Germany: Birkenstock Launches Natural Personal Care Range

The German footwear brand Birkenstock has launched a new natural personal care range based on the cork oak extract.

The idea behind the 28-piece Birkenstock Natural Care line is one close to the company’s soul, or more accurately, its sole. Best known for its chunky cork footbed sandals, the company has been working with the natural material cork oak for more than 240 years, Birkenstock chief executive officer Oliver Reichert explained.

“While we were doing our research regarding a healthy product concept in the skin-care segment, we realized that scientists in the cosmetics industry had discovered the highly effective anti-aging effect of suberin, a remarkable substance which is contained in cork oak extract,” said Reichert.

“That’s how the whole project started. We then took our time in terms of developing the whole natural cosmetics range, with product quality coming first at all times with a team of experienced experts.”

The Birkenstock Group created a special cosmetics division, Birkenstock Cosmetics, to develop and produce the products, which are all made in Germany.

In addition to suberin, which is said to have a lifting effect, other active ingredients in Birkenstock Natural Care products — which run from lip balm to shower gel to anti-aging night cream — include arctic moss, argan oil, baobab, moringa, elderberry and botanical hyaluronic acid.

Products are divided into five treatment directions. Naturally Fresh Cleanse offers body, skin and hair cleansers, as well as an enzymatic peel. Naturally Ageless Repair moisturizes faces, hands and bodies. Naturally Pure Prevent is hyaluron-infused face, lip and body care.

Three products are aimed at men (Natural Man Refresh), a sector in which, said the company, there is increasing international demand for natural cosmetics. Fittingly, a three-stock keeping unit foot-care range rounds out the line.

Thirteen items in the assortment feature refill systems, and all have cork integrated into the packaging. The products are free of synthetics, parabens, paraffin, and silicone, and are certified by BDiH Cosmos Natural.

Birkenstock Natural Care products will retail for EUR 16 to 60 (USD 17 to USD 74), positioned in the prestige segment. The line is expected to come to market this fall, with the sales focus on the USA and Asia. Distribution strategies are still being finalized, the company said; the products will also be sold at Birkenstock retail and online stores.

“We want to see our products in an environment where there is a high cosmetic competence expressed by a knowledgeable cosmetics sales staff in store,”  said Reichert.

It’s early days yet, but the outlook is optimistic; the company aims to exceed the 100 million euros ($106 million at current exchange) sales mark by the end of 2020, three years after the natural care line’s launch.

Ecovia Comment
The German company launched its Birkenstock Natural Care range at the Vivaness trade show in Nuremberg (Feb 2017). It is one of many new new entrants looking to get a ‘foothold’ in the natural personal care industry. It appears to be hinging the success on the distribution network for its footwear products. The question is, can Birkenstock leverage its brand success into the natural skincare category? Time will tell.

Related report: The German Market for Natural Personal Care Products

Source: WWD / Ecovia (07/03)