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Algenist’s High-tech Clean Beauty Approach

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief, Global Cosmetic Industry
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  • Rose Fernandez, CEO of Algenist, says the brand's signature ingredient, Alguronic Acid, can go “head to head” with conventional materials such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
  • Algenist has demonstrated how infusing new clean innovations into the palette, including the vegan, plant-based collagen, can lead to cult favorites, such as its Genius Liquid Collagen (pictured).
  • Algenist's Complete Eye Renewal Balm.
  • Algenist's prebiotic Alive range.

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Clean, safe and results-driven beauty is at the heart of Algenista. The brand was born following the development of Alguronic Acid, a proprietary sustainable ingredient initially derived from the bio-fermentation of microalgae.

Alguronic Acid’sb anti-aging effects minimize the appearance of wrinkles, while boosting the appearance of skin firmness and smoothness.

Rose Fernandez says the potential for a myriad of anti-aging effects was discovered when the signature ingredient was tested head to head with conventional materials such as vitamin c and hyaluronic acid in a variety of laboratory cell based testing.

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This high tech clean innovation set the template for Algenist. Fernandez notes that the brand is continuously working to boost the clean, sustainable and vegan claims of its products, without sacrificing the performance consumers expect.

Fernandez hints that new SKUs introduced in 2019 will include a product moving the company into the growing wellness category of sleep-associated beauty.

For this reason, the brand uses a selection of conventional ingredients that some clean beauty consumers tend to avoid, including retinoids, which can be found in Algenist’s Elevate Advanced Retinol Serum. Algenist created an algae encapsulated retinol that helps to alleviate some of the issues retinoids cause for those with sensitive skin.

The brand has demonstrated how infusing new clean innovations into the palette, including the vegan, plant-based collagen, can lead to cult favorites, such as its Genius Liquid Collagen. In April 2019, the brand will achieve 100% vegan formulation status.

Body Care, Sleep-centric Beauty and More 2019 Launches

Fernandez hints that new SKUs introduced in 2019 will include a product moving the company into the growing wellness category of sleep-associated beauty. It will also launch a serum that will be rich with Alguronic Acid and address the visible signs of atmospheric aging and pollution by helping keep the skin barrier strong.

Further reading: 5 Skin Care Claims on the Horizon

Another Algenist innovation launching in 2019, says Fernandez, is an algae-based product that is GMO-free, keto- and paleo-friendly, and organic. The brand will also introduce a luxury body care product featuring its vegan collagen technology and designed to deliver benefits without overcomplicating consumers’ beauty routines.

Consumer & Retail Strategy

Algenist positions itself as a trustworthy and approachable brand, says Fernandez. As such, Algenist has achieved wide appeal, from those in their 20s to the loyal plus-50 consumers, though its sweet spot lies with consumers in their mid-40s.

While younger consumers may encounter the brand first as an indulgence, consumers in their 40s are more concerned about safety and efficacy. Many of these shoppers stay with the brand over the years and turn to Algenist as a reliable source for effective skin care.

In Fernandez’s view, once the shopper makes selections based solely on price, it has “lost her.”

Tammy Yaiser, the brand’s head of product development, is a key component of Algenist’s consumer engagement. In addition to feeding the brand’s innovation pipeline and helping plan its launch schedule around the demands of various retail channels, Yaiser acts as a QVC personality who highlights both the innovation and value of Algenist on-air. Her technical background and approachability allows Yaiser to serve as a trusted advisor to QVC shoppers.

Algenist’s strong growth has come from its own flagship store at Algenist.com, as well as QVC and Sephora. Enhancing the brand site experience has helped Algenist to mitigate the heavy discounting that is taking place across the industry.

Brands must have some unique IP to survive.

The brand focuses on delivering rewards beyond just discounts because, in Fernandez’s view, once the shopper makes selections based solely on price, it has “lost her.”

The brand has established overseas growth via Sephora China, as well as a deal with Luxasia Group for the Hong Kong, Taiwan and exploring other markets. Fernandez has noted that working with trusted partners helps to positively impact the business in the market.

In the United Kingdom, Algenist partners with Space.NK and had a successful test launch at John Lewis, with two additional doors to in January 2019. The brand also sells via third-party sites such as Feelunique, LookFantastic and Cult Beauty.

The Future

Fernandez says that competition is good for the industry. With the cost of entry historically low, some brands are launching with as little as one SKU. She believes brands must have some unique IP to survive.

Once the new crop of independent brands extends past platforms such as Instagram, meaningful differentiation begins to matter more and more. Fernandez concludes: following a shakeout over the next few years, the true independent brand leaders will be revealed.

Footnotes

aSolazyme sold an 80% stake in the brand to Tengram Capital Partners in 2016. As of November 2017, Tengram owns 100% of Algenist, LLC.

bAlgenist manufactures its own supply of Alguronic Acid.