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Second Nature

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: May 4, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Simply labeling a product as natural is not enough to make it stand out among the plethora of green beauty goods.
  • Don’t delve into the intricacies of the ingredient sourcing process—telling your product’s sustainability story in a unique and meaningful way is enough to grab a consumer’s attention.
  • If suppliers are providing ethically sourced ingredients, they want brands to know about it and are likely happy to provide you with information that can be conveyed to consumers.
  • When the relationship between brand and supplier is strong, the brand is proud to tout the source of its ingredients.

Now that green beauty has become the new norm, more and more beauty brands are achieving commercial success by tweaking, or even overhauling, their lines. They’re going beyond nature-inspired fragrances and recyclable packaging and using environmentally friendly, responsibly sourced ingredients that consumers have grown to demand. According to global market research firm Mintel, in 2010, 13% of new skin care, hair care and cosmetics made the paraben-free claim, a 5% increase from 2008—while nearly 9% of new products in those categories made the organic claim, which is twice as many as in 2007.

As a result, simply labeling a product as natural is not enough to make it stand out among the plethora of green beauty goods anymore. Savvy consumers know that a claim of “natural” holds very little water, and as green products flood the marketplace, they’re looking for explanations of how your products go above and beyond to deliver benefits without causing harm to the planet. Strong partnerships between brands and suppliers make this a natural process.

Simple and Straightforward

Don’t worry about delving into the intricacies of the sourcing process; rather, telling your product’s sustainability story in a unique and meaningful way is enough to grab a consumer’s attention. “Simplifying text and ‘stripping back’ to tell straightforward, direct stories of plant-based ingredients will be key, and manufacturers who treat consumers as educated shoppers instead of novices stand to benefit,” asserts Vivienne Rudd, senior beauty analyst at Mintel.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel—if your supplier is providing ethically sourced ingredients, they want you to know all about it and are likely happy to provide you with all the information about them in easy-to-understand terms that you can convey to end consumers as well.