I just returned from a brief trip to Warsaw, where I attended the annual Cosmetics Polska study tour. This is an EU-funded program to promote Polish beauty companies abroad. The organizers are Warsaw-based media company SPC House of Media, they also make sure that Poland has a large presence at every major international C&T trade show. Once a year they organize a study tour in Warsaw for international journalists, beauty buyers and distributors. And this year I was invited. Thank you SPC Media!
We had three fabulous days in Warsaw, it was a beautifully organised trip; charming people, excellent Polish food and we got to meet a very wide range of Polish C&T manufacturers. On our last day we attended Beauty Forum Polska trade show which I found particularly interesting – many of the exhibitors there were German salon brands.
But to return to the Polish brands: I knew many of these by name, especially the larger ones like Bielenda, Ziaja, Irena Eris, Inglot, Dax, Oceanic and so on. Ziaja and Irina Eris, for example, are also available in some stores in Germany. However, there are scores of smaller brands, mostly in skin and body care, and many of these were new to me.
In no particular order, here are some of the interesting brands I met during last week:
Ava Cosmetics – they have some interesting Ecocert-certified product ranges – Eco Linea and Eco Garden, for example – but also a wide range of face and body care for any skin problems and a professional salon range. Actually, that is something I noticed with other Polish skin care manufacturers: besides their retail products the majority of beauty brands also have a professional product line-up.
Alba1913 – this brand was established in 1913, in Berlin actually, as CEO Lukasz Rychlicki told me. He is the grandson of Alba’s founder and is currently rejuvenating his grandfather’s company. Alba produces natural cosmetics and health remedies, its most famous product is Argol, a Carmelite essence.
Pat & Rub (Aromeda) is a charming NaTrue certified organic brand. In Poland, Pat & Rub is retailed by Sephora perfumeries; the packaging is stylish and playful at the same time. The line-up includes facial skin care, bath and body care, hair care, men’s care and children’s care.
Another organic brand in Aromeda’s portfolio is Naturativ – elegant packaging, NaTrue certification and a full product line-up: face, bath and body care, hair care, men’s and children’s care.
During the tour we also visited a beauty store, Synesis, located in Wiktorska street 65. Synesis was founded by Anna Garbaczewska and they have just launched Synesis Bio-Mimetic, an organic range comprising two face creams and a shampoo. Very stylish packaging and good ingredients. Impressive!
Beauty Forum Polska
The visit to Beauty Forum Polska was interesting: Beauty Forum is a German B2B publication for the salon sector. There are two Beauty Forum trade shows annually in Germany – in Munich and in Leipzig – but the format has already expanded into other European countries. I had no idea there were so many Beauty Forum trade shows ! Besides Beauty Forum Polska there are shows in Budapest (Hungary), Athens and Thessaloniki (Greece), Valencia (Spain), Trencin (Slovakia) and even Zurich (Switzerland).
But to return to Beauty Forum in Warsaw: we had half a day at the fair so I tried to make the most of it. Many of the exhibitors were German salon brands so the companies were already familiar to me. Salon nail care seems to be primarily dominated by international brands, for example from the US (Peggy Sage, Orly, OPI) or Germany (LCN, Alessandro International).
Where salon skin care is concerned, things are different. In this sector local brands have a pretty strong position.Amongst the heavyweights present at the show were Ziaja, Bielenda (number 2 in the Polish salon market, by the way) and Farmona as well as Bandi Cosmetics and Ava Cosmetics. In addition, there were the big German labels: Jean d’Arcel, Janssen, Dr. Grandel, Kryolan, Dr. Spiller and Christine Schrammek.
Interestingly enough Cattier from France was also at the show, as was Flormar – Flormar is a makeup brand originally from Italy, but since 1972 they’ve been manufacturing their products in Turkey. Flormar has been expanding quite rapidly in Germany over the last few years, they seem to open new stand-along stores every month or so. I also saw Natura Siberica from Russia, Anna Lotan from Israel and Dermalogica from the US. Plus a whole host of other Polish, European and US brands. I wish we’d have had more time at the show but I’m glad that I at least got a chance to visit it. I do love trade shows!