] certification is made on the final products, but the certification here it's around the ingredients itself,” Kostrzycka said.
A minimum 90% of the natural ingredients in NUME-Lab’s products are based on definitions of 16128 ISO standard. NUME-Lab uses allatoin, aloe vera, betaine, elastin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, snail mucin extract, vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin e and white truffle in its products.
The brand pursued halal certification as it was a recognised standard for a clean product: “The halal factor, for us, was something we wanted to have as we wanted clean ingredients in our product. A clean product doesn’t really have a standard and the halal factor is a standard and a certification.
“On the other hand, we also saw a potential for halal markets... In the Middle East and South East Asia, people would really care about the halal factor and a good product,” Kostrzyka explained.
Kostrzycka added that the Swiss halal certification was in some way harmonised and recognised by the local entities. However, the brand is anticipating changes in halal labelling for cosmetic products in Indonesia from 2026 onwards.
South East Asia venture
Due to the pandemic lockdown in Switzerland, NUME-Lab diverted from its initial plan of expanding in Europe first.
“By the time we launch the new lab in 2020, it was full pandemic. We wanted to expand in Europe first then go to South East Asia. Thanks to the pandemic, we did the opposite and started in South East Asia while everything was closed here [in Switzerland]. After the pandemic, we did expand here in Europe in the UK, France, and Poland," said Kostrzyka.
NUME-Lab is the sole distributor for its offline touchpoints in the European markets, namely Switzerland, France, United Kingdom (UK), and Italy. They are primarily sold at pharmacies and Sephora in the UK.
For its other markets which include Kuwait, Dubai, and Indonesia, it relies on local distributors. In Dubai, it sells at a department store; while for Kuwait and Indonesia, it sells primarily online.
“For South East Asia during the pandemic, it was much easier to have someone in the place as it was not possible to travel and there were heavy restrictions everywhere. On the other hand, we believe that we have to act locally as local distributors know better how to approach the market and the local needs.
“While we have a global brand and we keep to global guidelines, we let our distributors act locally and freely. This is the same for Lebanon and Dubai. While in Europe, we are doing by ourselves because the culture is quite similar,” Kostrzyka added.
China was initially a key export target, but the plan was scrapped due to the stringent lockdown restrictions. It is now setting up operations in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong via local distributorships.
While NUME-Lab holds grand export ambitions in the region, Kostrzycka said that there are no plans to move or expand its production outside Switzerland to keep quality control in check.