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Cover Story: Innovation Through Collaboration

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: May 1, 2008, from the May 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Thus, BORBA, the nutraceutical giant who introduced the world to drinkable skin care, befriended Kelly and proved that CEOs of two companies putting their heads together can be more powerful than one. “The challenge was to synergize the distribution between the two companies,” Borba says, comparing his business perspectives to that of executives at Procter & Gamble. But distribution wasn’t as much of a challenge for an earlier innovation by BORBA. In the case of the company’s agreement with Anheuser-Busch, the American beer brewer’s wholesalers began distributing and marketing BORBA Skin Balance Water to retailers in the U.S. and abroad, as well as its Aqua-Less Crystallines, to domestic retailers. Meanwhile, BORBA retained the right to sell its beverages and crystallines online and through select accounts.

In addition to its topical, cosmeceutical facial and body care lines, BORBA became a leader in the nutricosmetics industry by revolutionizing ingestible alternatives to skin care. Skin Balance Water and Crystallines complement another ingestible product, Skin Balance Confections’ Gummy Bear Boosters—nutrient-rich candies that double as dietary supplements. In addition, BORBA’s Skin Care Boosters include lip balm, lip tints, reviving mist and more—even travel versions of some products, and each product is formulated for specific skin benefits ranging from lines that clarify skin, firm skin, defy aging, and replenish nutrients and moisture.
In its alliance with Tarte, BORBA contributed to innovation in another beauty realm—that of color cosmetics. By formulating a blend of vitamins, borrowed from its skin care lines, for three Inside Out Lipstick cores and six Inside Out Lipgloss blends, BORBA ensured the end-products would perform well and provide skin care benefits. The companies combined technologies on both lip treatments—that of BORBA’s inner core, a nutraceutical cocktail of skin care properties enhanced by antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals, and Tarte’s Skinvigorating ingredients, inside an outer gel-like pigment. Borba says the products underwent rigorous quality testing of their combined technologies. “With a co-brand, if it’s not perfect, it harms both companies extensively. Therefore, the vigor of the efficacy is that much more,” he says.

A Smile like a Handshake
But Tarte’s partnership with BORBA is not the only example of co-branding from the cosmetics brand. Recently, Tarte teamed up with BriteSmile to launch a dual-sided lip gloss and teeth-whitener. Enbrightenmint, a vitamin-infused lip gloss in two shades (glittery pink and red), featuring blue undertones to complement the effects of the whitening gel, is being released in May 2008 and will be distributed online, in department stores and in BriteSmile’s spas.

“It came about on our end,” says Mezzina DiResta. “We had a great formula for a gloss that made teeth look whiter, and we were toying with the idea of pairing it with a teeth-whitener. We could have gone to the labs and researched our own teeth-whitening product, but in addition to the time constraints that research would pose, we also believed there were companies like BriteSmile who were already doing teeth-whitening so well. It just made sense to partner with a brand that already had expertise in that field.”

“After the partnership with BORBA, Tarte was looking for collaboration for 2008,” says Denise Parpard Harrison, vice president of marketing, BriteSmile. “Maureen Kelly is a big fan of our To Go pen, and she’s had her teeth whitened at BriteSmile spas. It was a natural fit.”