Founded in Umbria in 1952, Skin&Co Roma entered the limelight when the cast and crew from Fifties flick Roman Holiday visited the apothecary that stocked it and word of the brand’s magical potions—comprised of extracts from truffles and botanical oils—spread to Hollywood’s elite.
“My grandmother used botanical oils and truffle extracts from our farms in Umbria. These are our signature ingredients that we’ve been using for 60 years,” said Gabriel Balestra, the founders’ grandson, who now serves as Director of Branding, Marketing and Merchandising.
“We found that the special black winter truffle, which is only grown in the South of France and Umbria, neutralizes free radicals brought on by the environment and pollution.”
The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in New York (products are still made in Umbria) re-launched and reformulated three years ago, in partnership with the University of Bologna, and is now making a push towards growing distribution.
The brand offers several lines. The first is Skin&Co’s signature anti-aging collection, Truffle Velvet, which is comprised of 15 items infused with its proprietary Umbrian truffle extracts, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, argan oil and panthenol. There are both face and body care products, with pricing ranges from $18.50 for a Truffle Tuber Melanosporum Anti-Aging Body Gel to a $78 for a Truffle Velvet Hydro-Toning Anti-Aging Face Lotion. Truffle Velvet is sold in Henri Bendel, drugstore.com and on Canada’s The Shopping Channel. And, some smaller boutiques began carrying the brand in 2012.
To target a younger audience, Skin&Co has developed two pre-aging collections, Sicilian Light and Sicilian Orange, one for face (Light) and one for body (Orange.) Organic Sicilian orange extract is at the heart of formulas, which aim to brighten and tighten skin with hibiscus, vitamin C derivative and sodium hyalurate boost collagen. For face, Sicilian Light Brightening and Toning Skin Care offers a cream, serum, face scrub and cleansing foam.For Body, there’s a gel, exfoliating gommage and lotion. Items range from $18.50 for the body gel to $55 for the face cream.
Distribution remains tight but the company is looking to grow. Earlier in July the company attended Cosmoprof North America where it won the coveted Discover Beauty Award (one that is voted on by editors and retailers and awarded to the most innovative and beautifully-packaged product). One future distribution boost is that Skin&Co will enter select Look Boutiques in the fall with Sicilian Orange Brightening and Toning Body Care.
In terms of marketing, social media is helping put the brand on teh beauty map. A recent partnership with Birchbox got Skin&Co Roma samples into about 250,000 sample boxes. “We saw a lot of conversions. It
generated a consistent amount of sales,” Gabriel said of the partnership.