Natura ex-CEO Alessandro Carlucci wants to break beauty industry paradigms

Alessandro Carlucci and Florencia Jinchuk at Flopi, funded by The Chemist Look

Alessandro Carlucci chairs the Arezzo and Business for Social Responsibility (SBR) boards, is chairman of the Advisory Board of the Towerbrook impact fund, Renner and a board member of the Deming Center at Columbia University in New York. He lived 7 years old.

But with The Chemist Look, the Uruguayan skincare startup he’s investing in in 2020, he seems to be facing a unique challenge. His 25 years at Natura as CEO of one of the world’s largest beauty companies takes on another dimension, as opposed to a beauty tech he calls “provocative”, full of “processes and patents that slow it down.” .

“It’s different from a lot of things I’ve been through. One of the aspects that attracted me was that it was an agile company that knew what it wanted to do. Flopi has an opinion on things, she’s not interested in following trends.”

Flopi is Uruguayan chemist Florencia Jinchuk, who, during her master’s degree in Cosmetic Science, decided to start the blog The Chemist Look, where she questioned the “harmony” of big companies in product formulations. From there she started developing her own cosmetics and offering them to the following community.

He created the brand in 2015 for gym innovations to reach consumers “because the skin is in a rush” and has grown 700% since then. After being founded in Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, The Chemist is now coming to Brazil with the expectation that the country will represent 50% of the business and reach a turnover of R$20 million this year. He plans to plant his flag in the United States in up to three years.

According to the Euromonitor survey, which encouraged the emergence of many digital domestic brands in different categories, Brazil is the fourth largest cosmetics market in the world.

These include Simple Organic, acquired by Hypera, Just For You, whose main investor is Eurofarma, and Salvve, an offshoot of a blog created by influencer Julia Petit, such as Chemist. On the international stage, The Drunk Elephant became an icon when it was acquired by Shiseido for $845 million in 2019.

In the United States alone, the beauty tech market should move US$3.4 billion by 2026 – Carlucci and Flopi have big claims, according to a report from consulting firm Statista.

“We want the brand to be relevant, restless, provocative, responsible, safe and breaking industry paradigms. This is the most important. That’s what’s always on the table,” says Carlucci.

Carlucci was introduced to ECLA (Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America), Columbia’s program for Latin American entrepreneurs, through The Chemist Look on The Chemist Look. He was invited by the institution in 2018. advisor graduated from business school and mentored Flopi.

But two years later, when the entrepreneur and scientist faced the challenges of the Argentine market, he was invited to invest in the business. After all, Carlucci had worked as Natura’s regional manager in that market.

“Of course I accepted. independent brand It is an extremely powerful dermocosmetic,” says he recently expanded his investment in Chemist, but does not reveal the value of the investment. The other investor, Sergio Fogel, co-founder of Uruguayan dLocal, a tech company that goes public on the Nasdaq and is valued at US$6.1 billion, makes the entrepreneur a billionaire with a fortune of US$1.3 billion, according to the magazine. forbes.

After launching its brand in Uruguay in 2015, The Chemist Look “grown fast” and Flopi soon spread to Chile and Argentina. Carlucci’s entry made it possible not only to face the challenges of the Argentine market – “we are very good there” – but also to prepare for entry into Brazil. “Being in Latin America’s largest country was the next frontier,” Carlucci says.

For this purpose, they apply omnichannel, which is a different strategy from other markets. “Since I moved to São Paulo, I’ve realized that it’s important to be offline in the country. And it’s the first time we’ll be selling outside of our e-commerce to talk to the public we want,” says Flopi.

They have formed a partnership with the Drogaria Iguatemi chain, which “always seeks different brands, believes in content and acts as a support for the demanding audience,” Carlucci says.

Currently, the brand will operate in São Paulo, but should reach other states by the end of the year, particularly the South, where “women are investing more in skincare,” says Natura’s former CEO. But nothing felt rushed like getting into multi-brand cosmetics.

“I lived in a company that had a channel and a product at the same time. Now it’s not like that anymore. Flopi doesn’t want to be in a channel just to grow. If you can’t carry the brand’s DNA, we won’t. This is the foundation”, says Carlucci.

Flopi aims to create products that combine classical materials with biotechnology by investing in author formulas in a model he calls “conscious formulation.” “For example, pure vitamin C is great for the skin. The challenge is to get its oxidation under control. So we created a way to ensure the best possible stability with the available scientific resources. Our innovation is to ensure that it lasts longer and is more effective in contact with the skin.”

Therefore, Flopi focuses on improving formulas in the process of constantly updating versions of existing items, rather than releasing a few products a year. “Today’s best isn’t always the best in science. It makes scientists more humble because we cannot know everything. Tomorrow we can always have a better option.”

Boosters, facial super-moisturizers stand out with the efficiency of the “conscious formulation”

Ranging from R$ 180 to R$ 375 for facial boosters, super moisturizers are the big differences of the brand due to their efficiency. He knows that his main competitor in this category is Skinceuticals from L’Oreal. Digital communications sees an affinity with Biosense in valuing the scientific content of its products.

The first batch of products to arrive in the country was imported from Uruguay, but Flopi and Carlucci plan to manufacture in the country. “It’s only a matter of time. We’re coming, but having a base in Brazil makes a lot of sense,” says The Chemist Look founder.

Carlucci admits that he needed to “control himself” as he could not do at The Chemist what he did at Natura. But at the same time, his experience helps him overcome obstacles that he knows all too well. For example, when they talk about the best way to grow the business, they see the potential of taking that “DNA” into new categories, turning it into a beauty brand, not just a skincare brand.

But Flopi says she’s not yet “scientifically” prepared. “There’s no point in doing it if you don’t have a way to add value. As a scientist, this is a responsibility, and as an entrepreneur, I need to add value and produce different products. For example, I couldn’t develop a body product that introduced a relevant innovation.”

On the other hand, he was vehemently opposed when they discussed whether it was worth making a mold to have a different packaging that would translate all the brand’s differences. “Smaller companies have neither the time nor the money to develop their own patterns. And ready. This is what big companies do that slows them down. It’s the kind of thing to avoid, and I’ll be here to say: Let’s not do it,” Carlucci says.

“Molding takes time and you have to develop a local supplier for each new market and this has an environmental cost. It’s better to work with standard packaging and be mobile in any new market,” he says.

Restless Flopi thus defines the next steps. “I want to scale with impact, not growth. That’s what I want to do as a science and industry.” Carlucci is doing his weight. “My vision for getting to know two different companies, one super-big and the Chemist, is this: We have to be disciplined and say what the bigs do and we won’t if we don’t become them. It’s that simple.”

The manager wants to value the qualities he defines in the Chemist from the very beginning. “What caught my attention in Chemist’s business model is a coincidence with my past, my learning. The brand has a community of ‘deep intellectuals’, the spontaneous fans who promote the brand help develop the products,” says Carlucci.

“It reminds me of consultants, the strengths of direct selling, a modern industry that I’ve been a part of for a long time.” People who like Chemist say they spend their time recommending products, giving ideas, creating content. They are consumers who are motivated to participate in processes digitally.

“This is one of the limits we can expand. How about skin intellectuals in the expansion of the brand? How to use this asset? How is the power of the individual used?” asks Carlucci, excited to be part of a new moment in the beauty industry.

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