A retail buyer told me she was tired of seeing natural skin care in brown glass bottles as it causes confusion for her customers.
She cited how the Tata Harper line, with its bright green glass and Vermont story, differentiates them in a now crowded field.
HOW TO POSITION A NATURAL BRAND
n WENDI BERGER, POUR LE MONDE
Every brand has a story. Pour le Monde certified 100% natural fine fragrances were launched in 2013, but the concept was conceived a few years prior, during my maternity leave. After being advised by my doctor to refrain from wearing perfume
while pregnant (because of certain ingredients in them), I reflected
on how few natural alternatives were in the marketplace.
My choices were aromatherapeutic scents or single-noted oils, when
all I yearned for was a beautiful perfume free of synthetic materials.
Seeing an opportunity and feeling entrepreneurial, I met with several
fragrance houses who said that constructing a 100% natural eau de
parfum, let alone three, would be next to impossible. But I knew a
market was there for luxury natural scents, so I persevered and found a
small house that admired my passion and took me on as a client.
Find the White Space
At the time of Pour le Monde’s development, there was a lot of
empty space in the green beauty world. Now, due to widespread
consumer awareness of personal care ingredients and the demand
for “clean” products, many brands are getting on the green beauty
bandwagon. However, not all green brands are equal and, because of
lack of regulation of the word “natural,” greenwashing is prevalent.
Green bloggers have become the watchdogs and authority figures
on product approval, amassing thousands of followers on social
media. For example, a recent Facebook posting by an irate consumer
railed about a “natural” lipstick from a supposedly green-beauty-only
store that contained propylene glycol. Upset that the product hadn’t
been properly vetted, she blasted the retailer and the brand publicly
for deeming themselves all-natural.
You cannot risk your reputation with today’s savvy consumer, and
I’m glad I was adamant about formulating Pour le Monde’s fragrances
in accordance with the Natural Products Association guidelines*. If
you are going to do natural, do it right or don’t do it at all.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
And doing it right is difficult. You cannot take a synthetic product,
replace its constituent components with naturals and expect the
same results. Ingredient sourcing, formulation, expense and efficacy
are big hurdles.
Skin care, for example, has its challenges because the natural
surfactants tend not to be as effective as synthetic surfactants because
water and oil have a hard time playing together. On the fragrance
side, artificial musk is almost always used as a base; duplicating a
natural musk is next to impossible, trust me. Even soy candles are
put to the test because of the longevity issues of essential oils and the
need for paraffin to burn and throw the fragrance more effectively.
Due to these obstacles, natural creations require a lot more synergy
between the formulators and the contract manufactures than with
traditional lab-created synthetic ingredients. Stability testing is
crucial as naturals are constantly changing from crop variations,
color alterations, nuance differences, smell changes, etc. As anyone