Big companies are no longer afraid to take their brands right to consumers, bypassing traditional distribution channels. While it’s pretty rare for big beauty companies to launch brands direct-to-consumer, Henkel is doubling down on its D2C strategy. Henkel recently signed a deal with Berlin-based Invincible Brands Holding to acquire a 75% stake in a business comprised of three fast-growing DTC brands: HelloBody, Banana Beauty, and Mermaid + Me.
The brilliant minds behind Zotos Professional, a part of Henkels’ North American Beauty Care business unit, have launched Better Natured, a prestige brand with naturally derived formulations that are stylist-developed and tested in a CertifiedGreen Circle Salonto deliver professional-level performance direct to consumers.
After much consideration, the brand decided to move forward with the mid-March launch of 12 haircare and styling products followed by the launch of hair color in June. The coronavirus crisis has created windows of opportunity, and DIY beauty was one of them. As consumers became their own hairdressers, barbers, and colorists during the shutdown, Better Natured was perfectly positioned to serve consumers’ needs in that moment with products that deliver professional results.
Brand Development and Formulation Philosophy
“We talk to consumers about their hair every day,” said Jodi Cioffi, Senior Manager of Communications and Influencer Marketing at Zotos. “They tell us time and again of their interest in naturally-derived products, but also of their growing frustration with the lack of performance, inconsistent quality and misleading ingredient labeling of many natural products on the market.”
The products took four years to develop, with a mandate of efficacy first and formulations that were as natural as possible. The team followed ISO Global Standards and a belief that “clean” means products that have been rigorously tested for efficacy, are compliant with European and North American regulatory standards, and are free from 12 ingredient taboos: silicones, parabens, SLS/SLES sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate), petrolatum, mineral oil, phthalates, gluten, animal by-products, chemical sunscreens, microbeads, BPA, and formaldehyde-releasing agents.
“When our internal incubator team began creating the range, we wanted to ensure the products were as natural as possible without sacrificing performance. To do so, we started the formulation process using just a few active ingredients, and then pulled in the newest high-quality, naturally-derived options available on the market. Better Natured is about good, clean fun, and we want consumers to embrace the freedom of knowing that our clean formulas truly perform, so they can be as creative as they want,” says Better Natured Senior Research & Development Director Marina Azizova.
The brand’s vegan formulas contain 86-97% naturally derived ingredients and a triple-plant milk blend of Tahitian Palm, Orchid, and Coconut Milk. The synergistic blend of clean synthetics and natural ingredients deliver products with professional-level performance.
Better Natured was created by a small incubator group of stylists who saw this dilemma as an opportunity to change the conversation around natural products, creating a standard of professional performance and a new level of transparency around each ingredient used. Better Natured was created to be an exuberant, joyful, and awake brand that is the balance of good-for-you ingredients with serious professional-level performance.
Coinciding with the launch, the brand partnered with Celebrity Hairstylist Marcus Francis as the brand’s lead ambassador who said, “I love the ease and playful aesthetic of Better Natured. I’m able to use the products on my A-list clients to create beautiful red carpet looks while being confident that anyone watching at home can grab the same products I’ve used and recreate the look. With Better Natured, you know you’re not only creating bold, fun looks but also maintaining healthy-looking hair.”
Packaging, Recycling, and Sustainability
Better Natured bottles are made with up to 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) PET plastic and are BPA (bisphenol A) free. The folding cartons for the hair color cartons are made with FSC-certified 100% recycled fiber and are 100% recyclable. The brand has made a commitment to make the packaging 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.
The brand’s recycling program includes a partnership with How2Recycle and Terracycle. The How2Recycle standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions is included on all packaging in an effort to ensure packaging makes it to a recycling plant and not a landfill. All non-recyclable packaging components such as tubes, caps, and sprayers can be sent to TerraCycle, who finds ways to recycle materials that can’t be recycled through normal streams. The brand incentivizes consumers to recycle—for every shipment of Better Natured packaging waste sent to TerraCycle, they earn points that can be donated to a nonprofit, school, or charitable organization of their choice.
The brand has also partnered with Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest community improvement program, to beautify areas through recycling programs, awarding grants, and executing a community mural project.
Better Natured controls the entire manufacturing process from start to finish in the Zotos-owned facility in Geneva, NY, a small town of only 13,200 residents where they are one of the top employers. It is a big factory with a small footprint claiming to be one of the industry’s greenest manufacturing plants, utilizing sustainable practices like wind-powered electricity, water usage, and waste reduction. The plant has the capability to generate up to 2,800,000 kilowatts of wind power each year.
Focused on the online consumer experience and personalization, Better Natured will be releasing virtual try-on technology and the ability to customize hair color in August.
And the Zotos professional group is not done; they’ll be unveiling another DTC brand concept later in the month.
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