Ah, Vivaness. The biggest (and most exciting) organic C&T show in the world! As I was finishing my Vivaness article for SPC Magazine earlier this week – explaining the trade show’s concept and regulatory framework for a reader demographic that is mostly non-European – it occured to me that some background info might also be interesting for you lot reading the article right here.
After all, the WordPress stats tell me that most of my readers are located outside of Europe (or at least their IP adddresses are but hey, I’m a NordVPN fangirl so no judgment here ; )). I think it might also have to do with the fact that I have written a lot of articles about Asian retailers, brands and companies.
Many of these brands are not particularly well documented in the English-language online world (this is a polite understatement: usually my article will be the longest and most informative brand or company profile available in English!). So, if you google certain brand or store names in English, Google lists my articles fairly prominently, despite the fact that I can’t be bothered to use SEO or keywords strategies (it seems like a lot of work).
Anyway, long story short: in this year’s Vivaness article I’ll tell you a bit about the history of the trade show and why it is so different from any other natural beauty show out there. And no, I don’t work for the trade show organisers and I don’t get paid for this either! Just wanted to clarify this point ; )
WHAT VIVANESS IS ALL ABOUT
Vivaness takes place every year in conjunction with Biofach, the world’s biggest organic food/product trade show. The first Vivaness took place in 2007, with 165 exhibitors from the natural beauty, naturopathy, accessories and wellness sectors.
By 2006 organic beauty was so prominent at Biofach – and a visitor poll from that year showed that more than a third of all visitors were also interested in organic beauty – that Biofach organisers Messe Nuremberg decided to add a separate beauty hall to the trade show and market this showcase under its own name. Ever since then, Biofach and Vivaness have taken place at the same time, in adjoining halls.
This development – launching a trade show dedicated solely to organic beauty – also reflected the market dynamics within the certified organic beauty sector in Germany at that time. As you might know, Germany is the largest market economy in the EU. That is the reason why the country’s C&T, organic food and organic beauty markets are leading their respective European sectors.
I think this also applies to the German supermarket sector (after all, we have Metro, Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Edeka and all the rest of them!) but supermarket retail is not one of my key focus areas. However, I do know the figures for the organic food market, the organic beauty market and the overall personal care market and in these industry sectors, Germany is leading the pack *pause here for a small surge of patriotism*. Ok, it’s gone, let’s move on!
According to German market researcher Naturkosmetik Konzepte’s figures for the certified organic beauty market, in 2006 turnover for organic beauty had reached 650m Euro which was almost twice the market size of turnover in 2003. Organic beauty was still described as a niche market back then – today it‘s become a lot more mainstream – but around 15 years ago there was evidently a major surge in consumer interest in green and organic beauty, which in turn boosted the market significantly.
And the German organic market has grown pretty vigorously over the last decade. In the past few years, however, market growth has slowed down – we have a mature and highly saturated organic beauty market here so it is natural (hah!) that sales figures are starting to level off a bit. Still, at least the German organic certified beauty market is stagnating at a very high level: according to Naturkosmetik Verlag (the renamed Naturkosmetik Konzepte), the German organic C&T market reached 126 billion Euro (+5.9%) in 2018.
Today there are still quite a few beauty brands that exhibit in the Biofach food halls, by the way – these are usually smaller international brands taking part in their respective country pavillions, or the cosmetics divisions of big organic food or cleansing brands (for them it’s simpler to just present their entire range at one booth and Biofach is by far the bigger show).
In 2019 Vivaness took place for the 13th time – I had to go through my own articles to double-check when I first visited the show: in 2014. And I’ve attended it every year since then which means that this is my 6th Vivaness visit. Wow. If you’re interested: here are the links to my previous show reviews: Vivaness 2014, Vivaness 2015, Vivaness 2016, Vivaness 2017 and Vivaness 2018.
What makes Vivaness different from other natural beauty trade shows – like Natural Products Europe shows in London or Asia, or the Green Hall at Cosmoprof Bologna – are the strict ingredients regulations for exhibitors.
Every single beauty product that is exhibited at Vivaness (i.e. that is visible at or on a trade show booth) must either carry a certification from one of the big organic certifying associations (Cosmos, Soil Association, Natrue, BDIH, Bio Austria, ICEA and so on) or its ingredients must meet the Vivaness ingredient criteria, which are based on what the official organic certification seals demand. As an exhibitor you have to submit the INCI listing for every product you intend to show at Vivaness.
If a single ingredient in one product does not satisfy the requirements this particular product cannot be shown at the booth. And if you’re a conventional/clean/green/ beauty brand with only one certified organic product range then you can only present this specific range at the show.
This very narrow regulatory framework ensures that only true organic beauty brands can exhibit at the trade show. And this is turn is very attractive to domestic and international trade show visitors because they can be certain that the products they are looking at are actually organic.
As someone who visits a lot of trade shows – several of which take place in countries where cosmetics manufacturers are not obliged to provide a complete INCI listing or the INCI listing is in the domestic language only, rather than the English language version that is mandatory over here in the EU – that is a very good thing!
A SPACE FOR NICHE & STARTUP BRANDS
What I also like about Vivaness trade show is Breeze, the special exhibition area for young international niche and start-up brands. The first Breeze took place at Vivaness 2011 and for me it is always one of the highlights of the trade show.
The Breeze area is always located at the main entrance to the Vivaness hall so most trade show visitors will walk through this exhibition space. Breeze exhibitors get small exhibition booths – usually a table, a glass-fronted show case and a kind of brand banner and that’s it – but the whole thing is available at a special reduced newcomers rate.
What I find particularly exciting about visiting trade shows is the opportunity to discover new and niche brands; especially if these brands are not widely distributed, and even more so if the brands are from outside Germany. This year’s Breeze presented 24 exciting beauty brands in a compact space, one next to the other – in fact, I spent my entire first day at Breeze and didn’t even make it into the main body of the exhibition hall until Day 2!
There is another interesting niche brand exhibition area at the trade show: “Innovation made in Germany” is a communal exhibition booth sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy. It took place for the first time at Vivaness 2016 and is entirely dedicated to German start-up and newcomer beauty brands. Also a very good place to discover brand and product trends. This year there were 10 Made in Germany exhibitors.
VIVANESS 2019: FACTS & FIGURES
After this lengthy background exposé: here are the facts and figures about this year’s Vivaness and then I’ll continue with a list of my favourite brand discoveries!
Altogether there were 284 exhibitors from 41 countries at Vivaness 2019, including the brands exhibiting at Breeze and Made in Germany, and a total of 51,500 visitors attended Vivaness and Biofach this year (there are no separate visitor figures for the two individual shows).
Like every year the big European organic certifiers – especially COSMOS and Natrue – had communal exhibition booths where they presented some of their brand licensees.
And here is the exhibitor breakdown by country! Or the Top 10 at least. The biggest exhibitor country was, of course, Germany with 94 companies, followed by France with 46 brands, Italy with 24 brands and Spain with 17 brands. In fifth place was Austria with 11 exhibitors, then Bulgaria and India (jointly) in sixth place with 8 companies respectively, followed by the the UK in 7th place with 6 brands, then The Netherlands with 5 exhibitors. The 9th place was shared by Tunesia, Turkey, the Philippines, Switzerland and Belgium with 4 companies. Finally, South Korea, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania contributed 3 exhibitors each.
VIVANESS 2019: BRAND FAVOURITES
And now let’s jump straight in: here are – in no particular order – some of my favourite brand discoveries at Vivaness 2019, starting with this year’s Breeze exhibitors.
INARI ARCTIC BEAUTY (Finland)
First up, Inari Arctic Beauty! This Finnish-German indie luxury brand was launched in July 2018 by Sirkku Hahn and Nina Stenberg and there are currently four products in the range – a sleeping cream, a moisturising serum, a moisturiser and a day cream. Two new product launches will follow soon: the Hydration Cleanser and the Rejuvenating Eye Cream which will be launched in Inari’s European markets in early summer this year.
In the second pic below you can see the two products, as yet in unmarked containers because the packaging wasn’t ready in time for the show. I tried them out and the textures felt really great – as per usual with Inari Arctic Beauty; the brand’s creams and the serum are gorgeous, very light and yet rich. Quite Korean in fact, which was one of the inspirations for Inari’s textures.
The entire range is formulated with the proprietary Arctic Beauty Complex which contains six Arctic ingredients, including chaga mushroom, bilberry leaf extract, lingonberry extract, cloudberry fruit extract, Scots pine extract and rhodiola rosea – if you’re familiar with TCM or Korean herbal medicine beauty products you might recognise some of these extracts.
The plants that are used in the Arctic Complex actually come from near the Polar Circle; they are wild harvested in Northern Finland (where brand founder Sirkku grew up). The scent of the products is dry, herbal, with some woodsy notes – no synthetic fragrance components, what you’re smelling are the plant extracts that are used in the product. I have some of Inari’s products at home and I particularly like the serum.
At the moment Inari Arctic Beauty products are available online and offline in Germany and Finland as well as online through European organic beauty retailer Ecco Verde and, I think, they are also available through Flaconi, a massive online perfumery. Plus several other Europe-based online stores.
A really nice beauty brand!
SCHAU AUF DI (Austria)
Another charming brand is Schau auf di, an artisan beauty brand from the Northwest region of Lower Austria. Launched in 2017, Schau auf di’s (the brand name is local Austrian dialect for “pay attention to yourself“) 18-sku range of face and body care is manufactured by hand near the brand’s headquarters in Zwettl in Lower Austria.
This region called the “Waldviertel“, by the way, which translates as “forest quarter“ – an appropriate term because Schau auf di uses only regional and local ingredients. The entire product range is certified by Bio Austria (one of the strictest organic certifications in the whole of Europe) and I simply love the packaging. Beautiful colours!
Because the brand doesn’t have an English-language website I’ll go into more detail about the product range.
Schau auf di‘s product portfolio is divided into face care and body care. There are six face care products, including the cleansing milk Reinigungsmilch Rose which is based on rose hydrosol and sunflower seed oil, the facial moisturiser Gesichtscreme Haselnuss (based on rose water, sunflower seed oil, hazelnut seed oil and shea butter), the matching face oil Pflegeöl Haselnuss (hazelnut oil, sunflower oil and sweet almond oil), Pflegeöl Johannisbeere (a face oil formulated with hemp seed oil and blackcurrant seed oil) and two hydrosols (rose and lavender).
The body care side of the line-up offers lip balm with beeswax and sweet almond oil, a water-free protective lavender balm cream which is suitable for face and hands, a hand balm which is based on lavender hydrosol and safflower oil (I’d like to try that out; I love lavender!), a foot balm with safflower oil and hemp oil, a body lotion based on rose water, safflower oil and scented with essential oil of frankincense and a shower gel which is based on rose water, mild coconut-based surfactants and scented with grapefruit and bergamot essential oils.
Finally there are two children’s products (which are rather endearingly called “Schau auf mi“ which means “pay attention to me“) – a bath and shower gel with rosewater and calendula flower extract and a very rich calendula-based face and body balm.
In Austria the brand’s products are available through Sonnentor’s online and offline stores (Sonnentor is one of the biggest organic food brands from Austria), in Prokopp perfumeries (Prokopps’s an Austrian beauty retail chain) and in Germany the products are sold in Sonnentor stores (none of them located in Berlin, unfortunately). Schau auf di was at Vivaness because the company is looking to increase their German presence.
Latvian homeopathic beauty brand Inex was a first-time exhibitor at Vivaness and I was particularly interested in the brand’s inside/outside beauty concept: In addition to face care products formulated with homeopathic ingredients (in the correct homeopathic potencies) the company also offers homeopathic pills which are designed to be taken internally. These globules support the anti-ageing and skin-regenerating effects of the face creams which are, of course, applied externally.
In Japan, domestic C&T manufacturers habitually launch beauty supplements (drinks, capsules, powders) as a key part of their face care ranges; especially if these products are aimed at a more mature demographic. Incidentally, I did some research into the Japanese beauty supplements market recently (connected with another project) and wasn’t really surprised to find out that Japan has he biggest and most highly differentiated inner beauty/supplements market in the world. Fascinating, but slightly off-topic here.
Anyway, each of Inex‘ three main face creams comes with a jar of specially formulated globules (you’re supposed to take one of these Beauty Pearls per day). Altogether the Inex line-up offers five cosmetic products and three types of globules, so they have an 8-sku portfolio altogether.
The cosmetics line-up features the afore-mentioned three creams – Deep Moisturize Cream, Deep Defence Cream and Deep Anti-Age Cream – as well as Deep Moisturize Elixir (a liquidy serum) and the rinse-off Deep Moisturize & Anti-Ageing Mask. Then there are the three different Beauty Pearls – Moisturize, Defence and Anti-Age to match the respective creams.
At the moment the Inex products are only available through the brand’s own webshop, but the company is hoping to expand its international presence. I also saw that one of Inex‘ products was entered in the Cosmoprof Awards that’ll take place during Cosmoprof Bologna trade show next month so – we’ll see!
URANG NATURAL (Korea)
If you read my blog regularly you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Korean organic beauty brand Urang Natural. I first met Urang and its founder Jina Lee at Cosmobeauty Seoul 2017 and then at subsequent trade shows – Cosmetokyo 2018, Cosmobeauty Seoul 2018, Cosmoprof Bologna 2018, Cosmoprof Asia 2018, Cosmetokyo 2019 and now, fot their first German appearance, at Vivaness 2019.
At Vivaness the company presented its brand-new Clarifying Blue Mask (see pic below) as well as its already existing bestsellers, such as the Brightening Blue Oil. I’ve been using Urang’s products – well, ever since I first came across the brand – and my absolute favourites are the Blue Oil and the True Rose Essence which is an AMAZING serum-gel with a heavenly rose fragrance.
In fact, all of Urang’s products smell great; their Everlasting Pink Ampoule (which I also have at home) is based on immortelle water (helychrisum italicum; other common plant names for this yellow-blooming Mediterranean plant include strawflower, curry plant and, indeed, Everlasting) and has that distinct immortelle scent – not everyone’s cup of tea but I myself like it. My point is: the Urang products always smell like their key ingredients.
Anyway, Vivaness 2019 was Urang’s Germany debut and as far as I know they have already found a German distributor – yay! And congratulations! In Korea the brand’s products are pretty widely available in various Seoul duty free malls (their website has a list of stores; the latest addition is the Glowpick zone in one of Seoul’s Chicor perfumeries) as well as various online retailers, including Ohlolly in the US. The brand also has a limited distribution in Italy and Japan and speaking of Italy, Urang will also exhibit at Cosmoprof Bologna next month, and in the Green Prime Zone at Cosmoprime, no less. I look forward to seeing them there!
And speaking of Cosmoprof Bologna, that is also where I first met French indie brand C.Lavie, at Cosmoprof Bologna 2017. The next year the Occitanie-based beauty brand (its headquarters are located near Narbonne) exhibited at Vivaness 2018 and then returned this year – and I am very glad to see them again.
And to check out the new products launches, which include the body oil you can see in the pic above. Sublime de vie L’Huile Satinée is is based on dried plum kernel oil – hence the lovely marzipan smell – shiso (perilla) oil and apricot oil and it’s a classic dry oil; i.e silky and somehow very non-sticky. The L’Huile Satinée will be officially launched next month and you can check it out in more detail on the brand’s website. Which also lists the official stockists.
BEYER’S OIL (Germany)
And now for something completely different (to quote the immortal Pythons): Beyer’s Oil is a men’s artisan shaving brand which was launched in 2015 by Fabian Beyer – you can see his likeness on the product packaging! – while he was on paternity leave.
Fabian’s brand is based in Bavaria (Southern Germany) and the entire 6-sku range is hand-made right there, with regionally-sourced ingredients and in cooperation with local companies. The line-up offers a Beard Oil, a Hair & Beard Pomade, a Beard Balm, a Shampoo, a Bar Soap and a Beard Brush; all of the products are scented with the same fragrance blend – natural vervaine.
Beyer’s Oil has already managed a very respectable distribution in Germany; the products are available through selected barber shop, online men’s grooming stores, selected offline stores (like Manufactum) and, of course, through their own webshop. However, Fabian is now looking to expand his brand outside of Germany; hence his presence at Vivaness. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
I also liked the products of BeOnMe, a face and body care range from Italy – or South Tyrol rather which is a German-speaking region in the North of Italy. When I was a kid my family used to go there during summer holidays and I adored it. Haven’t been back since but I still love anything to do with South Tyrol.
So, BeOnMe. The Ecocert-certified range was launched in 2018 and its 29 sku of vegan skin and body care products are divided into three ranges: Tattoo, Sport and Beauty. Tattoo is, well, skin care for tattooed and/or pierced skin (the range offers a saline solution for pierced body parts as well as a tattoo moisturiser, a special sun protection cream and a professional product for tattoo salons – there are 5 sku altogether). Sport offers a massage gel, a refreshing body gel moisturiser and an „anti-friction“ cream that can be used to prevent chafing or other inflammations caused by fabric rubbing on skin.
Since I neither have tattoos nor do I do sports I focused on the Beauty part of the portfolio: 11 sku of face, body and hair care. There’ll be two new cleansing products soon and then a brand-new anti-ageing face care range which will follow this summer.
All products are manufactured in Trentino-South Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige in Italian) with local spring water and as many regionally sourced ingredients as possible. The brand’s products are already pretty widely available in Germany (mostly online, through Ecco Verde, for example), in Italy of course but also Austria and even the UK (through LoveLula).
Minsk-based beauty brand Sativa was at Vivaness for the second time this year but it was the first time they had a Breeze booth.
Now, Sativa was one of the most interesting brands I met at last year’s trade show. The brand’s founders Svetlana Mikhayluk (a biochemist) and Victor Gaponenko specialise in probiotic biomimetic skin care – that is, skin care formulations that are designed to work with the skin’s natural biochemistry and physiological structure. That way, the skin can absorb the active ingredients that are contained in the cosmetics more thoroughly and utilise the nutrients more efficiently.
The ingredients and product formulations in Sativa’s extensive line-up (the brand was launched in 2014 and there are 40-odd products which are divided into five ranges) are selected so they protect and nourish the skin’s microflora – hello, microbiome skin care! – and boost the growth of healthy bacteria.
At Vivaness 2019 the brand presented a new 5-sku sun protection range (see pic above): two tinted sun protection creams with SPF15, two sun protection creams with SPF30 and one SPF60 body sun cream.
From what I remember Sativa has a pretty solid distribution in Belarus and Eastern Europe but, so far, they’re not in Germany or any of its neighbouring countries. But perhaps this Vivaness’ll change that – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sativa will continue to flourish.
BEAUTY BRANDS FROM ASIA
Now follow me into the main body of Hall 7A. I divided the brands that I mention very roughly by geographic region. First up: Asia!
Naveen is one of my favourite Taiwanese brands and it was also the first Taiwanese organic beauty brand that I ever met. Appropriately enough it was during my first visit to Taiwan’s capital city Taipei in November 2014 – I happened to walk past Taipei’s exhibition centre and noticed a banner for the (now sadly discontinued) Asia Organic & LOHAS Expo trade show.
I basically walked in off the street, bought a ticket and then proceeded to check out the natural foods, tea and accessories exhibitors in the trade show hall. Naveen’s manufacturer Evergoods was one of the few beauty exhibitors at the show and I was particularly interested when I saw the Soil Association logo at their booth!
And indeed, Evergoods was (and, as far as I know, still is) the only Cosmos Organic-certified C&T manufacturer in Taiwan. Karen’s entire production facility near Taipei City is certified organic – Evergoods does a lot of own label manufacturing – and Naveen is the company‘s main international organic beauty brand. Evergoods also has an organic product range which is only available in Taiwan (it’s also certified by Soil Association, of course) while the Naveen range also carries a Halal certification (Naveen’s quite popular in South East Asia).
I’ve written about Naveen several times in various trade show reviews – check out my Vivaness articles from the last few years (the links are in the first paragraph of this article) – or, most recently, Cosmetokyo 2019. At Vivaness 2019, Karen presented several new Naveen launches which I’d already seen at Cosmetokyo trade show just a week earlier – like the Microbiome Collection of two face serums packed with fermented plant extracts – and a new 3D Lifting sheet mask (see pic above). I do like these sheet masks with their ear and neck handles ; )
The brand also introduced two mineral sun protection creams formulated with SPF50++: one is lightly tinted, the other one is untinted. I tried out the tinted sun cream on my hand and liked the texture: surprisingly light for a mineral sun cream.
INNA ORGANIC (Taiwan)
Let’s stay in Taiwan a bit longer: Inna Organic is another Taiwanese beauty brand, albeit much more niche-y than Naveen. Last October I came across Inna on instagram and contacted them via DM to find out if they had any retail stores in Taipei (which I was going to visit a few weeks later).
I tracked down Inna at the Xinyi Eslite and checked out the brand’s product line-up: the 5-sku Frankincense range (sheet mask, toner lotion, face & eye cream, face oil) and the 2-sku Myrrh line (two sheet masks). There are also two face serums, a cleansing gel and a moisturising body lotion. I bought one of the Myrrh masks and liked it a lot, so I was looking forward to seeing the brand at Vivaness 2019.
It was Inna Organic’s first time at the trade show and it was nice to meet brand’s founder Cecily Pan – we’d only had contact via e-mail previously. Cecily showed me Inna’s newest product launch: the fragrance-free Green Tea Rose sheet mask which you can see in the picture above.
ARTQ ORGANICS (Japan)
Now this was an interesting discovery: Artq Organics is a certified organic C&T manufacturer from Hokkaido in Northern Japan. The company has a number of beauty brands – Artq Organic (see pic below) is their domestic range: the 13-sku product range of face and body care is sold only in Japan (mostly through hospitals, but also in selected online and offline retailers).
I tried out several products and as you’d expect from an Asian beauty brand the textures are great. The ingredients look good, too; I really have to see if I can track down some Artq products next time I’m in Tokyo. Artq Organics‘ second domestic range is called Cuddle Baby – children’s and baby care – and the company also manufactures an aromatherapy range of essential oils.
Finally, there is Atelier Organic, a range product line which was launched in November 2018 specifically for the international markets. Formulated with typically Japanese ingredients (this geographic angle is clearly reflected by pack design and product names!) the 3-sku range includes the Japanese Sake Wash, the Japanese Sake Toner and the Japanese Matcha Balm.
This range isn’t on the market yet but I’ll definitely keep an eye on the company – I wonder if they’ll be at Cosmoprof Bologna next month?
And here is another nice Korean brand: Chobs whom I first met at last year’s Cosmetokyo (I think). I definitely remember that I was given their Centella Serum to try out and it’s really good (sadly I finished it rather quickly).
Anyway, Chobs also atttended last year’s Vivaness and this year they returned with the new 5-sku children’s care range you can see in the pics below (the packaging’s so cute!) and there’s also been a new face care launch: Aloe Vera Peeling Lotion is a liquid – well, serum-like product – based on water, aloe vera juice, aloe vera leaf extract, lemon leaf extract, almond and jojoba oils. Plus more herbal extracts. It looks pretty interesting.
I heard that the brand has now found a German distributor (as has another Korean brand I know and love, by the way: Sandawha is going to be distributed by the company behind Korean-German brand Binu Beauty. Yay!)
I first came across Znya and its founder Pon at Cosmoprof Asia 2014 and ever since then we’ve been meeting up at Vivaness and other international trade shows. It’s always so much fun to catch up with Pon and I do enjoy seeing her brand expand internationally. If you want to read more about Znya, check my previous Vivaness trade show articles! Over the past few years Pon has launched some very cool organic beauty products which are always based on traditional Thai beauty rituals and ingredients.
At Vivaness 2019 Znya didn’t have any new product launches but I was very interested to hear that the company has moved into the amenities business. Znya Organic is now manufacturing certified organic cosmetics for hotel rooms; they’re supplying a number of eco and niche hotels in Thailand with their beauty products (see pic below).
There is also a new range of aromatherapy essential oil blends (see pic above) with matching room fragrance diffuser sticks – and I was told that some of these new room fragrances are now scenting the Emirates Airline lounge at Bangkok’s main international airport!
EASTERN EUROPE & THE BALTICS
Bulgarian lavender brand Ayan was one of my favourite Vivaness discoveries from last year. Founder Yana owns a lavender field near Sofia on which she grows and harvests four types of lavender. She uses the lavender in her own range of organic beauty products but also supplies a range of domestic and international beauty manufacturers with lavender essential oil and other lavender products.
At this year’s trade show Yana presented a whole range of new launches in the Ayan brand: a new foam cleanser, a moisturiser, a new baby care range (see pic above) and the anti-ageing range Ageless Drops which offers an oil face serum (based on black cumin seed oil) and an eye contouring serum.
I do love Ayan’s products: one of my favourites is the Multi Lavender Butter, a blend of shea butter, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil and beeswax, plus tocopherol and lavender essential oil. The creamy/buttery moisturiser is packaged in a flat aluminium jar and it’s actually sitting on the table next to me as I’m writing this.
WOODEN SPOON (Bulgaria)
Fellow Bulgarian brand Wooden Spoon (in a communal booth with Ayan and another interesting Bulgarian brand, Rumi Ilieva) also had a whole bunch of new products on show. First off, the three pretty looking Herbalise lip glosses which have actual flower petals suspended in the clear gloss liquids.
The brand has also expanded its range of oil serums with an immortelle variant and a special serum for problem/impure skin. There are also two new balms – one is a hand balm, the other is for problem skin – and a water-resistant sunscreen stick formulated with SPF45+ which is suitable for adults and children.
I have just gone through my previous Vivaness articles since I couldn’t remember when it was exactly that I first met Wooden Spoon (yes, I frequently use my own trade show articles as a research resource!) and saw that it was at Vivaness 2016.
Ok, here‘s a bit of background about the brand: Wooden Spoon was launched in late 2014 by Silvyia Pavlova and they started off with around a dozen sku of oil blends and plant oil butters.
Wow, the brand’s product line-up has really expanded over the last three years! In 2017 Silvya first introduced shampoos and conditioners and last year the focus was on the Super Seeds serum range. For more info check my Vivaness 2016, Vivaness 2017 or Vivaness 2018 articles.
YOU & OIL (Lithuania)
Lithuanian brand You & Oil was also one my Vivaness 2016 discoveries. Launched in 2013, You & Oil specialises in, well, oil-based skin care. The company started off with a line-up of 20-odd face and body oil blends (including a men’s care oil range which was pretty innovative back then) and over the next few years the portfolio was extended with aromatherapy-based treatment oils and – this year – with some really unusual and very cool products.
First up: the 9-sku Beauty Shots range of ampoules (as they’d call them in Asia) which are liquid actives (flavonoids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, collagen and so on) that can be blended with moisturisers or creams to enhance their skin care properties. The customisation/personalisation trend in action. I must say that this is the first time that I’ve seen an organic beauty brand offering such a stylish-looking and functional range of ampoules/boosters.
The packaging is very unlike You & Oil’s usual pack design – which brings me to the next two launches: two toothpastes (!) packaged in stylish aluminium squeeze tubes and a 7-sku range of CBD salves (see pic above) formulated with 5% CBD oil.
You & Oil has become very successful since they first appeared at Vivaness – check out their website for a list of their retailers. The brand also has a solid distribution in Asia (for example, in Japan their products are listed in Biople/Cosmekitchen stores).
All of a sudden CBD and hemp-influenced skin care is a massive trend on the international beauty scene and everyone seems to be doing hemp beauty, but look at Hemptouch from Slovenia – they’ve been developing and selling hemp-based skin care since 2016 and I’m willing to bet that they were one of the first European naturals brands to do so. I first met the brand’s founders Silvija Spehar and Marko Sladic at Cosmoprof Bologna 2017 in the Cosmoprime hall.
Hemptouch is based in Novo Mesto (in the South East of Slovenia) and I seem to remember that they’d been launched a year or so previously. The hemp that is used in Hemptouch’s products comes from the company’s own hemp fields and the product range includes skin care moisturisers and balms formulated with hemp oil as well as a range of CBD drops with different percentages of cannabidiol.
At Vivaness 2019, Hemptouch proudly showed off their relaunched pack design – the range really looks much more stylish now – and there were also a number of new launches, including a body care balm and a range of oral CBD sprays.
NATURA SIBERICA (Russia)
Ok, yes, I know: Russia isn’t Eastern Europe but I never know where to place Natural Siberica in a Vivaness trade show report – they are usually the only Russian beauty brand from the natural sector. And considering that Russia in its previous incarnation [as the Soviet Union] exerted a rather big influence on all of the countries mentioned in this section of the trade show – it sort of fits, in a very twisted kind of way.
I see Natura Siberica at almost every trade show that I go to. The Natura Siberica group is massive – according to a 2018 BBC article the company‘s annual turnover is located somewhere the vicinity of 300m USD. Sold in 45 countries around the world; 300 brand shops in its home market, three factories in Russia, one in the Estonian capital of Tallinn; around 4,000 employees in total.
Fun fact: Natura Siberica’s Estonian subsidiary is called EurobioLab and they manufacture a range of other brands that you might have come across, depending on where you live: Natura Estonia, Oma Gertrude, Dr. Konopka, Organic Kitchen, Organic Shop and Planeta Organica.
The company was founded by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Trubnikov in 2008. He is quoted as saying that he wanted to diversify the Russian economy away from the energy sector and decided that the clean and unspoiled environment and forests of Siberia – a very remote geographic area which is located in between Russia and China – might make a good setting for a cosmetics brand.
Not just in terms of ingredients but also to help with brand marketing. Because “Made in Russia“ isn’t the most marketing-friendly claim if you want to sell in Europe, Trubnikov decided to emphasise the Siberian angle of his brand. Natura Siberica’s packaging design and the brand’s marketing strategy strongly communicate the Siberian heritage of ingredients and plant extracts.
Natura Siberica’s trade show booths are always beautifully decorated with images of the Siberian landscape (see pic above) and I’ve seen pictures of the company’s Fresh Spa by Natura Siberica salon in Moscow – the interior design definitely invokes Siberia: with landscape photo wallpaper, furs on the walls and lots of wooden elements.
All Natura Siberica products that I’ve seen so far have Eurobiolab as their production address – I guess to European and Asian consumers, “made in Estonia“ sounds better than “made in Russia“. However, I do know that the brand has a much larger product portfolio in its domestic market and I would imagine that those products are probably manufactured in the company’s Russian factories.
In recent years Natura Siberica has increasingly launched product ranges which are certified organic (or carry the Cosmos Natural seal at least – quick side note: there are two Cosmos certifications, Cosmos Organic is the „real“ organic seal, Cosmos Natural is, well, a bit less organic)
Anyway, Natura Siberica is a regular exhibitor at Vivaness and they always have a shed-load of new product launches at their booth. At Vivaness 2019 Natura Siberica presented the 14-sku Flora Siberica range of hair and body care. Each product contains a key Siberian plant extract – rhodiola rosea, iris, rowanberry or Siberian ginseng – and the packaging is quite attractive, I thought. The entire range is certified Cosmos Natural (usually Natural Siberica’s product formulations are natural inspired and „green“ rather than actually organic) and was launched in September 2018. The line-up includes shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, a body scrub and a body butter.
There are also two new men’s care products which are rather fun: Wolf Code is a 2-in1 cream for face and hands while The Mammoth is a Shaving Clay & Mask. Very macho-looking packaging but at the same time the reflective silver and golden accents add an ironic touch of metrosexuality (is that term still used today?!).
BEAUTY FROM WESTERN EUROPE
BEN & ANNA (Germany)
Ben & Anna is a charming little brand – well, they’re not so little anymore; the company’s baking soda deodorants are widely available online (at online store Ecco Verde, for example) and offline (most organic supermarket chains and independent organic food stores in Germany carry their products), in both Germany and the other German-speaking regions in Europe.
The brand was launched by Ben and Anna Schulz (yes, the Ben and Anna of the brand name) in 2016. They started out with 6-sku range of baking soda deodorant sticks – I have their Nordic Timber stick at home which has the most divine smell (woods, rosemary and some ylang ylang) and is about the only baking soda deo that I can use – and then branched out into hair removal sugar paste and now, brand new at Vivaness – oral care.
I must admit that I was staggered by the number of innovative and cool organic oral hygiene launches at this year’s Vivaness! The organic beauty market in Germany already has a very well-developed oral care sector (organic toothpastes and mouthwashes are available from most big mainstream brands – Lavera, for example, Logona; Alverde and Alterra (the own label brands of drugstore retailers DM and Rossmann) but there is not much choice if you’re looking for something beyond the same boring herbal flavours and pastes.
Ben & Anna’s new oral care range looks so stylish! There are three toothpastes (Black (charcoal), White (whitening) and Sensitive) which are packaged in – get this – glass jars (these come with a little spatula for hygienic reasons); two tooth powders (cinnamon-flavoured and bamboo charcoal) plus a liqud mouth wash which is based on aloe vera and sage extract.
I ought to mention that the traditional tooth cleaning format in Germany is the humble paste, packaged in tubes; and the favourite flavour is mint/spearmint. Tooth powders, toothpaste in jars, cinnamon flavours – all this is very exotic to the average German customer. I must admit that I myself also prefer mint-flavoured toothpaste (in many ways I‘m quite traditional!) but I think it’s great that the natural oral hygiene market is seeing such an influx of innovative new products.
And before I forget: Ben & Anna has also introduced three new deodorant sticks for sensitive skin (see pic above).
MLLE AGATHA (France)
I love snail cosmetics and while this specific ingredient still hasn’t found a market in Germany (and I’m not certain it’ll ever be more than a niche category), in France and Italy snail-based C&T is popular. And I do love me some organic snail beauty, like the products from Mlle Agatha.
I saw the brand two years ago at Vivaness where they had a very tiny booth and presented only a partial selection of their products. At this year’s trade show the Mlle Agatha booth was big and beautiful and you can see their entire product portfolio.
Amongst the new product launches is the Anti-Ageing Facial Serum which is based on 93% snail mucus. I was given a product sample and really like it – I thought it would be a clear gel but the serum is a blueish-white emulsion which feels feather-light on the skin and has a soft powdery-floral fragrance. The brand has also introduced a Rich Cream for Very Dry Skin with 50% snail secretion filtrate and four sun protection creams with SPF50 and SPF50++.
A couple of years ago traditional Swiss beauty brand Farfalla went through a complete and very thorough relaunch: new logo, new packaging and a complete overhaul of the product portfolio – many products were delisted, other ranges newly launched. However, the end result was spectacular and much admired at Vivaness 2018.
This year Farfalla 2.0 returned to the trade show with more new products, including the 4-sku antu-ageing Immortelle face care range (lifting cream, lifting fluid, regenerating serum and eye concentrate roll-on), the 2-sku Mimosa range for sensitive skin (soothing cream, detoxing serum) and, playing on the DIY/personalisation trend, the 4-sku Do It Yourself range (a skin and hair cleanser, liquid hand soap, room fragrance and body perfume) of unscented base products which can be customised with essential oils from the Farfalla range.
Niche beauty brand Elixr was founded in 2018. The company is from Freiburg in Southern Germany and offers oil three oil blends for oil-pulling (that’s when you put a spoonful of oil into your mouth and swish it around to release toxins; it‘s an ayurvedic health ritual).
The brand‘s oil-pull blends are based on jojoba oil and each is scented with a specific combination of essential oils: Energy is scented with orange, rosemary and ginger, Harmony with grapefruit and mint and Immunity with lemon and lemongrass. The company also offers three essential oils (lemon, orange and lavender) and a new 3-sku range of liquid handwashes will join the line-up in May/June.
AN EXCITING FUTURE
Ok, this article is already over 7000 words long so I think I’ll stop here – I really could continue for another 3000 words or so, believe me! This year’s Vivaness was so full of interesting brands and product launches; it really seems to get better every year.
Which reminds me: in 2020 Vivaness will change halls! The trade show will move from its traditional Hall 7A (where it has taken place since 2007) into Hall 3C, a much more central location. Hall 3C is also bigger than 7A (which is great because even us visitors could see that 7A was becoming much too small for Vivaness).
It’s also further away from the press centre (*sigh*) but you can’t have everything. Also, I read that Hall 3C was designed by the late, great Zaha Hadid’s architectural firm so it’s bound to be rather special. Can’t wait to see it!
Hope you enjoyed the article!
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