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Ada Polla, the Swiss-born president and CEO of Alchimie Forever, a global cosmeceutical skin care brand, discusses with GCI magazine her family-run company, international business views and the antiaging skin care segment.
GCI: Created at Forever Laser Institut in Switzerland, how do Alchimie Forever’s antioxidant products fill a need in the cosmeceutical skin care industry?
Ada Polla: We are at the intersection of science and nature. All of our active ingredients are derived from plants, fruits and vegetables, but we are dermatologist-formulated—backed by clinical studies—and results-oriented. We offer the best of both worlds, including products consumers perceive as natural and safe, yet effective and antiaging.
GCI: How are you internationally savvy?
Ada Polla: French is my mother tongue, and I like to think I am fluent in English. I also speak (not fluently) German, Spanish and Italian. International customs have been interesting to learn about. For example, I have been travelling to China recently. There, politeness and appearance is taken to a new level. There, I learned to give and receive my business card with both hands.
GCI: How is the beauty industry different in Europe than in the U.S.?
Ada Polla: I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland but came to the U.S. to attend college (Harvard). The beauty industry is quite different here than in Europe. For example, Europeans are much more interested in skin care as a sensual product. They want to experience touch and smell. Many Americans prefer skin care to be in pumps, while I find the Swiss to prefer jars. Also, the European market is more interested in body care, while in the U.S., we sell much more of the face products. Finally, Europeans start thinking about beauty and skin care earlier and believe in prevention, whereas the American consumer is more focused on correction (immediate results).