Since the end of 2018, RELOAD Positive Beauty has been gaining market attention with a business model based on the latest in sustainability, which is the circular economy and environmental concern through packaging. The company sells hair care products of high performance, bottled in mineral water bottles.
Packaging serves the policy of reducing, reusing and recycling, but they also play a key role in underscoring the main message advocated by the brand: what matters is what is inside. The product, what benefits it brings, what problems it solves, and how it impacts the consumer and the planet.
In this exclusive interview for in-cosmetics Latin America, Teodoro Brava, a RELOAD partner, explains how this process necessarily involves the choice of ingredients and the role of the raw material in alignment with the trends pointed out by Euromonitor International for 2019, which include an audience increasingly conscious and eager for a world without plastic.
in-cosmetics Latin America: The brand repercussion is relatively recent, but you have been acting since 2013, correct?
Teodoro Brava: Actually the company has undergone a repositioning. I entered, precisely, to lead this new phase of the brand with Filipe Sabará. He launched RELOAD in 2013 with two other members. After that, he bought his partners part to follow the dream of selling cosmetics with mineral water reusable containers, a different concept from the original, but preserving the quality of the products. Since then, the formula has undergone a positive transformation to better align itself with the purpose of caring for the planet. For example, silicone was removed, which is a micro plastic that does not integrate in any way with the environment. Finding the quality suppliers to meet not only the formulation but the brand philosophy was the key.
in-cosmetics Latin America: When was this repositioning exactly?
Teodoro Brava: December, last year. We are at an early stage indeed. We were quite surprised by the market reaction. We knew that it was a consumer demand and that we had the challenge of achieving quality, and quality it is something that the public does not leave aside and, at the same time we have to do good. Good things and no less bad (reliable). By strategy, we still can´t tell much, but this year we will launch sale points with a different proposal. There’s a lot of good stuff coming.
in-cosmetics Latin America: Today you work with how many products?
Teodoro Brava: We have three and dozen more in the pipeline to be released soon. Today they are shampoo, conditioner and a kit with both. It is a unisex range for all types of hair. We launched as a test and, as the market reaction was very positive, we intend to develop more specific products.
in-cosmetics Latin America: And how do you measure these reactions in such a short time of this new positioning?
Teodoro Brava: We knew from the beginning that the proposal is very disruptive. I believe that we rely on consumer activism. People worried about their surround, but who are also activists for themselves, who take care of their own health. When we say that RELOAD is positive beauty, it is not only ecological. It’s the beauty of it all. We want to show that it is possible to do good for the planet and for the consumer, considering the impacts of their actions. The market swing with this and we already see other companies stepping in this direction. In any case, we are the first in the world to reuse packaging to sell high performance cosmetics. We see brands scared to take this path because the market is very conservative. People generally think, at least it has no parabene or sulphate, but what about the packaging? RELOAD is more than a cosmetics company. We are activists, indeed! Our idea is to change people´s mind, break the barriers, to show that it is possible to sell quality cosmetics with social and environmental responsibility and to bring positive impacts to the entire production chain.
in-cosmetics Latin America: In the website it is explicit that, in relation to the products, what matters is what is inside. How important is raw material to RELOAD and how do you select them?
Teodoro Brava: Yes, what is inside sums it all up for us. Surely we have to think about packaging so much so that this has led us to this new positioning, new proposal. But it’s no good to want to be a nice company without quality products. If we do not deliver quality products, we do not sell. And it is very difficult to find suppliers who are alternatives to the common ones, where they are 90% of the market. Sulphate free, parabens, silicone and animal testing. The possibilities are reduced, more expensive and with much more difficult access. We work with moringa oil, quinoa protein, argan oil, amino acid complex and pro-vitamin B5. The cycle to create positive impacts, however, goes further. With the moringa oil we have a partner supplier that we have developed a project in Kenya and Namibia, where we work with vulnerable communities due to violence and political instability. They plant and extract the oil. So, yes, what matters is what’s inside.
in-cosmetics Latin America: Products with natural ingredients are a trend, which was pointed out some time ago by agencies like Euromonitor International. Do you do this kind of monitoring?
Teodoro Brava: Absolutely. Besides my specialization in the industry, where I use these databases extensively for profiling, prospecting, etc., it is extremely important because analysts agree that the “natural” claim was too broad and unclear. After all, what would be natural? We want to distance ourselves from an almost lying speech of “green washing,” where just because a given product has 0.01% of organic origin substances that does well to people, when the reality is that 90% of the composition does not. We want to distance ourselves from that. We do not want to do less harm, we really want to do good.
in-cosmetics Latin America: Do you feel that the consumer is looking for more information to protect themselves against falling into these traps?
Teodoro Brava: I believe so. And I think it’s great because I’m also a RELOAD consumer. Before launching a product I would ask myself if I as an activist I would use and if I liked, with the proposal rooted in my mind and in my behaviour. We work with a niche market and this is the key. They are people who are concerned about the environment and their own health, but which now have a higher purchasing power and broader access to information.
in-cosmetics Latin America: Have you ever visited the show as Reload?
Teodoro Brava: Filipe Sabará, my partner, has been attending in-cosmetics Latin America since the 1st edition. The family owns BERACA, Brazil largest supplier of natural and organic inputs. I intend to go this year.