As Babor prepares for its 65th anniversary, the professional skin care brand is hitting on all cylinders as part of its quest to be the largest family-owned beauty company by 2030.
Babor’s blueprint for growth includes increased product innovation, a stronger digital presence, and advancements in sustainability. Although the professional sector is the cornerstone of its business, physical store expansion is also mission critical, especially as the brand eyes bigger market share in the U.S., which currently produces about 20 percent of sales.
One of the most significant impacts on the brand has been the reopening of spas. Babor is benefitting from pent up demand, which grew during lockdown, hitting 50 percent year-to-date sales gains.
“People are coming back with a vengeance,” said Benjamin Simpson, Vice President of Marketing, adding, “we are strengthening our relationships with professionals and have a lot of new partnerships.” As an example, Babor inked a major deal with The Woodhouse Day Spa, and is working on other deals. Acknowledging that physical stores are crucial to business, the company recently hired Barry McCaffrey, formerly of Naturopathica, to serve as Vice President of Sales to build distribution. Currently the brand is sold at leading luxury hotel and day spas, med spas and medical offices. Babor knows physical stores are crucial, too, and has recently launched at Bloomingdale’s and is expanding its store footprint at Neiman Marcus.
Babor, which was founded in Germany by chemist Dr. Michael Babor, is also making strides in its Green Agenda, which was announced in 2020, addressing its commitment to clean ingredients and renewable manufacturing efforts. The company achieved 100 percent climate neutral status in January 2021. Green packaging and distribution from production to delivery is also in its plans, as well as the use of 80 percent raw materials of natural origins within formulas that comply with European Cosmetic Safety Standards.
“Sustainable practices have been part of the brand since day one,” said Tim Waller, Chief Executive Officer of Babor Americas, who along with Benjamin recently helped clean up local beaches as part of the company’s sustainability mission. (It has its North American headquarters in Aventura, Florida to streamline deliveries and facilitate growth.)
“Green and clean is a continued priority across the board, especially in our product formulas. We are not just satisfied with saying we are 80 percent natural, we continue to push the standards in natural product formulation and have now achieved 95 to 90 percent; this is a complete new standard,” said Tim. “We want to be the authority on luxurious, high performance products while still being clean.”
Babor is also a brand with a purpose. “That’s a big part of our DNA,” said Benjamin, referring to its partnership with Feeding America, which raised funding to provide 1.6 million meals.
COVID-19 was a learning experience for Babor. “We were very fortunate business-wise blast year. We did a quick pivot and about 60 percent of our business was done online,” said Tim noting, the online business helped offset declines in professional outlets and retail doors. The company was able to fulfill orders by tapping both its Canadian and U.S. facilities.
On its digital platform, Babor added virtual consultations through chat and videos hosted by the education team. “We’ve done more than 700 consultations with a 40 percent conversion rate,” said Tim.
Reaching consumers at all touchpoints was part of the game plan to boost digital presence. Instagram Live was tapped to feature a mix of education about self care, fun and partnerships.
“We demonstrated using derms, aestheticians and plastic surgeons because ultimately people want to hear from experts and learn how to do [treatments] themselves,” said Benjamin. Cleansing was the main message from Babor. The brand received incredible feedback from interactions between consumers and experts.
Even during quarantine Babor went ahead with the launch of Doctor Babor Cleanformance, a vegan and clean line that already ranks number-three in the company’s portfolio. A partnership with Condé Nast via influencer collaborations harnessed the exposure of live streaming and connective T.V. to boost awareness of the debut.
Babor is perhaps best known for its ampoules; its newest is Perfection Phyto AHA Intensive Treatment, a plant-powered seven-day solution. The six-piece special edition collection offers a variety of ampoules that address specific skin types and benefits with active plant-based ingredients solutions. The range checks off a sustainability box—it is made with up to 90 percent natural ingredients and foregoes the use of cellophane overwrap, which would lead to 850 pounds of plastic film.
In October, Babor will reboot its Doctor Babor Power Serum Ampoule Collection that includes six power-packed formulas. The new hero Doctor Babor Power Serum Ampoule 8-D Hyaluronic Acid Serum is formulated to offer intense moisturizing and plumping benefits, and to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles with multi-depth hydration. “The new collection includes maximized formulas to address various skin concerns. The 8-D Hyaluronic Acid Serum stands out with break-through technology promoting the skin’s own hyaluronic acid formation,” said Benjamin.
The company is also relaunching a clean body line. And, for its 65th anniversary, the company is repackaging its HY-ÖL oil-based cleansers with limited-edition sets, including The Best of Dr. Babor, with 10 products retailing for $179, and the HY-ÖL & Hydro Base Cleansing Set, retailing for $39.