In an exclusive interview to CPP-LUXURY.COM, Joerg Demuth Founder and President of organic beauty brand Anika shares the story of his success but also invaluable insights into the future of the organic beauty industry.
1. What prompted you to set up an organic beauty brand business?
It began generations ago. My mother’s family is from Southern Germany where as a child, my Mother would walk the fields and forests with her Mother and Grandmother; just as her Grandmother did with her Mother and Grandmother. Each generation the knowledge was passed down this way and starting at a young age my Mother began learning the art of using native plants to make tinctures, teas, and healing potions for our family and the people of the village. Many of my childhood memories are similar; walking with my Mother and Grandmother learning in the same way they learned.
Over time, my Mother’s interest in the healing qualities of plants led her to the university. She wanted to learn more and to further understand, now, the scientific ways, but still about plants and their healing properties. She eventually became a master organic chemist. My Father is also a master chemist. With both parents being “Eco-Chemists; dinner discussions were interesting to say the least.”
One day, we were discussing the organic food industry; specifically that “organic” face and body care products were not very different from the mainstream petroleum products. During this talk, my mother explained to me that mixing natural plant substances with the chemical ingredients used in commercial skin care products destroys the positive properties of the plant substances. Doing so, she said, can also create compounds that have harmful effects on the skin.
That night, at dinner, I asked my mother if she thought it were possible to produce effective, genuinely organic skin care products without these chemicals. She said, “Yes, this is possible.” I then asked her, “Will you help me do this? She said yes! That was it!
Tell us more of your background.
I feel like there are three key areas of education and experience. The first being what I learned from my Mother and Grandmother. The second being raised by two Master Chemists with a passion for sustainable living. And the third my formal education at the University studying food technology. Anika is a combination of all three.
2. Which is your philosophy and approach in developing an organic beauty product?
Step One-the ingredients must genuinely be of the highest quality and organic! Please note, I said, genuinely the highest quality organic ingredients with no harmful ingredients or additives. There is a great degree of misleading information in the organic skin care industry. This is disappointing.
It took me many years and hundreds of thousands miles of travel; searching all over the world for to find which places on earth were the optimal locations for specific plants. Unfortunately, I soon then realized that although I was able to find the regions and the plants where incredible plants were grown, the harvesting, processing and transportation did not maintain the quality we required. This led me to begin setting up our own processing facilities, often designing equipment that would insure the quality of the ingredients; during processing. The last step was arranging proper transport.
Step Two-design formulas that are able to creating an experience of ultimate indulgence, while sensually soothing the body, mind, and soul
Not an simple design criteria without compromising our integrity standards!
3. Where do you source your ingredients?
We have no limitations where we source our ingredients. Each ingredient is sourced from the specific location that is optimally suited to
grow for the plants we use.
4. Many brands use the term organic. Is there an international certification model?
The answer is yes, however there has been an ongoing problem with standards in the “organic cosmetics” industry. The organization COSMOS, is now the leading international standards organization for certified organic skin care. Before COSMOS the standards were varied and confusing. One of the reasons I decided to be a driving force to create COSMOS was to resolve these problems and give spa owners, therapists and their clients a standard they could trust and understand.
5. Some argue the efficiency of organic ingredients based products. What is your view?
These type of statements are commercially brought forth in an attempt to weaken and discredit organic skin care companies. The opposite is actually true. When properly formulated, organic ingredients will give superior results. Anika products and treatments are being used every day of the year in spas around the world and our spa therapists or their clients report incredible experiences and results.
5. How would you define the DNA of your brand? Tell us more about the luxury positioning of your brand.
ANIKA is the only genuinely organic, luxury spa product and treatment brand in the world. Our products and treatments are totally unique, effective, and ultimately indulgent. Anika is an experience that is not so readily defined with words.
6. What is your company’s approach to retail versus Spa offerings?
We are fortunate to work with the world’s finest spas. The exclusivity of a spa is greatly damaged when the products they use are available in the retail environment.
7. Where is your brand currently present?
We are currently in spas in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
8. Tell us more about your development / expansion plans?
This has been a year of change for us. We decided to expand our offering to become more of a full spa services company. This step will enable us to be a spa group that can provide ongoing support to all areas of spa business.
We recently opened an office in Flensburg in Northern Germany that will house our Spa Design team. This summer we are moving our business offices to Baden Baden. It is a beautiful spa town with some of the world’s most exquisite and wonderful spas. Our new office in Miami will focus to bring Anika to South America, Canada and the US markets.
The Anika product development and production facilities will remain in southwestern Germany close to my family.
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