Freshly Cosmetics or how to bill 30 million selling vegan shampoos online
Freshly Cosmetics was born in February 2016 with the purpose of selling online cosmetics.It was a sector in which electronic commerce had not taken off, although many others had happened.Five years later, the brand has one million customers in Europe and China, just lifted $ 22 million in an investment round and has physical stores in Barcelona (since 2019), Madrid (2020), Valencia (2021) and sinceThis week also in London.
Among its secrets are an environmental respectful approach, with animals and with health, as well as the reduction of intermediaries in the logistics chain.And good dose of advertising on Instagram.Today, the brand continues in the hands of its co -founders, Mireia Trepat, Joan Miralles and Miquel Antolín.The latter serves El Independiente by telephone in the same week in which a study is published that aims for perfumery and cosmetics sales to still below the prepaandemics level, according to the DBK Sector Observatory of Informa.
Q.- How do 30 million euros be billed selling shampoos ... and in full pandemic?
With a very directed approach to people.Since we started in 2016, we realized that for an audience like us, that we were 24 years old, there was no cosmetics that went to a healthy lifestyle that was very present in social networks.At that time there was no brand of digital cosmetics, because there was the conception that cosmetics had to be tested.
Then we broke a little with all this by really very focused on this transition to a more natural and sustainable cosmetics, but also from a very scientific approach.We are chemical engineers and from the beginning we were very clear if we wanted people to use a more natural cosmetics had to work, to be effective, than to provide more results and more functionality than the cosmetics that existed.
Q.- It has not gone wrong.In 2020 you earned almost 3.5 million euros.
Yes, and now, more than 60% of our billing was recurring customers, and we have more than one million customers.It is something that in a consolidated brand can be, but in one that has been 5 years that practically does not exist in the market.When we started talking to Blossom [the fund with which they have just closed an investment of 22 million dollars] was something that saw very different from the startups there are.That has given us a very accelerated growth engine.
Q.- And how many millions of shampoos are 30 million billing?
Last year among all products we sold about 4 million products, including shampoos, cosmetics, everything ... The good thing about Freshly is that we are a brand that goes directly to the customer, we do not have intermediaries.Others have a very long distribution chain, they have to sell many more products to reach this level of billing, they have a wholesaler, a store ... All that affects the distribution chain.As we sell directly to the customer, 4 million products are many but it is not so much taking into account the high turnover.
Q.- Where do you manufacture?
All production is Spanish, most laboratories have them in Barcelona, and one in Madrid.We manufacture in Spain, practically all of the containers we use are local production.Therefore, now that there are supplies problems we are practically not noticing because practically everything is Spanish and some European supply.
Q.- You are a brand that takes care of the environment by flag.In the world of cosmetics, is it possible to live without plastics?
It will be possible, but right now it is not.We are working on R&D to get it.The most important thing is to be able to offer customers the filling of products, something that still does not exist [in the online trade of cosmetics].When you use a cosmetic container, you are sorry to throw it, because you know that it could last more than two months.Here you have an opportunity for the same container to serve you for 4, 5, 6 uses.
Right now in the freshly stores [the physical stores of the brand] it is done, but it is not implemented in the online.This is the first point and then there will be the development of new materials.But the important point that we must all understand is that there is no other option.The cosmetics is responsible for 20% of the single -use containers that are consumed, it is very much between 120,000 million tons of plastic per year.
There is no one to have the functional option does not want to use something more sustainable.The problem is that there are no offers.Refill is really something that can be a reality in two or three years, it is about to exploit and companies can make an effort at a general level.If a company like Freshly in less than one or two years launches, it will only be necessary for a couple or three more for the rest to adopt it to be functional.
Q.- You have become well known on Instagram.How much do you invert in advertising with influencers?
The prescription through Instagram has been a very important component of our strategy from the beginning, and we have had a lot of impact on this area.It is like the mouth to a lifetime, but in a professionalized way and through Instagram.At the beginning it was not so regulated and there was simply changing a product, right now the influencers have a remuneration for making these publications.
An important point is that they have to choose you, even if there is a remuneration from the brand to them, but in the end for philosophy and values they are interested: they prefer to share a brand that is consistent with healthy lifestyle trends to share another brandof a less booming sector.It is something that, unintentionally, has benefited us.Each time people are more aware and they have been interested in positioning our brand and values.
Q.- You talk that in your products you do not include any component that may negatively affect health.How do we harm us other products we use?
Most of the synthetic components used in cosmetics are approved and studied as insurance, but it is true that they are very superficial studies, which sometimes study the ingredients individually.In the case of the parabens, who are the best known, there are studies that say that you can put a maximum of 1% to be safe, and from that it is not allowed to use it.But if you use 10 products a day you get on your skin and each one has 1%, does that mean you are exceeding the percentage you should use?There are no studies on this, they are only individualized.
And more and more studies are coming out in which they clearly say that parabens and other ingredients have been shownWhy take a risk? If there is another natural substitute ingredient that does not have any controversy and can be put into the percentage you want, why not use it?
Q.- You usually talk about the great awareness that exists about the risks of an unhealthy diet, but the little in your sector.
Yes, it is a fashion that has come very strong to food and sport but not to cosmetics and although there are now many more informing how these controversial ingredients can have an impact on health.The bad thing is that there are still no studies that can study the effect in its entirety of all components of a cosmetic product throughout life, and is alarming, because we use cosmetics practically from zero years until we die.
We avoid practically all synthetic, in Freshly 90% of the ingredients are natural.It is important to try to avoid them so that there is no controversy we are using.And more and more important scientific rigor is more important, that if people are depositing their confidence in buying freshly products, which has a basis of scientific studies with which they understand why.We believe that will be the basis for people to dare more and more to buy online and have confidence in brands they buy.
Q.- You just opened a store in London.What will be your next international steps?
The first thing is to focus on consolidating the expansion in Europe, we are now present in Italy, France, Portugal, we have entered the United Kingdom and we lack a lot of work on it, and raise in which other countries may interest the Value proposal of Freshly.Now we have started selling through Crossborder to China, where there is also a lot of change to natural and sustainable cosmetics.It is the most polluting country in the world and is making a strong change of mentality.
There is mandatory the testing in animals, but thanks to the Crossborder model you can sell in China without doing so.What this model indicates is that Chinese customers are "coming to Spain" to buy, is something that Alibaba's marketplace allows you to do and thus with the same product we had here in Spain we can sell in China.
P-.And is it profitable to compete in such a wide market?
It is true that there is a lot of competition, it is a market that generates interest to any brand worldwide, but it is also a market where there is a lot of opportunity.Maybe in Spain you find a niche of half a million people and there of 100 million people.
Q.- Is your intention to continue selling mostly online?Opply to increase the physical channel?
We are seeing interesting to enhance multichannel and hybrid model.After the pandemic, interest in going outside and generating distinctive purchase experiences, and it is something that will persist over time.We see that online will continue to be the main channel, for people's convenience."Oh, I have finished freshly products," you go to web and in 24 hours you have them at home.But the physicist gives you something different, you walk, you find the store and maybe tests a new product that you did not have identified.It is a way to add new customers ... It is a combined strategy, there is no one without the other and it is not that we are going to focus on the physical leaving the online.The future is surely in balance, if you can offer both and a complementary strategy, it can be something very interesting.