The recent rise of body care explained, by this successful entrepreneur duo
We ask Charlotte Winther Nørlev and Didde Juul on lessons learned from the first year aiming to fill the white space on the market that is body care — with a twist.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
August 04, 2023
This rise of body care in the beauty segment is undeniable. In this week’s issue of our insights newsletter Beauty Innovation, Biotherm’s Global Brand President Gregory Benoit explained this growth with our will to pampering ourselves during the pandemic. A few years ago, Charlotte Winther Nørlev and Didde Juul were in the midst of a successful career as beauty buyers. Based on their experience, they noticed these rising numbers and took it as a clear sign to find out more.
— Back then, we had also seen trend reports and other signs that something was about to happen in the body area, says Winther Nørlev. As buyers, a big part of the job is to know what will be the next big thing. What will the consumers want? We needed to know it before they even knew it themselves. People were starting to do more pampering at home in their bathrooms — the wellness wave was just picking up again. We discussed with each other and all things and signs combined, we could see that this might be the next big thing that will happen, also using active ingredients from face products in the body care category. So, we started to search and scout for brands offering that, but we couldn’t really find any one that was embracing this active ingredient path that we saw coming.
— So, we thought that maybe we should make it ourselves. It started out as a joke but quite fast, we realised that we had the know-how and the network, we know the best labs, the best ingredients, and how to make a distribution strategy. We came up with this mission for people to treat their bodies just as well as they treat their faces. After all, the body area is 90% of your skin.
The timing to launch their brand Bodyologist, one and a half years ago, turned out to be perfect with more trend reports about body care coming and, later, articles about it in the US and everywhere.
— There’s a lot more talk about body care than we’ve ever seen before, says Winther Nørlev. Together, we have around 30 years of experience from the industry, and we truly believed that body care would sky rise at some point. It’s starting now.
— We can feel a huge interest. In a little bit over a year, we are now available in 17 countries. We had never imagined that when we started but I think that we were not the only one who saw this white space in the landscape. When we present it to buyers, they often say that yes, you are right — we don’t have anything similar to what you are presenting. But, watch out — more brands will come, definitely. When someone starts, then the others, and also the big ones, will follow. That’s always what happens.
The range carries body products focusing on well–established active ingredients such as Vitamin A, Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid.
— Proven is better than new, Juul summarises it.
What do you mean?
— There’s a lot of new ingredients popping up. But is it actually proven that it’s working? Can you claim what you want to claim on your products? So, we work with these ones — we know that they’re proven and we have a lot of documentation behind the ingredients.
But you also want to stand out as a brand and we now see many brands work with these similar ingredients.
— But not for the body. If you look at the total landscape, you will see a lot of body products with more moisture, fatty acids, and oils but not with active ingredients. That’s why we stand out.
What have you learned from switching side, from buyers to becoming entrepreneurs?
— Everything! says Winther Nørlev. Not the least a whole new respect for how much work the beauty brands are doing and how much they just serve to the buyers, who maybe not always appreciate it. Trade agreements, logistics, and such, we knew from before, while all the soft values, such as the identity and our brand DNA, requires so much more than we probably imagined.
— Just such a thing as our pictures, where we wanted to work with skilled photographers. God, how many hours can it take to take a picture? says Juul.
— But it’s also fun, being 40+ and you suddenly have this steep learning. It’s been many, many years since we’ve had this experience, Winther Nørlev adds.
Bodyologist has a close dialogue with the brand’s lab in Denmark, who’s working with several major skincare brands and are skilled in natural ingredients as well as sustainable packaging. Just the other week, the company also secured its B Corp certification.
— We made an active choice not to certify our products because it’s so expensive, and we wanted to put all our energy and money into the products, says Winther Nørlev. But saying that, when it comes to B Corp, we want to do the best we can. In order to do that, we need someone to push us. Being B Corp certified, you are forced to constantly improve and evolve and you are being audited every third year where you have to set certain goals. In order to evolve as a company and as a brand, we think that it’s mandatory. We are so new now, which makes it easier to adjust to all the demands, and we want to do it right from the start.
— And it’s also a ’360’ evaluation. It’s not just about the people, not the products, but the entire company and how we work, Juul adds.
”We are not just a cream — we are so much more”
Lastly, if we look at consumer behaviour. With your buyer background, and now as entrepreneurs, what’s your view on it?
— It’s funny because in the time of crisis, the beauty category traditionally hasn’t been that affected, says Winther Nørlev. You cut down on buying more clothes and shoes but want this little piece of luxury and buy a Chanel nail polish. We can feel that the consumers today really want to buy into brands with a purpose. They’re not just buying your product because it works or because they like it but buy into the whole company, asking about its mission and purpose. It’s very important for each and every brand that they find their own core. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? And they need to be strong in the communication about that towards the consumers.
— It could be just a simple thing like sending out a newsletter. Instead of just posting a lot of the products and what they do, maybe add some more value in terms of storytelling, advices, education, and interesting stories about persons. Sharing more than just products and create this universe. I hate the word ’community’ but to add value to the brand and your identity. For us, we are not just a cream. We are so much more.
— I can feel it for myself, as a consumer, that I want to know the ’why’. Why should I buy this brand? What do I get besides from this shirt or a pair of shoes? What is the story behind? In terms of transparency, the modern consumer of today wants to know where it’s produced. For us, we have nothing to hide, we put all our ingredients on our website, even preservatives and alcohol, explaining what they are and why they are in our products. Normally, you just pick out the hero ingredients to talk about. We talk about everything, Winther Nørlev concludes.
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Bodyologist is one of more than 20 exhibiting brands at the new Beauty section at CIFF in Copenhagen next week, where you can also meet us and leading minds in the Nordic beauty industry in a special panel talk.