Naturalmente
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Estetica Export met up with Deborah Malaspina, COO at Naturalmente ARTEC, an Italian professional hair brand renowned for its natural approach and remarkable commitment to sustainability. Founded 20 years ago by an inspired hairdresser, the brand has conquered an important niche in the Italian market, as well as some other European countries. Now the time has come to expand development into foreign markets.

How did your company start?

Naturalmente ARTEC was founded more than 20 years ago by a hairdresser, Domenico Tomaselli and his wife. They decided to start importing a new range of products from the USA. At the beginning, they were doing pretty well, but all of a sudden, the American company decided to sell its brand leaving it without distribution channels.
Despite this unfortunate situation, Domenico did not want to quit the sector and started looking for some alternative products to offer to the market. That was when he met Silvio Nevischi, a chemist with lots of experience in natural cosmetics. He offered an innovative perspective for a new product that could be absolutely natural and at the same time suitable for in-salon use. So, they started to work together creating a first simple range of about ten products that offered quality and efficacy. They have always been very concerned about education and organised a lot of seminars with hairdressers to test and improve their products.
That is the main reason why our brand was fully embraced by most of our clients who became somehow addicted to the quality formulas and the sustainable approach that we have always proposed”.

Naturalmente
Deborah Malaspina, COO at Naturalmente ARTEC

How did the brand develop its sales?

We were lucky because, in 2004, we had the chance to involve some ex-Aveda distributors who left the brand when it was acquired by Estée Lauder. They had a similar forma mentisand were happy to join Naturlamente-Artec. I also had previous experience in Aveda. When I joined the company, 17 years ago, I helped extend its catalogue with skincare and make-up ranges”.

Do you work exclusively for the professional hair market?

Yes. Today we have a complete range of products for professional use, including hair colours, however some products are retailed, but only inside the salons. We are proud of the working system we offer to our salons and mostly of our education, which makes the difference for the development of the hair salon that choose us and consequently for the growth of our company.
A moment of change occurred 4 years ago when Carlo Tomaselli, the son of the founder, joined the company as CEO and his twin sister Micol, took charge of the make-up range. Also, my personal role changed, as COO I have supported Carlo in managing the company”.

Where are you based?

“Our HQ is in Lograto, Brescia – in the North of Italy”.

Where are you distributed?

We cover pretty much all of Italy with 18 single-brand dealers and 5direct salesmen”

And across foreign markets?

We have been lucky to find some distributors who share our philosophy. Our oldest foreign distributor is in Spain, which is our largest foreign market, later we also started selling in Lithuania, Germany, France Czech Republic and South Africa.
Our foreign partners are hairdressers who wanted to become distributors and felt ‘Naturalmente’ was right for them and their clients”.

Any plans for further expansion?

We still have to get better organized internally and hire some people to improve our export ability. The potential of our brand deserves a careful and professional approach. At the moment, the share of export is about 15% of our turnover, so we have a great opportunity for improvement”.

Which are the most suitable markets?

First of all we want to open up markets in some other countries in Europe, mature markets that are already deeply sensitive to natural and sustainable products. The rest will come with time.”

I have read that you are very active in promoting sustainability projects.

Thats right. For example, we organize some special education sessions, called Hairdressers for Climate, offering the chance to have a dialogue with experts about climate changes, sustainability, and green issues. These take place within our clients’ salons”.

Can you tell us about the special packaging you use?

We have been experimenting in the past with some bottles made with corn. We later changed to sugar cane which is a very functional material that is of course absolutely sustainable.
Now, we use sugar cane for some product ranges and recycled plastic for others. The only problem with sugar cane as a raw material is that it is not always available. Recycled plastic is still a good solution because it can be reused many times and is always available”.

Is there anything special about your formulations?

“In the last few years, the object of our attention has switched. Earlier we only had to be careful about personal, but now we also have to be aware of protecting the planet.
We are very careful with every aspect of our production. An example is our sun care range, formulated with an innovative technology that uses microparticles that do not pollute the oceans. And this is certified by an Eco Sun Pass certificate”.

Are international trade fairs important for you?

Some of them are. But not all of them. We have not been very present in the past, but we are now planning to exhibit at some main events to start improving our exports. This year well be at BeautyIstanbul for the first time and we are considering other fairs that might be suitable for our brand”.

Do you do any online activity?

As a choice, we do not do e-commerce to avoid conflicts with our client salons. But we do have many activities on the social networks mostly education and presentation through a specialized agency that creates the content to be shared with our network”.

There is still no news about it.

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