Thinking business and thinking environmental responsibility do not often go hand in hand. There’s either one or the other and a balance is very hard to accomplish with full return on investment.
Andrea Candian is the CEO of Organic Pure Care and has managed to elevate a haircare company based on the foundation of precious plant extracts, going green and true European VeganOK Standards to all Organic Pure Care products. The company was born in 2011, birthed from the vision of Andrea, who comes from a family of hairstylists and has been applying his entrepreneurial skills to many fields. At a certain point he decided to make his dream come true by creating an organization that could join his passion for business with his family roots. He speaks with us to share his journey and vision for the future of Organic Pure Care.
Organic Pure Care is a young company. But its roots delve deep into a long tradition of hairdressers…
“To tell the truth, it is still very young, we were born in October 2012, even both me and my family have always been linked to this sector: my grandfather, my father, and my uncle were all hairdressers. It wasn’t real business, the context was much different. It was a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s name… A world that doesn’t exist anymore, at least where we are from, but what has remained unchanged from generation to generation, up to me, is the authentic passion for this work.“
Your mission is the production of hair and body care products with plant extracts, flowers, and essential oils…
“Exactly, our mission is just that: to preserve hair and scalp health through the use of high-quality products made with natural ingredients. Products that can truly guarantee professional results, which cannot always be taken for granted in this sector. I mean to say that it is not sufficient to have products with no parabens, formaldehyde, SLS, etc. In a professional context, it is also necessary to give the hairdresser the certainty that all the products make hair healthier and more manageable, that the color works, etc. Otherwise it becomes impossible to work.“
How are your products different from other self-declared green competitors? Ingredients, materials, production processes: Is the entire OPC production and supply line green?
“Green is a word that means everything and nothing, unless we intend it as a philosophy or a trend: is how we envision ourselves, certainly, we started with this idea in mind and we continue in this direction. We pay plenty of attention to materials (recycled plastic, FSC paper, biological cotton for t-shirts…) and to the supply chain, using couriers with environmental certifications. We aren’t exactly 0-km, but by being made entirely in Italy, the environmental impact for transportation is certainly greatly reduced compared to other companies that import everything from the Far East to save on costs. As far as the products are concerned, the ingredients typical of the various lines (ex. Argan oil) are all of certified biological origins.”
How much do you invest in research?
“About 10% of our turnover is dedicated to research, as it is something we truly believe in. We do not only seek to enlarge the range, because we are not interested in having hundreds of products that are mostly and inevitably similar: we prefer that our clients have the opportunity to know the lines and their specific attributes well. So our efforts are mostly concentrated on continually perfecting the formulas of the existing products, to which we then add the creation of innovative products that can truly be used to resolve a specific problem.”
Your hero product?
“All our products are “heroes” in a manner of speaking because, as I was saying, our approach is to create a limited number of products for each line, all of which have a specific objective (restructuring, moisturizing, scalp care…). I could say that the most characteristic line is the Inca restructuring line, which is very complete, based on Inca oil infact, which has so many beneficial properties and a characteristic perfume that clients tend to love.”
Your lines, from styling to coloring, are dedicated to professionals. Is there also a consumer universe in the future?
“No, we are maintaining our products only for salons. We even have a written agreement with our distributors so they will not sell online or in mass distribution. For years, companies have exploited professional know-how without adequately compensating them. Instead, we want to grow the salon as well, in a certain sense to repay them for what they offer us in terms of experience, training, and contact with the public.“
Education. What do you offer?
“Our training courses have been completely renewed very recently, together with new collaborations with new hairdressing trainers. It covers a bit of everything, from technicalities, focussing more on products, to styling, and all levels … so from the salon owner to novice collaborators. Managerial training is also fundamental, and we offer basic, intermediate, and advanced courses. It certainly is important to raise the professional hairdresser’s awareness of the importance of managing a salon correctly from an economic and financial viewpoint.”
Hair fashion and fashion: what role do they play in your market presence?
“Sometimes people believe that natural and biological products are focused only on the health of the user and “treatment”, but actually we want to demonstrate that people can be trendy while taking care of their own health and that of the environment through our fashion collections.”
You have your headquarters in Venice, Italy. How do you profit from the concept of ‘Made in Italy’ on foreign markets?
“I have often spoken with foreign distributors and seen their eyes gleam when I say we have everything made in Italy. Made in Italy is indeed synonymous with quality, elegance, and originality. We are lucky to be born on the Riviera del Brenta, which connects Padua to Venice: we are immersed in beauty, art, Venetian villas, and their magnificent gardens. To find inspiration, we just look around us!“
You have recently opened an office in Florida: Today what role do the States play in your international strategies and what are your objectives and ambitions on foreign markets in general?
“We are particularly linked for various reasons –personal as well as professional– to the USA, and this gave rise to our decision to open an office there. In any case, today no company can afford to neglect foreign markets, especially one like ours that targets demanding and savvy clients who are always seeking innovations.“
What potentials are there on the Italian, American, and Spanish markets?
“The Italian market is confused, fragmentary, asymmetric: there are too many micro-companies competing and it is difficult to gain a leadership position. On the contrary, the American market is innovative, well-organized, and is a reference point for others from all points of view. The Spanish market is very important also as a bridge to South America: besides, Spanish is the third most commonly spoken language in the world. Our culture is very similar to theirs, and this has already proven to be a considerable advantage in cultivating trade relations.“
You have started up two collaborations: with Kripa for make-up and with Excel for salon furnishing. How are these partnerships being envisioned and what others might be on the horizon?
“We are always open to new partnerships, obviously provided that there are mutual corporate objectives and missions. With Kripa the collaboration came about very naturally: we are both growing companies, both run by families from the Veneto region, both wanting to offer our clients natural products that are also effective. Today the salon is a place where people seek all-over image consultations, and even the environment must be pleasant and well-appointed: Excel, our partner for furnishing, is ideal for creating the salon because they produce –completely in Italy– unique pieces, hand-made with eco-compatible materials, capable of creating a truly original atmosphere.”
A 2016 balance sheet and objectives/launches for 2017…
“The year 2016 was an extraordinary one. We had great success even in “difficult” markets like Scandinavia and Russia, and we activated important new partnerships. For 2017 we want to do even more: certainly further consolidate our position in Europe and then expand in South America and South-east Asia.”
How do you intend to change the professional business in the future, between products/training/digital?
“Training will become more and more online and always less live: now connection speed, image resolution, audio/video connections are all so advanced that they enable more or less the same result. The savings in terms of time and money is, without mentioning the fact that less travel also means less pollution! Now people are used to look for everything on the Internet, and the beauty sector is no exception. But distinguishing valid information from what is not valid is always more difficult: this is why the role of the hairdresser as a consultant, as an expert who, thanks to his professionalism, can suggest what is best to use and explain why it is better.”
For more information, please visit www.organicpurecare.com