Last week I was in Nuremberg to attend Vivaness, Europe’s biggest organic C&T trade fair. This year, Vivaness celebrated its 10th anniversary; happy birthday! The official trade show statistics speak for themselves: organizers Messe Nuremberg have announced that 48.000 visitors from 132 countries visited Vivaness and its companion trade show Biofach (the world’s biggest organic food show. EVER!), an increase of around 7% compared to 2015.
Altogether there were 2.544 exhibitors from 77 countries at both shows (Vivaness: 245 companies from 33 countries) and you can imagine how busy the trade show centre in Nuremberg was. Biofach/Vivaness always has a fantastic atmosphere: different languages everywhere, people rushing around like mad, exciting new brands to discover and interesting people to talk to…it’s one of my favourite German trade shows.
So let’s dive right in: here are some of my favourite brand discoveries from Vivaness 2016! Also, this article is even longer than my show report on Cosmoprof Hong Kong 2015 – you have been warned.
I was excited to see Taiwanese organic beauty brand Evergoods at the trade show. I had first met Evergoods, Taiwan’s first certified organic cosmetics brand, at the Taipei LOHAS Expo (you can read my trade show article here) during my first visit to Taipei in November 2014. Evergoods has several beauty brands but the range they selected for their European market premiere is Naveen.
There are five main product ranges: Mommy & Baby (soothing cream and aromatic vapor cream), Body Care (body lotion and shower gel), a Hair & Scalp range (hair oil, hair mask, pre-shampoo treatment and scalp energy tonic), an anti-ageing premium range which was especially developed for the Japanese market, and the Men’s Bamboo line. Vivaness is the first European and indeed first Western trade show for Evergoods. Products are certified by the UK’s Soil Association (they also carry a halal certification because Evergoods does a lot of business in Malaysia) and the company is currently looking for distributors in Germany and Europe.
Another Asian brand that I was delighted to see was Znya Organics from Thailand. I had first met Znya Organics at CosmeTokyo 2014 (read my show review here). The brand was founded by Witraporn (Pon) Pimpla a few years ago. The entire Znya range is certified by USDA (soon there will also be a Cosmos Organic certification) and the products are beautiful and quite unusual. My favourite products are the face masks, especially the yellow powder mask based on jasmine rice powder and turmeric – you mix the powder with water and apply it to your face. Besides the jasmine rice mask (which is yellow) there is a also black face mask (bamboo charcoal) and a mung bean face scrub.
In addition, the range includes bar soaps (eleven varieties including one with pandan – heavenly!), lip balms, face care, three shampoos (which are based on aloe vera juice and various plant oils!) and conditioners (based on vinegar!). There is also a mom & baby range which includes seven products. In Bangkok Znya is sold in Tokyu department store (they have a little shop-in-shop there), at Seri Market (another shopping center in Bangkok) and the products are also retailed in shopping malls Emporium, Siam Paragon and The Mall.
Vivaness is Znya’s first ever German trade show; the company has just attended CosmeTokyo 2016 and will also exhibit at the Thai pavilion at US organic trade show Expo West in Anaheim this March. However, Vivaness is the most important trade show for the European organic market and Znya was here to look for German distributors. Pon told me that there had been a lot of interest from both retailers and distributors so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Znya Organics will soon be available in Germany!
Life’s a Breeze
The Breeze area of Vivaness trade show is dedicated to newcomer brands and niche labels. Over the years I’ve seen quite a few Breeze brands become successful and eventually move on into the main exhibition hall – like Estonian hydrosol brand Dabba (more on Dabba later), German organic oil brand Mahlenbrey (ditto) or French shea butter brand Karethic.
I loved the artisan cosmetics of Ponyhütchen from Bad Zurzach in Switzerland. Founded by Hendrike Grubert in 2009, the Ponyhütchen brand has really expanded over the last year. The cosmetics are made by Hendrike and an assistant and she has also designed the cute packaging – Ponyhütchen translates as “pony hat”; it is also the name of a character in German author Erich Kästner’s famous children’s book “Emil and the Detectives”.
I forgot to ask Hendrike if this was the inspiration behind her company name but that doesn’t really matter: her products are fabulous (few ingredients, high quality, great product names). Ponyhütchen’s line-up range currently offers some 150 sku of skin and body care, colour cosmetics and baby products and the products are available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, and Portugal. At the moment, Ponyhütchen is primarily available online but Hendrike told me that she wants to focus more on offline retail in future. She is already in negotiations with some German retailers that are interested in stocking her products – I can’t wait to see her product range in the shops.
French beauty brand Secret des Fées was another interesting Breeze exhibitor. This is a very new brand – they were founded in July 2015 – which specializes in face masks! More precisely, in powder face masks which contain diatomaceous earth, rice powder and alginate, a polysaccharide which is derived from brown algae.
In France the products are sold in pharmacies and organic shops, in Germany they are available through online perfumery Najoba. There are three scrub masks, three creamy masks and six different peel-off masks which all contain a different plant-based ingredients– blackberry, pineapple, cucumber, tea, cocoa or aloe vera.
The masks are sold in double sachets; simply pour the powder into a small dish, add 30 ml of water, stir until it turns into a gooey, rubbery mass and apply lavishly to the face. After 15-20 minutes you can peel the mask of the face. Ingenious texture and the skin feels really soft afterwards. Rubber masks are already very popular in Korea and it looks like this product trend is also starting to appear in the European organic industry!
French rose brand Anne Felker was another first-time exhibitor at Vivaness. The company’s line-up includes 15 different face care products and seven body care products: all products include rose extract which is harvested in the company’s own 2 hectare rose garden in the South of France. In France the products are retailed in beauty institutes and salons, organic shops and of course online.
Elewa is a US brand specializing in anti-ageing cosmetics formulated with African ingredients. The product range comprises eleven sku of face and body care, including Multi Tea Face Cleanser, Rooibos Facial Exfoliant, Facial Oil and Facial Serum, Virgin Coconut Exfoliant, Organic Peppermint Toner, Virgin baobab oil and Kalahari Melon Seed Oil Blend. Products are manufactured in the US and are USDA certified; the African oils are sourced from fair trade projects.
The Thanks Co also specializes in shea butter cosmetics. The company offers five shea butters scented with essential oils. The shea butter is sourced from Uganda but the products are manufactured in Australia. I liked the packaging and product names: the butters are sold in little jars and each variant carries the word “thanks” in a different language. Xie-Xie (Chinese) is scented with mandarin orange, Merci is lavender, Shukran contains sandalwood, Gracias is a blend of rose and jasmine and Thanks is unscented.
Another interesting Breeze brand was Spagyros from Switzerland. The company manufactures homoeopathic remedies and herbal medicines and their new skin care range was developed especially for sensitive and irritated skin. Ribes N offers three products: a moisturizing cream, a shower gel and a body lotion which are all formulated with blackcurrant oil, the aforementioned ribes nigrum. In Switzerland Spagyros is sold in pharmacies and some drugstores and products are priced at around 25 Euro.
The main exhibition hall
And now let’s move on to the main exhibition space of Vivaness, Hall 7A! This is where the big German brands such as Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Lavera, Santaverde, Luvos, Speick and so on have their exhibition stands. All the major European organic certifiers also have a presence here. As you might know, we have two main organic standards in Europe: one is NaTrue, the other is Cosmos. And both are now official sponsors of Vivaness trade show, by the way.
NaTrue was established in 2007 and they currently certify over 220 organic beauty brands from around the globe. And Cosmos was founded in 2010 by five European organic certifiers: BDIH (Germany), Ecocert (France), Soil Association (UK), Cosmebio (France) and ICEA (Italy). I don’t know how many brands are certified under the Cosmos Organic and Cosmos Natural logos but they include the individual brands certified by each of the five founding members, so: a lot!
There were so many interesting brands at Vivaness that it is probably easiest to structure the article according to geographic region. I have already highlighted my two favourite Asian exhibitors, Znya Organics and Evergoods; now let’s go to France!
Vive la France
Léa Nature is one of the bigger organic beauty manufacturers in France. The company has a number of beauty brands, including Eau Thermale Jonzac, So’Bio and Lift d’Argan. At Vivaness Léa Nature usually presents its two main international brands So’Bio and Eau Thermale Jonzac (a certified organic thermal water brand!).
I love Jonzac’s moisturizing cream but it is difficult to find the brand’s products outside of France, so I’m always glad to check out Jonzac’s product range when I have the opportunity! The latest product launch is a new 3-sku Detox face care range for sensitive skin and a product range for men (shaving foam, after shave balm and 3-in-1 face cream), with a baby care range to follow later this year. Eau Thermale Jonzac is not available in Germany; at least not in regular retail. Interestingly enough, the German TK Maxx stores occasionally stock some Eau Thermale Jonzac products.
TK Maxx is a retail chain from the US [TJ Maxx] which has been expanding like crazy in Europe over the past five years. The company sells fashion, accessories, homeware and beauty at around 50-70% less than the RRP. Or so they say. Personally, I have my doubts about the RRP they feature on their price labels (with the reduced price prominently displayed underneath the original) but I like to check out their cosmetics every once in a while.
TK Maxx’s beauty offering is a wild mixture of exclusive salon brands and mainstream products, often with torn or crumpled packaging; usually they have individual products only and never the entire range; there are some US brands and occasionally cosmetics from the UK, from Poland, from Australia…the line-up changes all the time. I would imagine that whatever isn’t sold in TK Maxx’s stores in one country is simply dispatched to the company’s warehouses in another country – this would explain why you so often find Polish chocolates or cosmetics in German TK Maxx outlets! Poland is Germany’s next-door neighbour and it was the first European market for TK Maxx, if I remember correctly.
Also, I know for a fact that many of the German salon brands you see at TK Maxx have a selective distribution and shouldn’t really be sold outside of the professional beauty distribution channel (salons, beauty institutes and so on). Perhaps they fell of the back of a truck somewhere…or more likely, a perfumery/salon went bankrupt and TK Maxx purchased their remaining stock? Anyway, occasionally you DO find interesting organic products are TK Maxx – like some of the Jonzac range. And I was interested to find out that the Jonzac products you see at TK Maxx are actually legit – the company uses TK Maxx as a retail channel to make their products better known. It certainly worked with me!
So’Bio product portfolio comprises fives ranges (Hydra Aloe Vera, Précieux Argan, Mon lait d’Anesse Peaux Parfaites and Face & Eyes/Lips & Nails; there is also a small colour cosmetics rage. The Mon lait d’Anesse range (donkey milk!) was extended with several products, including a serum booster, a regenerating cream and a protective fluid. I do like their donkey milk micellar water!
Of course I also quizzed the two brands about their Asian presence! I had already seen Jonzac in one of Seoul’s LOHBS drugstores last October but I didn’t know that Jonzac was also available in Singapore and Malayasia. So’Bio is also in Korea; the lady at the exhibition stand said that the brand was sold in small shop-in-shops located in various department stores together with other French beauty brands. I think this might mean that So’Bio is in Ontree, a small shop-in-shop retail chain of organic cosmetics which primarily feature French brands…I need to check this out next time I am in Seoul! So’Bio is also sold in China through TMall, an Alibaba-affiliated online retailer which is a popular distribution channel for Western beauty brands that do not want to go through the whole animal-testing/import hassle to retail their products in offline stores in mainland China. So’Bio is also looking for distributors in Taiwan and Japan so it looks like Léa Nature is definitely extending its Asian retail presence.
I had first met French argan oil brand Argandia at Cosmoprof Hong Kong last November (you can find more information on Argandia’s product range, ingredients and brand concept in my Cosmoprof Asia 2015 article). The company, or rather its German distributor (who also distributes shea butter brand Karethic!), was at Vivaness for the second time. Although Argandia’s products are already available in selected online retailers – including douglas.de – the brand wants to intensify its distribution in Germany with a stronger focus on offline retail. I certainly would love to be able to pick up some of Argandia’s fabulous face oils in an actual store rather than order them online.
Another interesting brand at the show was Sophie la Girafe Cosmetics, a baby care range that was launched in 2013. Sophie la Girafe is a famous French children’s toy (she’s a cute rubber giraffe who squeaks!); the Sophie la Girafe cosmetics range, however, is manufactured by Alva Organics, a Finnish company. The product line-up includes a body lotion, a hair & body wash, a baby oil, a face cream, a protection cream and a bubble bath and the brand’s latest introduction is the Baby SOS Cream for Face & Body. The cosmetics are available in selective offline retail – in Berlin, for example, Sophie la Girafe is sold in KaDeWe luxury department store – and in various online stores, including, yet again, douglas.de (Douglas is the perfumery market leader in Germany. More info on Douglas further down!)
Premium anti-ageing skin care brand Ekia is another French brand. The company’s portfolio includes five different face creams, two serums, two eye products and four cleansers (toner, micellar water, cleansing milk and cleansing oil). Ekia products are formulated with dragon’s blood tree sap which comes from the Amazonian forest and is claimed to have regenerative and antioxidant properties. Nice textures and I like the targeted portfolio. Ekia is also quite big in Asia; in Korea, for example, they are in Ontree and in Japan in outlets of the Tokyu Hands chain. Ekia products are also retailed in Taiwan and Hong Kong. And in Germany, Ekia is yet another brand sold by douglas.de!
I absolutely loved the brand concept of Lady Green, a French organic brand which I only knew by reputation. Lady Green was launched in 2012 and they make cosmetics for the 12-25 year female age group: the packaging is colourful (the pink-and-green really stands out on the shelf, check out the pic!), fragrances are gourmand, fruity and feminine, the line-up is compact and straightforward and the inspiration for product development, fragrances and product name comes directly from social media research.
Basically, Lady Green works with a group of 200-odd female (and mostly teenage) testers who will suggest what kind of products (fragrances, product types, product names) they’d like to buy and Lady Green then tailors their product development accordingly. Talk about being close to your customers! The line-up offers some 18 sku, including a cleansing foam, a pimple treatment pen, a day cream, a facial scrub, a micellar cleansing water and, brand new, lip glosses which are available in two flavours. There is also a 6-sku range of konjac sponges and the brand’s latest launch is the orange-scented Teste Magique hand cream. There is also a new face mask which will be launched soon.
And the brand is really successful, not just in France (where they have some 250 POS) but also internationally. I was told that they are in 15 countries worldwide; most of these markets are in Europe but Lady Green is also available in Japan: the products are listed in several outlets of Japanese organic retailer Cosmekitchen and in the Organic Market retail chain of natural products (Organic Market is a premium organic shop-in-shop retail chain usually located in the food departments of Tokyo’s luxury department stores). Since its Japanese market entry in early 2014 Lady Green has expanded to over 30 POS in Japan. Oh yes, and in Berlin the brand was recently listed by organic beauty store Belladonna in Kreuzberg.
Cîme from Belgium was another brand which I knew only by reputation and I was delighted to finally check out their product range at the company’s Vivaness stand. Cîme was launched in 2012 and the products are formulated with Himalayan plant extracts. The brand was at Vivaness for the third time and presented its 8-sku product portfolio of skin and body care. The facial skin care range comprises six products: a toner, a repairing serum, a protective cream for drier skin types, a lighter cream for use in summer or for oily skin types and a repairing anti-ageing cream for mature skin.
In addition there is a Universal Balm which is an all-purpose skin care cream, a dry body oil (one of their bestsellers in France) and a hand cream. The packaging is really attractive; playful yet elegant. I like it. The latest launches are an Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover which looked great; you can check it out on the brand’s website. In Germany Cîme’s products are available in selected online shops including Vegane Pflege and I was told that there will be several new products soon, including a body lotion and detox bath salts. Cool! The brand is also doing well internationally judging by its increasing international presence – at the moment, products are available in Belgium, Sweden, Australia and Hong Kong.
There was yet another French brand that I instantly fell in love with: Ylaé from Montpellier in the Languedoc region in the South of France. For the last few years Vivaness has featured a Sud du France pavilion which assembles all sorts niche brands from various regions in the South of France. Ylaé was launched in 2009/2010 and offers some 35 sku of face and body care with very high-quality ingredients indeed. Most of the creams are based on hydrosols, the textures are lovely and the sun care – Ylaé also has some sun protection creams – doesn’t leave the skin white at all! Seriously, they have this SPF50+ cream which looks completely white when you squeeze it out of the tube but once it is applied to the skin it blends in perfectly.
The cleansing line-up includes a rice-powder facial scrub and an apricot kernel oil based scrub, a cleansing milk and two toners, two clay masks (one with green clay and the other with red clay) and two hydrating masks, four face creams, one eye cream, a regenerating serum, a night cream and a lip balm. The body care range includes a hand cream, a massage oil, a body lotion, a body scrub, four shower gels and, of course, the sun care line-up: three sun care sprays with SPF 10, 25 and 30, a cream with SPF 50 and an aftersun lotion. In France Ylaé is mostly sold in organic shops (I was told they have some 70 POS in France) but the brand is also available in Belgium and Switzerland. Products are priced between 12 and 20 Euro which is quite reasonably for such high-quality ingredients. I’ll definitely be ordering some of their cosmetics soon!
Another French niche brand which I had only read about is Alorée. Alorée was launched in 2012 (they are also from Sud du France) and their products are formulated with chlorophyll as an anti-ageing ingredient – actually, the chlorophyll is part of the CHC complex which in turn is derived from young barley shoots. The complex is said to have strong anti-oxidant and metabolism-boosting qualities and it is included in each of Alorée’s 12 beauty products. The range offers two different cleansing milks and a micellar water (of course!), two light moisturizing fluids, a rich face cream, a serum, an eye contour gel, a CC cream and a face mask plus, brand new!, a hand cream.
Oh, I almost forgot: the range also includes a 2-phase face spray, the Two-Phase Mist City Protect. Fabulous product! The spray has a bright green oil phase and a hydrosol phase which you shake up, spray on the skin and voilá! Instant moisturisation. Alorée is also in a few international countries – in Korea, for example (in outlets of the Orga supermarket chain), in Japan (Organic Market stores), in Singapore (La Maison Bio) and in the UK, Belgium, Finland and Spain. Impressive!
Najel was another interesting exhibitor from France. The company is famous for its black Aleppo soaps which they’ve been producing since 1895. However, Najel has a much bigger product portfolio these days: the current line-up includes body oils, butters, shower gels, floral waters and body lotions and, of course, the Aleppo soaps in solid or cream form. The brand’s latest product is the Body Oil Black Cumin which was launched just last month. In Germany Najel is sold in selected organic stores and, of course, online. Their soaps are also popular in Asia; I was told that Najel is available in Korea, China and Hong Kong already and that the company also wants to develop the Southeast Asian markets of Malaysia and Singapore over the next years.
And Florame was yet another French brand that I’d only read about. The company specializes in essential oils and aromatherapy products and at Vivaness, they presented their latest launches: the 4-sku Nutrition range for dry and sensitive skin (body balm, hand cream, foot cream and shower cream) and a line extension – a new perfume – in the Jasmine body care range which itself was introduced in 2015.
There were also some interesting exhibitors from Italy.
Bioearth had been one of my personal discoveries at last year’s Vivaness: the Italian company offers a number of product ranges which include Loom, a snail mucus range (!). I love snail cosmetics and I a big fan of the Loom serum so I wanted to find out whether Bioearth had added any new products to the Loom range. Sadly no, but in September 2015 the company launched the Day by Day range of tea tree cosmetics for acne-prone skin.
And Mille Ulivi is a very cool olive oil based skin care range from Fermo province in the Le Marche region in Italy. Fermo has many olive tree plantations and this inspired the two founders of Mille Ulivi to develop an olive oil range. The containers are refillable bottles made from olive wood and the eleven skin care products are vegan and Ecocert-certified. In Italy Mille Ulivi is sold in organic shops and herboristeries (herbal shops) and the brand was at Vivaness to find a German distributor (although the products were recently listed on douglas.de). The brand is already in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia as well as the Western European countries of Norway, Poland and Ukraine. Founder Carlo Natale told that Mille Ulivi is thinking about entering the US market, so they are planning to exhibit at Cosmoprof North America this July.
An Italian company that I was really surprised to see at Vivaness was L’Erbolario. L’Erbolario specializes in plant-based cosmetics and the brand is HUGE in Asia. I had recently seen L’Erbolario in Hong Kong and didn’t really expect to also see them at Vivaness. Definitely a first-time exhibitor! The company presented the certified organic part of its portfolio including the Goji range which I had already seen at Cosmoprof Asia.
Pura Vida Bio is an organic beauty company from Italy which specializes in cosmetics manufactured with fermented ingredients. The product range was certified by ICEA in 2002 and currently includes twelve face care products and five body care products. In Spain the products are available already and in Germany you can order the brand through the online store of Germany’s perfumery market leader Douglas. As you know (if you’ve read this article attentively!), quite a few international brands at Vivaness are listed on douglas.de these days. A very interesting development.
You see, the Douglas chain was sold to a Luxemburg-based investment fund last year. And the new owners are very keen indeed on further expanding the business of the Douglas group in Europe and internationally. The trouble is that Germany’s stationary Douglas stores have a very mainstream product portfolio of cosmetics and perfumes.
The company’s online store, however, offers dozens of brands that are not available in any of Douglas’ bricks & mortar outlets; douglas.de is the biggest (and oldest) online perfumery in Germany, it was launched in 2001. Anyway, douglas.de has always had a spectacular brand selection but now it looks like they are trying to boost their international trend profile by adding organic niche brands to their line-up – quite a good strategy actually.
There was another organic colour cosmetics brand from Italy which looked very interesting: Veg-Up! was launched in September 2015 and in Italy the brand is sold in pharmacies and organic stores. I liked the rather cute cardboard packaging and the comprehensive product range: eyeliner and mascara, six duo eyeshadows, seven liquid lipsticks, a compact foundation available in three shades, a BB cream for face and one for body and legs (unusual!), a compact powder, a concealer (two shades), a duo blusher and a bronzing powder available in two colours. Products are certified by BDIH and 99% of the packaging is made of recycled materials.
Northern and Eastern Europe
Now let’s go to Northern Europe! Organic beauty from Scandinavia and the Baltic countries has become very popular in Germany over the past few years and this was also reflected in the number of Baltic cosmetics brands that were at Vivaness this year.
Let’s start with Dabba from Latvia, who was a first time-exhibitor at Vivaness 2014. Today, Dabba is a popular brand amongst fans of Baltic organic beauty. Dabba specializes in herbal hydrosols; their standard range includes variants such as yarrow water, peppermint water, chamomile water, birch leaf water, wild raspberry leaf water and meadowsweet water. This year Dabba presented several new skin care products: three face oils (Rejuvenating, Hydrating and Balancing), two body oils (Calming and Invigorating), a hair and scalp treatment and Baltic Sea Mist, a salt water styling spray. I particularly liked the face oils! I was also told that there will be several new products over the next few months.
You & Oil (launched in 2013) is a beauty brand from Lithuania which specializes in oil-based skin care. The product range includes five lines: dry skin (face oil, body oil, bar soap and lip balm), combination skin (ace oil, body oil and soap), mature skin (vitamin serum, face oil bar soap, body oil and lip balm), men’s skin (face oil, hair & beard oil and bar soap – it’s unusual to see oil products that are aimed at a male demographic!) and a product range that is suitable for all skin types (eye makeup remover, hand oil, body oil, bar soap and lip balm). I liked the brand and really hope they will find a distributor in Germany soon.
Another Baltic brand which I like and have never seen in real life (with the exception of the one lip gloss I bought in Lavandas store on my trip to Riga two years ago!): mineral colour cosmetics brand Uoga Uoga, a first-time exhibitor at Vivaness 2016. Uoga Uoga’s line-up includes loose mineral powders and mineral blushers, concealers, lip glosses and lip & cheek creams, powder eyeshadows and colour pigment and eyeliners. They have a great selection of colours – one of their latest launches is a range of loose powder shadows which are available in 20 (!) shades; plus four new eyeliner colours and eight lip & cheek colour creams.
Latvian brand Kivvi is one of my favourites – it was also one of the very first Baltic beauty brands I tried out: their Vivaness premiere coincided with my first visit to the trade show. Since its first appearance at Breeze 2013, Kivvi has become very popular in Germany. The brand is at Vivaness each year. And at this year’s trade show, Kivvi launched its new Ribes Nigrum face care range for skin aged 25+. Ribes Nigrum is formulated with blackcurrant extract (hence the name) and the line offers a day cream, night cream, facial scrub, eye cream, toner and foaming facial wash. And, as always, beautiful packaging. I was told that an expansion into the Japanese market might be on the cards for Kivvi in 2016 – very exciting!
Russian manufacturer Natura Siberica is a big brand internationally; no matter what trade show you attend they always seem to have one of the biggest exhibition stands. The company is at Vivaness every year although the products are still not in regular retail in Germany. I had already seen the latest Natura Siberica launches at Cosmoprof Hong Kong last November, but I was interested to see a new brand which was launched in the Baltic countries in late 2015. The Oma Gertrude range has a very German vibe, the brand name translates as “Aunt Gertrude”. Check out the old lady on the product packaging in the pic below!) – and the line-up includes four shampoos, four conditioner, four shower gels, two hair masks, two body lotions, two hand creams and two foot creams.
I was also happy to see Alteya Organics again – they are a rose cosmetics brand from Bulgaria and have a HUGE presence in Asia; I keep seeing them at all the international trade shows, most recently at Cosmoprof Hong Kong 2015. I had a nice chat with Alteya’s managing director Daniel Kolev and he showed me the brand’s latest products: the relaunched Rose Otto face care range (it includes a cleansing milk, foaming cleanser, toner, nourishing serum, eye serum, face cream and eye cream). Beautifully formulated products.
Alteya Organics doesn’t have a formal distribution in Germany at the moment; Daniel told me that you can order the products through Amazon Prime which the company uses a retail channel for several countries. However, this year Alteya wants to focus on establishing a more formal distribution structure in Germany and the UK, two of the company’s focus markets for offline retail. Personally, I’d be happy to see Alteya Organics’s products in regular organic beauty stores!
Another charming Bulgarian exhibitor was Wooden Spoon, a young brand from Sofia. Founded by Silvyia Pavlova in December 2014, Wooden Spoon makes edible cosmetics or rather, they use such high-quality and raw plant butters and oils that you could technically eat the products. The range offers two skin care serums with evening primrose oil and tamanu and marula oil respectively, a Hair Growth Serum with argan oil and chili seed oil, body butters that are based on shea butter and cocoa seed butter, a body oil, baby diaper cream, baby oil, three lip balms and two sun screens. Beautiful packaging and a really cool brand concept. Silvyia told me that in Bulgaria her brand is sold in organic stores and pharmacies as well as online. And she has big plans for 2016, including a market entry in Italy, France and Japan.
Iva Natura was a first time exhibitor from Turkey. The company’s portfolio of skin and body care includes 26 sku at the moment with more products coming soon. Iva Natura was at the show to find a German distributor – they are already in the UK and are planning further expansion in Europe for 2016. Good luck to them!
The company that started the international konjac sponge trend five years ago was also at Vivaness: The Konjac Sponge Company. Founded in 2011 by Michele Riley, the Konjac Sponge Company has become spectacularly successful: the brand has received numerous beauty and lifestyle awards, including the Cosmopolitan Beauty Award in 2013, and the products are now available in 62 countries worldwide. In Asia the Konjac Sponge Company is present in Hong Kong, Japan, mainland China and Singapore and their biggest regional market is Scandinavia, Michele said.
The brand’s current line-up of konjac sponges includes some 40 variants in different shapes and the latest two launches are sponges with chamomile and one with green tea. The colours are all natural, by the way – they are derived from herbal extracts and minerals that are added to the konjac sponge mixture during the production process.
Germany & Austria
Of course the majority of exhibitors at Vivaness were from Germany. Since I am based in Berlin and write a lot of market reports and articles about the German cosmetics market, I am already familiar with most of these brands and their launches. Which is why I have decided to include the obligatory list of new product launches from the big brands like Weleda, Dr. Hauschka et. al. at the end of this article. Feel free to scroll down!
Here are some of the German and Austrian brands that I personally find interesting and that are perhaps a little less well-known internationally.
First up: Mahlenbrey, a third-time exhibitor at Vivaness. I can still remember Brigitte Mahlenbrey’s first Vivaness appearance in the Breeze area in 2013 – this was also my first Vivaness trade show ; ) Mahlenbrey produces exquisite and high-quality face and body oils; her portfolio currently includes 10 pure oils and three oils blended with essential oils. One of Brigitte Mahlenbrey’s latest launches is a gorgeous argan oil which came out in autumn 2015 and there are also two new bar soaps, Yuzu and Rose, which are companion products to the respective oils.
Aloe vera cosmetics brand Santaverde is very well known in Germany and Europe; they are one of the big players in the German organic beauty market. I like their products very much, particularly the Age Protect range, so I was interested in seeing their latest two product launches: Age Protect Serum and the tinted Age Protect Fluid with SPF 6. Products are priced at around 50 Euro so they are not cheap but so worth the price! I love the Age Protect ampoule treatment which I always take with me on long-haul flights.
Launched in 2011, Luky & Lilly is a really cute German organic beauty brand for children. They were at Vivaness for the third time; their products are already widely distributed in Germany – you can find them in organic stores, organic supermarkets and perfumeries – and at the show they presented their latest launch: a range of lip balms for boys and girls.
I also enjoyed seeing Yverum, an organic hyaluronic acid beauty brand which was launched in 2012. I had last seen Yverum at Cosmoprof Hong Kong last October so I already knew their latest product launch, a silky-textured Eye & Lip Serum – for which they also received the Vivaness 2016 Best New Product Award last week. Congratulations Yverum!
Pure Green Group from Austria has a number of beauty brands; they also manufacture hotel amenities and other private label products. At Vivaness they showed their latest product launches, including the Ötztal range of four products – shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel. This new range was especially developed for the tourism association of Ötztal, a region in the Tyrolean mountains. The packaging features mountain panorama pics and the products are available in hotels and tourist stores throughout Ötztal. I like regional cosmetics, what a great idea! Pure Green has also introduced a new 5-sku skin care range, Alpine Organics, another nod to the company’s geographic heritage.
First-time exhibitor Velvety was also from Austria. The company specializes in hand-made bath additives – beautifully decorated bath muffins, sticks, balls, pralines – and their organic portfolio (they also have a line of conventional bath additives) includes some 100 different products across twelve fragrances. Each fragrance is available in differently shaped bath additives. I was told that Velvety’s products are often retailed in gift shops or florists. Interesting!
Fellow Austrian brand Bademeisterei also manufactures bath additives. They do bath sticks, bath pralines, fizzy bath balls and so on and are an annual presence at Vivaness. At this year’s show they presented their latest beauty concept: Cosmetic Kitchen. Basically, these are DIY cosmetics; you can buy a basic body lotion or shower gel, add the essential oil of your choice and whip it up in your mixer (or simply use a spoon) and voilá! Personalised cosmetics! DIY cosmetics are a big product trend at the moment. The Cosmetic Kitchen displays have already appeared in many outlets of German drugstore chain DM (I first saw the products in October 2015) and the concept seems to be doing well so far.
I also like Calena, a German bath and body care brand which specializes in fresh cosmetics. You place your order online, the products are them manufactured and dispatched to your address. Calena has some really pretty bath chocolate bars and other solid bath additives and their latest launches include a range of vegan organic soaps and four new bath teas. These bath teas are little cloth sachets filled with a shea butter based bath praline and different dried herbs. You soak the little bag in the bath water until the praline has dissolved. And can then use the little cloth bag as a sponge. Great idea!
Farfalla is a charming organic brand from Switzerland which is also widely retailed in Germany. The company was founded in 1985 in Zurich, the capital of German-speaking Switzerland, and since then, Farfalla has increased its distribution in the German-language region of Switzerland. They also have five retail stores in Zurich, Basle, Lucerne, Aarau and Berne.
Perhaps I ought to add a note for my international readers: Switzerland is a multi-lingual country; it is divided into German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking regions plus the South Eastern canton of Graubünden where you’ll find a language not spoken anywhere else, Romansh. Switzerland therefore has four official languages: Swiss-German (which is very different from the German that is spoken in Germany, by the way!), French, Italian and Romansh.
Anyway, Farfalla’s products are also very well-known in Germany. At Vivaness 2016, the company showed its new product launches including face oils in four of the brand’s skin care ranges: Age Miracle, Intense Moisturisation, Pure Sensitive and In Balance. Each face oil is based on a key essential oil which in turn comes from a specific geographic region in the world. The face oils will be available from May 2016 onwards.
Benecos is a very successful German budget colour cosmetics brand which was founded in 2012. They always have a big stand at Vivaness to present their comprehensive color cosmetics line-up and their skin and body care portfolio which was added to the brand’s line-up a couple of years ago. Benecos recently updated its makeup range with a number of new products, including three fluid foundations, a bronzing duo, a translucent pressed powder, new lipstick colours and 12 new powder mono shadows. There were also some relaunches in the skin and body care range but most of this year’s novelties were in the colour cosmetics category.
I also asked the company about its international activities and was interested to hear that Benecos is currently in the US and Australia (a further expansion into the UK market is also underway) plus they have distributors in Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. In Japan, apparently, their local distributor is Charis Seijo (who also distribute German organic fragrance manufacturer Florascent in Japan if I remember correctly). Next time I’m in Tokyo (May 2016!) I definitely need to check out Benecos’ local presence!
The big brands
And to finish up this post, here is a brief line-up of the major launches from the big German and European brands. These companies are very well-known in Germany and I was already familiar with many of the new products (also, with the possible exception of Lavera’s new sleeping cream there weren’t any really exciting new products).
Let’s start with are probably two best-known organic brands: Weleda and Dr. Hauschka. At Vivaness, Weleda presented its most recent launches from late 2015: the Evening Primrose Serum and three Jardin de Vie fragrances. And Dr. Hauschka presented its latest limited edition – Comeback offers some of the brand’s bestselling colour cosmetics in a new collection. Nothing particularly new, just some relaunched products.
French brand Cattier extended its German product portfolio with a couple of new launches, including a Dry Oil and two face masks (Masque Hydratant and Masque Lissant). And in January, Danish brand Urtekram brought out new coconut body care range: the new line includes hair care products, a body lotion, a shower gel, a hand soap and a hand cream. I do like Urtekram’s products; good quality and very affordable pricing.
German organic brand Speick introduced two tinted face creams and a new orange-scented shower gel. And Berlin-based I+m Naturkosmetik’s latest launches include the Frische Kick face and body spray Holunder & Hyaluron (elderberry & hyaluronic acid). German mass market brand Nonique relaunched its entire product portfolio with new packaging across all product ranges.
Aromatherapy brand Primavera is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the moment, so they brought out a special fragrance edition: the new essential oil “Alles Liebe” is also available as a room fragrance (Airspray), fragrance spray and as a massage oil. There are also three new plant hydrosols: immortelle, peppermint and lavender.
The most interesting launch came from Lavera who brought out a sleeping cream; the first of Germany’s organic C&T manufacturers to pick up this Korean beauty trend. There are several organic brands in France that have already launched sleeping packs or sleeping masks; like Lift d’Argan (Léa Nature) or Akane (whose sleeping pack Masque Cocon Nocturne I saw at Cosmoprof Hong Kong). I do like the packaging of Lavera’s new sleeping cream!
Which brings us to the end – more or less – of this year’s Vivaness show coverage! I hope you enjoyed the article. The next Vivaness trade show will take place from 15th to 18th February 2017.