Category Archives: Brand Profiles

Retail notes from Tokyo: [Brand Profile]: Tokotowa Organics

Today I visited organic perfumery chain Cosmekitchen’s Naturopathy outlet in Shinjuku’s luxury Newoman department store to check out the aromatherapy fragrances of Japanese organic perfume brand Tokotowa Organics. I had met the founder of Tokotowa’s parent company Organic Styles at the Natural Cosmetics Conference 2017 in Berlin just last month – and of course I was immediately interested. A Japanese aromatherapy brand? Cool!

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Retail notes from Bucharest: [Store Profile] MioBio

I just returned from a few days in Bucharest. It was my second visit to the Romanian capital and we were so lucky with the weather this time: very warm, blue sky and sunshine. Beautiful! And perfect weather for sight-seeing.

Most of my time was spent sauntering around the area between Calea Victorei, Piata Romana, Bulevardul General Gheorghe Magheru and Piata Universitatii. I also visited the Museum of Art Collections and sampled the new cocktail menus of my two favourite Bucharest bars (Fixmad and Origo by Night – Origo is a café which turns into an experimental cocktail bar after 8pm!).

I also discovered the recently opened craft beer pub Fabrica de Bere Buna (and became a firm fan of Romanian craft brewery Hop Hooligans in the process!) and in between I actually got some work done (mostly in Ted’s Coffee Co in University Square which has excellent espresso and strong wifi).

Also on my must-do list of things for this visit to Bucharest: check out organic beauty store MioBio!

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Retail notes from Sofia: [Store Profile] Zoya

I just returned from a short city trip to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The city is absolutely worth a visit: a compact old town center which is perfect for walking around all day, with a wonderful hodge-podge of architectural styles (art nouveau/1930s/1950s and later). Most of the buildings are still very much in disrepair and/or graffitied/vandalised but enough houses have been renovated and restored that you can see the beauty of the cityscape.

My first visit to Sofia was in 2008 and back then the city looked a lot more – well, let’s say: unfinished! Today there is an almost palpable creative energy: new cafés and bars are opening in beautifully renovated historic buildings and small art galleries, fashion boutiques and maker/design stores are popping up everywhere.

And organic beauty/food retail chain Zoya is a perfect example of this new kind of urban development. The Bulgarian company’s first store was opened in 2009 which, presumably, makes Zoya one of Sofia’s organic retail pioneers. Today, Zoya operates three stores in Sofia as well as a flourishing online shop.

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Retail notes from Shanghai: [Brand Profile] Urtekram China / Yatikelan

The last stop on my recent Asia trip was Shanghai; China’s largest city (according to Wikipedia) and one of the country’s four so-called top tier cities. It was my first visit to Shanghai (and mainland China) and I loved it.

Granted, I only saw the (touristic) city centre – I was there for just four nights (on the 144 hour transit visa deal for EU citizens) and two of those days were spent at China Beauty Expo 2017 – but still: such a cool city!

It’s great for exploring on foot, has a fascinating cityscape, interesting buildings, stores and markets, and the food!!! And Shanghai has a fabulous bar scene, too – I wish I could have had an extra few nights to try out all the bars on my short list; thank you @asia.cocktails! – but at least I managed to visit Speak Low bar. An excellent night.

But this article isn’t about Shanghai’s tourist attractions, it is about an organic beauty brand which I discovered quite by accident in a Watsons drugstore on Nanjing East Road (Pedestrian street ). Even more surprising was the fact that I knew the brand – Urtekram is one of THE best-known and oldest Danish organic beauty brands and they have a wide European distribution. However, it seems that Urtekram (or “Yatikelan”) also has a product portfolio of around 100 sku designed specifically for the Chinese market. Exciting stuff!

Essences, toners, lotions, BB creams, CUSHION FOUNDATIONS, men’s care; face masks – these are Asian formats and textures. None of these product ranges are available anywhere in Europe (or in East Asia either; at least I haven’t seen these products in any of the beauty stores I’ve visited in Tokyo, Taipei or Hong Kong). The ranges aren’t listed on Urtekram International’s website either.

I tried to contact Urtekram China through their official Shanghai address but didn’t get a response. I can’t read a word of Mandarin, unfortunately, and Google Translate doesn’t work so well with non-Western scripts, but I did my best to dig up some info for y’all. Keep in mind that most of this info is based on assumptions, conclusions, inferences and some creative lateral thinking.  If anyone of you kind readers out there can confirm or correct the facts or has additional info about Urtekram China, please let me know and I’ll update the article accordingly.

I also took a whole bunch of photographs (I think I spent almost an hour sitting in front of the product display; the sales assistants were starting to give me distinctly nervous glances) and I bought two of the hydrating toners which are SUPERB! Loving the textures.

Anyway, this is probably the longest teaser paragraph I’ve ever written for a trend-traveller article, so click on the link below for more info and pictures!

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Retail notes from Bucharest: [Brand Profile] Prisaca Transilvania / Sabio Cosmetics

I recently visited the Romanian capital Bucharest for the first time and really liked the city. Amazing city architecture – a very cool mixture of modern Communist-style buildings, Bauhaus and Art Nouveau; in the city center many buildings are renovated, others look like they are about to crumble into pieces any minute now.

Bucharest also has tree-lined wide boulevards, art museums, many green spaces, bakeries everywhere; antiquarian book stores and cafés…and there are some FABULOUS bars, especially Fix MAD Bar and the Origo Café  in Strada Lipscani which turns into a cocktail bar at night (check out their drinks on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/y74xkhjs / https://tinyurl.com/y9vgat5rhttps://tinyurl.com/y88ek4re). And don’t even get me started on the Romanian food…..*happy sigh*…..

But this article really is about two rather cool organic beauty brands from Romania, Prisaca Transilvania and Sabio Cosmetics. Both were completely new to me – then again, I don’t know much about the Romanian C&T market, let alone the domestic organic beauty industry. I came across Prisaca Transilvania in one of the Bucharest outlets of German drugstore chain DM. Sabio Cosmetics, on the other hand, I discovered right here in Berlin, in the recently opened Pravalia Romanian Delights store in Neukölln neighbourhood.

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Retail notes from Seoul: [Brand Profile] Yuri Pibu – organic beauty from Korea

While I was in Seoul I had the opportunity to visit the marketing office of organic Korean beauty brand Yuri Pibu. Yay! I should explain that so far I had only read about Yuri Pibu’s iconic beauty products (like the famous parsley toner and artichoke serum) on various  K-beauty blogs and forums.

Yuri Pibu is not retailed in Europe (yet!); in Korea the brand is sold online only and Google Translate wasn’t particularly helpful with the Korean-language website. Basically, I was intensely curious about the brand and although I’m really good at online research I was getting nowhere with Yuri Pibu.

So I was very excited when EGT Korea, the company behind Yuri Pibu, invited me to visit their office and check out the products myself. I also asked them a bunch of question about the brand, the products and Yuri Pibu’s further expansion plans. Click on the link below to read more!

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[Brand Profile]: Jath from ENS Korea/Jallon

And here – as promised – is the brand profile about Jath, the new organic beauty brand from Korean natural products manufacturer Jallon. I had met Jallon at Cosmoprof Asia 2016 back in November; the company has recently taken over the marketing for my all-time favourite beauty brand Whamisa. At the trade show, Jallon presented two new organic brands: Nature Belle (you can read my article about Nature Belle here) and Jath.

Jath is a premium anti-ageing face care range which was launched in the summer of 2016. Like its sister brands Whamisa and Nature Belle, Jath is manufactured by ENS Korea, certified organic by German association BDIH (Cosmos) and the entire range is completely water-free: the first ingredient in all five products is aloe vera leaf water.

The Jath line-up includes an eye cream, a face cream and three serums/elixirs which are packaged in glass bottles and jars; the outer packaging is made from stiff cardboard. All products have been scented with a similar blend of essential oils (rosewood, bergamot, geranium and lemongrass) and the fragrance is rather invigorating: zesty citrus notes, aromatic herbals and spicy wood accords.

jath-4

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