Birkenstock ready for skin care expansion

Birkenstock ready for skin care expansion

German manufacturer most famous for its cork sandals, Birkenstock, is taking the plunge into skin care, hoping to maximise on its ‘wholesome’ brand image to court consumer demand for naturals.

Including its signature cork as both an ingredient and a key, distinctive feature of its packaging, Birkenstock’s expansion into skin care is part of a wider push towards wellbeing. The company also recently launched a bed collection as part of of this strategy.

The collection is launching this autumn in the US, Asia and online, and Birkenstock told Cosmetics Design that it plans to launch in Europe soon after that too.

It is launching products across five ranges: natural man, naturally fresh, naturally ageless, naturally pure, and in  a clear nod to its heritage, natural foot care.

How will Birkenstock position cosmetics?

The cosmetics division, Birkenstock Cosmetics, will sit as a subdivision within the broader company, responsible for manufacturing the 28 products in the Birkenstock Natural Care Line.

The company’s CEO, Oliver Reichert, has spoken of the deliberate move to capitalise on the brand’s already established naturals credentials. He told WWD that the company’s shoes’ cork oak offers various skin care benefits, ripe to tap into.

“That’s how the whole project started. We then took our time in terms of developing the whole natural cosmetics range, with product quality coming first at all times with a team of experienced experts."

The company exhibited the new skin care concept at the recent Cosmoprof Bologna industry show.

Premium: growth winner?

The products are intended to sit within the premium segment, retailing at between 16 and 60 EUR.

In terms of retail space, Birkenstock is keen to establish this premium, prestige brand identity from the off.

“We want to see our products in an environment where there is a high cosmetic competence expressed by a knowledgeable cosmetics sales staff in store,”  confirmed Reichert.

The bid to launch a premium, natural skin care brand seems a savvy one: premium is now consistently outperforming the mass market for sales growth, according to recent Euromonitor data.

Birkenstock expects its natural care move to contribute to its ambitious growth target, according to WWD: the company aims to exceed the 100 million euros ($106 million at current exchange) sales mark by the end of 2020, three years after the range’s launch.

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