Run by Boots veterans Ann Francke and Barry King, who moved to Charlotte, N.C., from London in fall 2007, the site features natural and organic products.
Both Francke and King feel strongly about sharing “real” organic and natural products with consumers. “We take the guesswork out of being green. Everyone uses the words natural and organic, but it can be hard for the consumer to truly know what is and what isn’t — and what truly works,” said Francke, whose career has included stints as strategic marketing director for Boots plc and global general manager for new beauty care business at Procter & Gamble Co. She and King met on a skiing trip; while both worked at Boots in the U.K. in the past, they were at the company at different times.
King, a pharmacist who has also run health and beauty online operations for Boots in the U.K. and retail development manager at Thorntons plc, is handling the operations management side of the business, while Francke is doing the majority of marketing and product selection.
“I loved being at Boots because it is a beauty expert with a wide range of products,” said Francke. “We wanted to bring that range to the natural and organic category, and act as a catalyst for other companies to look at their ingredients.”
King and Francke met with about 96 natural and organic brands before narrowing their choices down to 11 at launch. They now market 16 brands, including Dr. Hauschka, Juice Beauty, John Masters Organics, Trilogy Skincare, Saaf Skincare, Pangea Organics, Weleda, Afterglow Cosmetics, Martina Gebhardt, Rain Africa, Farfalla, Laboratoire Cattier, Logona and Naturopatch. All of the brands are certified by global organizations (dependent upon country of origin) such as EcoCert, USDA and New Zealand Bio Grow.
Brands fall into three categories, Francke noted: “anchor brands” like German skin care brands Dr. Hauschka and Weleda; “insider brands” such as French organic baby care line Cattier and California-based skin care line Juice Beauty, and “hidden gems,” like British skin care brand Saaf and New Zealand-based skin and hair care brand Trilogy. To be selected for Beautorium.com, Francke noted, each brand must be natural or organic; not tested on animals; contain effective ingredients with proven benefits; be professionally and beautifully presented, and have a compelling brand and company personality.
Categories run the gamut from antiaging skin care to color cosmetics, body to hair. There’s even a section for what the duo gently term as “beauty issues,” including dandruff, cellulite, stretch marks and blemishes. “We want to be the one-stop online beauty bazaar,” added Francke.
For the holidays, the company commissioned a local family firm to create handmade organic twill Christmas stockings embroidered with the Beautorium logo. They will be given away with a $50 purchase as part of a Organic Beauty Booty promotion the site will run for the holidays, said Francke.
While neither Francke nor King would comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Beautorium would do just shy of $1 million in retail sales in 2008.