Category Archives: Brand Profiles

Brand Profile: Andalou Naturals

As promised, here is the brand profile of Andalou Naturals. I discovered this fabulous organic beauty brand last week in the London Piccadilly outlet of US organic retail chain Whole Foods.

Wholefoods pics (12)

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OWN: The Spring 2016 edition of Organic & Wellness News is here

Yes, the new edition of OWN has just been published! And I’ve contributed several articles: a brand profile on Fair Squared (p. 16 in the print version, here is the pdf article) – an interesting company: Fair Squared’s products are organic, halal, fair trade AND vegan. The brand will be officially launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Vivaness next month.

There is also an overview of the current state of organic C&T legislation in Europe (p. 18 in print – pdf article) and two articles about one of the most interesting topics I’ve ever written about: entomophagy (edible insects!). Click here for a background piece on the edible insects industry and an interview with Dan Imrie-Situnayake, founder of edible insects farm consultancy Tiny Farms. (p. 22 in the print version). Or download the entire Spring issue here:

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Berlin Fashion Week: Catrice at Berliner Modesalon

Twice a year – in January and in June – Berlin is hosting the Fashion Week. And I actually got to attend three of the fashion shows thanks to the lovely people at Cosnova! Cosnova is the company behind two of Germany’s best-selling colour cosmetics brands, Essence and Catrice. For several years Catrice has been a sponsor of the Berliner Modesalon, a special Fashion Week showcase for young German design labels.

The brand’s makeup artists create the makeup look for each of the Modesalon fashion shows and the models are then made up with Catrice products. I attended three shows – Nobi Talai and René Storck on Tuesday and Marina Hoermanseder on Thursday. After the Hoermanseder show I had the chance to chat with Catrice’s chief makeup artist, Loni Baur.

Modesalon_Jan 2016_Backstage (7)

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Triangle: Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick (Su:m37), Sea Salt Perfect Cleanser 40% (Innisfree), Pure Propolis Washable Cleansing Oil (LaCell)

First of all, this is not a product review or comparison. It is more of a presentation – three interesting products from different brands, taken from the same product category. In this case: face cleansing. All three brands are from Korea.

So, let’s dive right in! What we have here is a solid cleanser based on coconut oil and glycerin (Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick), a creamy white  foam based on sea water and sea salt granules (Sea Salt Perfect Cleanser 40%) and a cleansing oil whose key ingredient, besides deep sea water, is Epidermal Growth Factor cell activator (Pure Propolis Washable Cleansing Oil).

The three brands are equally different: Su:m37 is from the luxury sector, Innisfree is a mass market brand with a very wide distribution and LaCell is firmly rooted in the niche/online retail channel.


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CBM Magazine: Retail Focus articles from 2015

Here is some more reading material! My editorial projects also include the monthly Retail Focus series that I write for HPCi Media’s CBM Magazine. These are short one-page company profiles of interesting C&T retailers. The Retail Focus articles cover the big international chains but we also feature smaller or regional beauty companies: different countries and distribution channels, tiny chains and large retail empires, online stores and bricks & mortar perfumeries, specialist stores, drugstore retailers, department stores, pharmacies…when I am travelling I frequently come across interesting beauty stores and these often appear as Retail Focus articles in CBM Magazine a few months later.

And here is a list of 2015 articles: the year started with a company profile on French department store chain Monoprix. In February I wrote about Japanese beauty retailer @cosme, March it was was German drugstore chain Budnikowsky’s turn, and in April  we featured German drugstore retailer Müller. May: Paris-based niche perfumery Nose, June: Japanese organic beauty retailer Cosmekitchen, July: Hong Kong-based C&T giant AS Watson, (two pages actually since AS Watson has such an immense retail presence!) August: UK beauty and pharmacy retailer Boots, September: perfumery chain Sasa (also from Hong Kong), October: UK online salon booking company Wahanda, November: German beauty box subscription company Glossybox (two pages again: I interviewed Glossybox founder Charles von Abercron) and December: US drugstore chain CVS Pharmacy.

And the first half of 2016 will be equally interesting (and international!): we have profiles coming up about Korean drugstore chain Olive Young, US perfumery retailer Ulta, UK-based online men’s care store Mankind, drugstore chain Superdrug (also from the UK), Korean perfumery chain Belport, London’s Selfridge’s department store, Swiss supermarket retailer Coop, and in July it will be the turn of another Japanese drugstore chain, Sundrug.

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Brand Profile: Satamisaki Organics

I first came across Kyushu-based niche beauty brand Satamisaki Organics in Japanese drugstore retailer Ainz & Tulpe’s Shinjuku East outlet this October (you can read my article about the company’s fabulous new Tokyo flagship store here!). Ainz & Tulpe has a special section on the first floor that is dedicated to local beauty brands from across Japan.

Ainz & Tulpe Flagship Shinjuku (54)

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Retail notes from Taipei: [Store Profile] MasKingdom Revisited!

I arrived in Taipei a few days ago and one of my first visits was to MasKingdom’s flagship in the city’s trendy Ximen area. I had written about this unique Taiwanese face mask manufacturer last November during my first visit to Taipei – you can read the post here.

[EDIT 29/04/2017: Unfortunately the store has closed down. Thanks to nn for the info!]

I did notice that MasKingdom masks are now appearing in a number of Asian online shops so it looks like the brand is doing very well.  When I visited the store I was yet again struck by the beauty of MasKingdom’s Taiwanese Aboriginal mask series – probably the brand’s best-known range – and decided to buy a mask set.

Maskingdom (1)

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Retail notes from Tokyo: [Store Profile] Ainz & Tulpe Shinjuku

I arrived in Tokyo a couple of days ago and it’s lovely to be back! It’s also turning into a busy week again: Tokyo Design Week starts in a few days – look out for a show review soon! – and I’ve already started to check out my favourite beauty stores to see what’s been happening in the last six months.

My friend Julia from organic blog Beautyjagd is also in Tokyo at the moment and she suggested we visit the new Ainz & Tulpe drugstore across from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station. Which is what we did – and what a fabulous store it turned out to be!

During my last visit in Tokyo I had checked out a couple of smaller Ainz & Tulpe outlets in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Yes, I did notice the difference  to the traditional Japanese drugstore retailers like Sun Drug, Matsumoto Kiyoshi etc. – Ainz & Tulpe stores are much more stylish with good product presentation and a modern store layout – but other than that the chain didn’t leave a lasting impression.

However, the chain’s new Shinjuku store is in a different league altogether. It was opened in July 2015 and is quite spectacular – three floors with a total retail space of 1,290 sq m. Located opposite the East Exit of Shinjuku station, close to Lumine Est department store, Ainz & Tulpe’s new Tokyo flagship offers a fabulous selection of Japanese and international beauty brands, gadgets, fragrances and something that I’ve only seen at Tokyu Hands so far: regional cosmetics from Japan. Click on the link below for a pictorial tour of the store and more info on the Ainz & Tulpe chain.

Ainz & Tulpe (4)

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Retail notes from Seoul: [Store Profile] Belport [now A.G.B.)

[EDIT: 6/5/2017 – the Belport chain is now called A.G.B. (Art Goût Beauté). The flagship on Garosu-gil has also changed its name to A.G.B. The ground floor of the store still has a Jo Malone shop-in-shop but makeup brands have gone, instead there is what appears to be a MAC shop-in-shop. The spa in the basement is still there; the first floor was unfortunately closed for renovation. I think the brand portfolio might have been adjusted too, so the information in this store profile is probably no longer correct. I’m not sure why Belport reinvented itself; if anyone can shed any light on this I’d be grateful!]

[EDIT: 7/5/2019 – A.G.B. has now also gone from its location on Garosu-gil – the store name has disappeared and although there is still a shop in Belport/A.G.B.’s former retail space it’s not a perfumery any more. Which means that this store profile is now completely obsolete! Or an interesting historical document, take your pick : )]

A few days ago I visited Korean perfumery chain Belport’s flagship store in Seoul’s trendy Garosu-gil street. Garosu-gil in Sinsa neighbourhood is known for its designer boutiques, uber-stylish cafés and concept stores.

It is also one of the latest hotspots for beauty in Seoul: over the last five years or so a number of Asian and Western beauty brands have opened stores there, including Melvita from France, Kiehl’s from the US, Lush and Neil’s Yard Remedies from the UK and premium Korean brands Su:m37 and The History of Whoo.

Domestic beauty chains The Face Shop, Banila, VDL, Clio and Skin Food have also opened outlets along Garosu-gil, and there are several drugstore retailers including Olive Young, Watson and LOHBS. And exactly one year ago, Belport opened its very first store on this street.

Belport Sinsa (1)

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Le Cinéma Olfactif at Soho House Berlin: Scented cinema

Yesterday night I attended a screening of Le Cinéma Olfactif in Berlin’s Soho House. Cinéma Olfactif is a fascinating concept: enhancing a visual experience through an olfactory sensation; in this case we were watching a film – Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides – whilst a fragrance created especially for this movie was diffused into the audience space at the appropriate moments.

I had read about the Cinéma Olfactif series but this was the first time I actually attended a performance. Cinéma Olfactif is the creation of perfumer Kaya Sorhaindo whose art house perfumery Folie à Plusieurs is developing fragrance concepts for films, exhibitions, performances and events.


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