The Brazilian beauty giant opened its first suburban, brick-and-mortar store at the Garden State Plaza mall in northern New Jersey, part of its strategy to test and learn about the American market.
NaturaBrasil is cautiously expanding its retail presence in the U.S. After opening its first retail store in New York’s Nolita last April, the Sao Paolo-based beauty giant opened its second boutique at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey in late December. The beauty giant is adopting a humble, test-and-learn approach for its entry in the U.S. market.
NaturaBrasil’s parent company, Natura Cosméticos, long synonymous with well-being and sustainability, achieved global sales of approximately $3 billion last year, according to Roger Schmid, Strategic Advisor on Global Innovation and Sustainability at Natura. An additional $1.5 billion accounts for Natura’s purchase of The Body Shop last summer, together with Aesop acquired five years ago.
“Brazil is a non-arrogant nation, and Natura is good at listening,” said Roger. “Natura’s plan is to do a pilot in the U.S. by opening a couple of retail stores and establishing e-commerce, and using 2018 to digest and learn.”
NaturaBrasil’s Paramus store is aimed at the suburban customer, while the Nolita store appeals to the urban consumer, with the e-commerce site, launched last May, serving the entire country.
The store aims to offer a sensorial peak into Brazilian biodiversity. A sign at the store’s entrance announces: To understand the marvelous language of Amazonia, you need to feel it, touch it, smell it.
“Our store transmits a joie de vivre together with a sustainable message,” said Roger. “It’s a friendly, bright, peaceful and educational experience where customers can learn about products with ingredients that they have never heard about.”
NaturaBrasil’s wide range of products, including body, bath, hair care, fragrance and men’s, are organized by key ingredients indigenous to the Amazon. These include a wide array of fruit and nuts such as maracuja, pitanga, acai, andiroba, cacau, murumuru, and castanha. The castanha hand cream is the number-one selling product.
Amongst the many different product forms, such as hand creams, body butters, shower milks, soap, and body mousse, NaturaBrasil’s oils, such as its triple phase shower oil and hair oil, are brand bestsellers thanks to their deep moisturizing properties.
The store design is also sensorial in nature, with an eye-catching combination of recycled wood, cement and glass. The long wooden testing table is the star of the space where customers can experience Brazil’s star ingredients.
The brand’s new skin care line, Chronos, embraces an “age positive” approach with products designed for different life stages—30s, 45+, 60s—, as opposed to an anti-aging positioning, which increasingly seen as outdated as it fosters negative associations around aging.
Prices in the store range from $10 for bar soap to $62 for a lifting and volumizing face cream.
Natura has long been one of the most admired companies in Brazil thanks to its deep-seated belief that business can be a force for good, as well as its commitment to preserving the Amazon, which represents 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity. The brand is a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade, and is a certified B Corporation, a benefit corporation that meets rigorous standards of environmental performance and transparency. The brand works with local communities to sustainably extract ingredients for its products, and its packaging is 100 percent post-consumer recycled.
Roger is part of a group operational committee that fosters cross-pollination of ideas and innovation between Natura, The Body Shop and Aesop. He pointed out that the acquisition of The Body Shop is synergistic with Natura, especially as The Body Shop is more global than Natura, particularly in Asia. Conversely, The Body Shop does not have an extensive presence in South America.
“Natura and The Body Shop are aligned. There is an overall optimism and a feeling that we are part of the same club. We understand each other.”