Increasing consumer demand for ‘clean’ beauty products is driving record growth for Melbourne-headquartered Total Beauty Network (TBN), with sales up 38 per cent on last year. Lisa Crawford Jones reports.

Leading the charge is cosmetics brand INIKA Organic, one of four in the TBN stable (alongside Designer Brands, Colour By TBN and Raww Cosmetics), with sales up 52 per cent globally.

Founder and CEO Tony Rechtman said the growth was almost 17 times higher than the industry average in Australia alone, and nine times the global cosmetics industry. “We’ve got what people want and we have retail solutions that help our retail partners sell the products,” he said.

A former product developer with OPI in Los Angeles, Rechtman started TBN as a one-man operation in 2004 with Designer Brands, buying INIKA Organic six years ago and more recently launching Colour by TBN and Raww.

He said changing consumer demands toward health had reached the cosmetics category. “Twenty years ago the only people who went to health food stores were consumers with a keen interest in then-fringe health categories, such as naturopathy and aromatherapy, but today that has evolved in huge way and the majority of people have shifted their mindset; from the food they eat, the detergent they use – really the last area is the make-up they choose.”

Clean beauty, the new ‘natural’?
Rechtman said the term ‘clean’ in cosmetics emerged in the last few months out of consumer desire to differentiate from inappropriate use of words like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. It also takes into account the growing movement towards cruelty free and vegan products. “Clean is the new natural. In the past ‘natural’ was a buzz word and ‘organic’ was a buzz word. But a lot of companies have been incorrectly claiming to be natural and they’re not,” he said.

“Everything we focus on is healthy cosmetics, and healthy living for our customers has been our driving force for many, many years. We took talc out eight years ago, we’ve never used bismuth and we’ve been cruelty-free and vegan [certified] for two years,” he said.

The INIKA Organic story
INIKA Organic is recognised for multiple certifications, meeting standards for being organic, cruelty-free, vegan, and halal. And while these (and product performance) have been the cornerstones of the brand’s reputation, meeting stringent requirements hasn’t been easy. “Making certified organic, certified vegan, certified cruelty free products is one of the hardest things you can do. We had quite a few road blocks at first but we pushed the boundaries and never took ‘no’ for an answer.” INIKA Organic was the catalyst for the entire TBN business to unilaterally adopt Cruelty-free Certification, as well as a variety of other ingredient and formula-based certifications.

TBN Founder and CEO Tony Rechtman at the company’s recent conference

On buying the brand six years ago TBN embarked on a massive redevelopment. “We improved every single product and developed new ones. And we got rid of anything that wasn’t selling. It took new packaging, new formulations and higher certifications to really make it a world class brand,” Rechtman said.

Today the brand is expanding globally in salons and the health channel with launches in Canada, Singapore and Malaysia this month, in addition to its growing US and UK market.

TBN’s new Training and Education Department will release the INIKA Organic app later this year to deliver interactive product information, expert advice, celebrity makeup tutorials, ingredient education and social media support to retailer sales staff, makeup artists and salons globally.

• This is a version of an article that first appeared in What’s New in Healthy Products.

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