by Elisabeth King
It also helps when the founder of the brand is literally ‘everywhere’. Miranda Kerr - supermodel, mother and beauty mogul - has millions of Twitter and Instagram followers and is one of the few faces who can represent brands as diverse as Louis Vuitton, Swarovski and Victoria’s Secret. She has been strutting the catwalks since she was 13, but Kerr’s eye was always focused on long-term success.
In 2009, she launched KORA Organics, her hugely popular skincare range currently available in 300 stores across Australia. Centred on Kerr’s belief in the connectivity between the mind, body and spirit to the ‘core’ self, KORA Organics also embodies her strong convictions about the benefits of organic products and sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Miranda really practices what she preaches and she is a product genius, says Richard Pietz, Director of Product and Sourcing for KORA Organics since January 2017. Formerly the Global Director of Product Development for Jurlique and based in Los Angeles, Pietz is regarded as a cosmetics industry visionary and is widely quoted in international mastheads such as Marie Claire and Vogue. With over 20 years’ experience across product development, ingredient research and brand marketing, he also has in-depth expertise in natural and organic technologies that sit within speciality and niche brands. My main job is to work with Miranda to re-imagine the KORA Organics brand, says Pietz. “After reaching out to contacts, Miranda approached me to help with the global expansion of the brand. Phase One of the project saw the launch of a four SKU range in 360 Sephora stores across the US in May (2017), with fourteen products to follow in September. A key point of difference for KORA Organics is the use of noni extract, a powerful antioxidant fruit from the South Pacific which has been part of Miranda’s lifestyle since her early teens”.
The edited range which debuted in Sephora was manufactured in the US and three of the products will be launched in Australia in July. We have revised some of the formulas and used superior delivery systems, says Pietz. “The range is very focused on wellness - inside and out - and emphasises KORA Organics as a true body and soul brand from Noni Glow Face Oil through Noni Glow Body Oil, Heart Chakra Aromatherapy Oil and Noni Glow Skinfood Dietary Supplement Powder”.
Pushing the dial is a default position for Pietz. “In the four years I worked with Jurlique, natural ingredient technology began to evolve dramatically. There’s a lot of greenwashing in the cosmetic industry, but KORA Organics formulas are certified organic. Up until last year, there were a number of certification bodies in Europe, including the Soil Association in the UK and Ecocert in France. Five of them collaborated to create a new Cosmetics Organic Standard known as COSMOS. Whether consumers live in Singapore, Australia or the US, the standard remains the same”.
To obtain COSMOS certification, products have to be at least 95 percent plant-based in origin, notes Pietz. “KORA Organics uses this new benchmark. The entire supply chain is assessed and all ingredients must meet strict criteria involving green chemistry technology. Consumers can rest assured that they are buying truly natural and organic products”. Significant leaps in formulation technology have pushed efficacy to the next level. Increasingly, consumers are also seeking out sustainable, environmentally-friendly packaging that’s also attractive and visually appealing, adds Pietz. “KORA Organics formerly used all-blue packaging, but we are re-packaging the 27 product lineup in a broader range of eye catching colours. As a prestige organic brand, we have also incorporated rose gold accents onto each product including the glass bottles.
Miranda’s approach to beauty involves her total lifestyle, so we will soon be releasing a hybrid lip treatment/tint and a noni glow luminizer. Her social media following will love the idea”.
KORA Organics products such as Rosehip Body Oil and Daily Hand Cream have won major beauty awards from Marie Claire and InStyle magazines. The brand sells locally and internationally through a dedicated website and the luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter.
But when you’re preparing to take on the world, a brand needs senior management who understand the implications of global strategy and have a helicopter view of distribution networks.
Brett Riddington took up the position of General Manager in March and needs no introduction to the local and international cosmetic industry. As Group Executive Marketing for David Jones, he led a team of 50 marketers across mass media, catalogues, promotions, publicity and ambassadors. From 2007 to 2011, Riddington filled the powerful role of General Manager Cosmetics for David Jones, heading a merchandise team of 17 buyers and planners in the department store chain’s largest profit contributing merchandising category. Other stellar executive positions have included General Manager Estée Lauder and Designer Fragrances and General Manager Clinique.
The benefits of Miranda’s vast social media following is an incredible advantage, says Riddington. “We will be strongly leveraging digital and social media to drive the global positioning of KORA Organics. Forty per cent of our current business is online and we have now re-designed the website in line with the new procust and imagery.
Our first major account in 2009 was David Jones and the brand is renewing our department store exclusivity across all the prestige retailer’s doors nationwide”. The David Jones team have keenly embraced the new generation of KORA Organics products and will be strengthening their in store and marketing support.
We need to review the balance of our distribution in Australia to ensure that we are in the right stores with the right merchandising and customer service, to strengthen our presence as a premium organic skincare brand. The Asian market is a prime focus for expansion due to Miranda’s high profile and success in the region says Riddington. “We are will be working with Tmall in China and sourcing store distribution in Hong Kong in the short term. KORA Organics also has gained interest from distributors in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia.
“Travel retail will be very important, especially for Chinese travelers, and we aim to have a strong presence in the channel. We also believe this will strengthen our brand awareness, presence and sales in the Australian market.”
Sephora and Mecca Cosmetica have both done amazing jobs with premium beauty and we are very interested in working with them to further strengthen their premium organic skincare offering”.
When creating a global brand, it’s critical to focus strongly on who you are and what you are selling. KORA Organics’ greatest strengths are Miranda’s commitment to making people more aware about the highest level of organic products, the importance of a superior sustainability profile and the best advantage of all - the products themselves, says Pietz. “Isn’t that wonderful. We love it”.