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A Conversation: Aligning Brand Messages with Specialty Categories, Retail Needs

By: Elaine Sauer
Posted: July 10, 2013, from the July 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

On the website for Pola Orbis Holdings, which has owned the Jurlique brand since late 2011, Satoshi Sazuki, president and CEO of the Pola Orbis Group, indicated that one of the company’s goals is to “inspire all people and touch their hearts.” This should resonate particularly with the naturally focused Jurlique, a skin care brand that looks to organic and biodynamic* ingredients to help develop and utilize its unique Bio-Intrinsic process to create pure, powerful beauty products.

Just as consumers are becoming more aware of what they eat and where and how their food ingredients were sourced, they want to know about the ingredients in their beauty products and how they were sourced. To that end, Jurlique has a big stake in the growing natural and organic beauty category. According to a report published in early 2013 by Kline and Company, sales of organic products in the U.S. are expected to exceed $11 billion by 2016. This category has been experiencing double-digit growth since 2005, showing the continued growth of the organic and natural trend, which really is becoming more of a cultural imperative at this point.

This interest in natural and organic is also spurring on a larger wellness movement, which can incorporate beauty treatments and spa and salon offerings—in addition to products. More and more, beauty brand owners are recognizing the importance of meeting the consumer where she shops. For spas and salons, this often means aligning with a brand that can support marketing and that will help those retailing the brand’s products expand their business. This is a partnership that will support both businesses, brand and retailer.

The lines are blurred in the professional beauty arena, which includes spas and salons, and brands are challenging the “professional-only” category, which can limit the opportunity for the brand. It also has challenged the professional beauty industry, but those who are successful will have recognized the importance of brand recognition and partnership when it comes to selecting products. The bottom line is, consumers are often demanding salons and spas to have branded goods within their establishments—or they will shop elsewhere.

Jurlique, as an example of a brand with a natural/organic position and varied retail strategy, continues to grow its brand recognition through print advertising, and it also has a cult-like following among celebrities. The brand focuses on the sensorial experience as well, and that resonates with spas. Its products provide a luxurious experience for consumers, and plays to their senses for a memorable spa visit.

Where the Road Leads

In the following Q&A interview, Rose Fernandez, vice president of sales for North America for Jurlique, discusses the brand’s business strategies and product developments plans, and how it is capitalizing on its unique place in the market to grow in a more global brand.

Q: With the continued expanded growth anticipated in natural and organic beauty segments, how is Jurlique’s business today, what distribution channels do you play in and what are your plans for North America?

A: Our business in North America is very healthy, and we see great potential for continued, strong future growth.

Our products and services can be found at spas and our flagship locations [in San Francisco, Santa Monica and New York]. Each of our locations has at least one treatment room. It’s important to us to be able to provide the full Jurlique experience.

It also makes us smart about the business overall; we are retailers and service providers, we know what it’s like to need to keep the room booked, [the] timing, cost, and it serves as a testing location for us with product. We also have our own website [and] are in limited specialty retailers and third-party dot-coms.

Q: The lines are blurred a bit by the different certifications that can authenticate natural brands. How does that affect your brand nationally and how you globally communicate to your consumer?

A: This is interesting because while there are a lot of certifications, there is not one recognized governing board that regulates the standards. It can become overwhelming to the consumer. Right now, we are working on our EU packaging, and that is a pretty stringent process.

Overall, we maintain the position that our products are made by us with ingredients from our biodynamic* farm in Adelaide Hills, Australia, which is certified by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia since 2006. We take pride in the fact that biodynamic* is as organic as you can get. We grow our crops, and can attest to the quality and purity.

Beyond this, we also formulate, strive to clinically test all of our products, manufacture and distribute our own products. That’s pretty unique. We are quite proud of this—our customer outreach consistently reinforces the messages of our proprietary methods to grow and process botanicals.