Jun 16, 2023
Known as one of the leading high-end cosmetic brands in Italy, Bakel aims to consolidate its business beyond its borders, supported by an offering of innovative and “clean beauty” products. While the idea of formulating “clean and effective” cosmetics may seem simple and relatively recent, the premium Italian brand has been working in this direction for 14 years. Controlled by the Italian perfume specialist Culti Milano since 2019, the brand now has its sights set on international growth through a “selective expansion plan.”
“Getting to this point is the logical evolution of our company,” said Dr. Raffaella Gregoris, who launched the business in 2008. With a background in chemistry and a decade of experience working for other multinational companies in Italy, the entrepreneur was clear that the concept of the first product launched in 2009 should be based on “0 useless substances and 100% active ingredients.”
Today, the premium brand offers a complete range of over 30 products for skincare, including cleansers, serums, and moisturizers for the face and body.
According to Gregoris, the effectiveness of the cosmetics and innovation work are the foundations of her business. “It is essential that all ingredients are intended to be absorbed and provide a scientifically proven positive effect. It seems easy, but it is not so,” said the founder, acknowledging that this approach requires the elimination of all preservatives, fragrances, alcohols, heavy metals, or petroleum derivatives from the products. “The only possible answer to finding the best ingredients is to work with organic and natural actives, as well as technological innovation,” she admitted.
But beyond finding successful formulas, the major challenge for companies in the sector is also to assert themselves and educate customers in a market where there is an abundance of information noise and marketing labels.
“Buying a quality cosmetic is not a question of price or whether it is purchased in pharmacies or perfumeries, but of being able to read the ingredient list,” reflected Raffaella Gregoris, acknowledging that the “education of buyers” is the industry’s great challenge.
“Especially considering the popularization of the ‘clean beauty’ label,” she added.
In the case of Bakel, it seeks to differentiate itself through a focus on “transparency and traceability,” presenting packaging that includes the exact number of ingredients, an explanation of their function and origin, as well as the product’s expiration date (which is not mandatory according to European regulations as long as the minimum duration is greater than 30 months. Generally, products are labeled with the PAO or ‘Period After Opening,’ which indicates the period in which the cosmetic is safe to use after opening).
Additionally, the products have a closed application system to avoid direct exposure to contact with fingers, light, or heat.
“We have made great efforts to obtain vegan and cruelty-free certifications from the European Union,” continued the expert, emphasizing the importance of certifications or sustainable projects in reducing packaging waste or promoting “refill” technology.
Among its latest projects, one stands out: a seven-year-long innovation involving three-dimensional technology for formulating cosmetic products. This technology holds five patents and could have applications in other fields such as medicine and pharmacy.
“We have applied it to the Jalu-3D hyaluronic acid product, characterized by its high absorption capacity thanks to its 3D sheet format,” explained the entrepreneur, demonstrating and indicating that the hyaluronic acid raw material used comes from the United States and is an ingredient that can range in price from 70 euros to 3800 euros per kilogram.
Distributed in spas, high-end pharmacies, and a selection of perfumeries in Italy, Bakel already generates 70% of its revenue in its home country.
“We have grown a lot in the Italian market in recent years. We will halt distribution development once we reach 400 or 500 points of sale in pharmacies to maintain our positioning,” she anticipated, admitting that, “internationally, we have our sights set on the United States and France, where we intend to deploy the same strategy as in our country, finding the balance between beauty and well-being.”
Currently, the brand is exclusively available at Le Bon Marché in Paris. Additionally, Bakel has recently entered the Asian market with an initial introduction in Thailand.
Parallel to this, the company, which operates offices in Milan and Udine (in Friuli Venezia Giulia), where the communication, marketing, and sales departments, as well as the research, development, and logistics areas, are managed, is satisfied with “significant” online sales revenue.
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