I am currently writing an article on the Baltic cosmetics markets so I just spent three days in the capital of Latvia, Riga – for research, for holidays and to revel in organic cosmetics, baked goods, Art Nouveau, birch trees and wooden houses. All of which Riga has in abundance.
I arrived back in Berlin yesterday with a suitcase full of organic beauty products, including products from Madara (Latvia), Joik (Estonia), Natura Siberica (Russia), Planeta Organica (Russia), Graenn (Latvia), Anna Liepa (Latvia), Gusto (Latvia) and Uoga Uoga, a niche brand from Lithuania.
I would have been tempted by the gorgeous hydrolats (flower/herbal waters) of Latvian company Dabba but thanks to Dabba’s founders whom I met at this year’s Vivaness trade show, I am still well-supplied with face sprays. Otherwise I definitely would have bought a couple of bottles.
Madara (not pictured) is one of the best-known Baltic beauty brands internationally – the company was founded in 2006 by Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere and today Madara products are sold in 25 countries worldwide. The portfolio includes some 54 sku (face, skin and body care, hair care, baby care) and three weeks ago Madara launched Mossa (Latvian for “berry”), an organic product range that is retailed in Drogas drugstores across the country.
Estonian brand Joik is very well-known amongst niche beauty lovers. Founded in 2005 Joik’s first products were soy candles. Then the company branched out into face care, became internationally known and recentley even entered the Japanese market. In Germany Joik is exclusively available at Hilla Naturkosmetik. Here in Riga, several stores carry Joik’s product ranges, including Lavandas, Pienene and Stockmann. More about these retailers later!
Natura Siberica is a Russian brand – not all of the products are certified organic but I do like them and already bought one of the serums when I visited Prague last November. As far as I’m aware Natura Siberica is not available in Germany. In Latvia, however, where Russian beauty brands are very common, Natura Siberica is stocked by every Drogas store. Mass market prices.
The same goes for Planeta Organica, also from Russia and also retailed in Drogas. I had never come across Planeta Organica before – but the packaging was attractive and although this is more of a near-natural brand, I can overlook this fact if the products are affordable. Which they are, Planeta Organic is located firmly in the mass market price range.
Graenn is also a Latvian brand. The company specializes in stylishly packaged hydrolats. Graenn is a fairly new company, I was unable to find out when they were founded exactly but I’m willing to bet it was in the last few years. Many Baltic organic brands are of very recent vintage.
Gusto – another mini company from Latvia, never heard of them before but the lipbalm is nice.
Uoga Uoga – I had come across this Lithuanian brand during my research for the article and was very keen to try it out. However, Estonian or Lithuanian brands (with the exception of Joik) are difficult to find outside of their home markets. Lucky for me that Lavandas who had exactly one Uoga Uoga lipgloss left….!
Not featured in the picture is the Rose Butter by Anna Liepa, another young Latvian company. Beautiful face and body care.