“Our products were finished and ready to be dispatched when Italy went into lockdown, and I have been unable to gain access,” says Baroque & Rose Founder and CEO Miriam Ciantar as she recalls the ongoing of impact of COVID-19 on her new, environmentally-conscious, luxury skincare business.
A tough welcome then to the world of the entrepreneur. But despite the formidably challenge circumstances, Ciantar is unfazed and is already finding ways to help her fledgling business emerge intact and enhanced from the COVID-19 era.
She says, “Over the last four months, I’ve been working on a strategy that will not only help Baroque & Rose survive these unprecedented times, but also help it flourish.” As part of this strategy, Baroque & Rose is showcasing its Pure Range and other organic beauty innovations at the pioneering Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo, where it is a Silver Partner (#Virtual Stand BT-S5).
In this candid interview, Ciantar underlines the importance of true and comprehensive sustainability to the ethos of Baroque & Rose. She also recounts the biggest challenges her self-funded company has overcome through the crisis.
What is the major focus for Baroque & Rose at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo? What lines and launches can visitors expect to see?
We have just launched our luxury organic skincare Pure range. It is comprised of six products: Repair & Protect Wonder Cream, Face Tonic, Face Milk, Eye Serum, Instant Beauty & Detox Face Mask and Hand Cream.
What are your major targets by geography, channel or retailer type as you seek to tap into a recovering market?
We are keen to introduce Baroque & Rose to the US market and make our products available to customers via ecommerce platforms. Once we can see sustainable growth in the aviation sector, we will launch Baroque & Rose in duty free outlets across key airport and downtown stores. We will specifically target the locations that experience a continuous increase in passenger numbers over a consecutive three-month period.
How important is sustainability to the ethos of Baroque & Rose – and what are the biggest challenges in producing and distributing a fully sustainable skincare brand?
Our ethos is incredibly important to us; it is a major part of the Baroque & Rose brand. We are responsible for everything that we manufacture and even how our packaging is discarded. Our entire supply chain is either recyclable and/or biodegradable.
We believe that if we are able to prevent pollution and protect our beautiful planet, then our customers will also feel good about purchasing our products. Customers can enjoy Baroque & Rose, knowing that our products are made from wonderful natural ingredients that don’t contribute to the devastation of planet earth.
I created Baroque & Rose knowing that it was never going to be produced easily. Financing was the first challenge, but when I adopted a sustainable lifestyle, I was able to fund the company myself. I was determined to honour my vision and not cut any corners, leaning on my nearly 40 years of experience in the skincare sector. The six products I am launching into the channel are just the tip of the iceberg of the research and development we have already invested in.
We are leveraging the same research into 50 other products in the pipeline over the next three years. These will help me fulfill my long-term vision of turning Baroque & Rose into a highly regarded global luxury organic brand.
While you successfully launched the Instant Beauty and Detox set in 2018, the launch of your full collection has been put on hold due to the pandemic. What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your business and what is your strategy for recovery?
In 2018, I took Baroque & Rose to the MTV Awards & The Golden Globe Awards. I wanted to introduce Baroque & Rose to a very high profile audience, against business advice that I should first seed the brand to a smaller audience, in case it wouldn’t be very well-received.
I was 100% confident that I had an amazing product and that I had a luxury audience, and I was right. Even I was overwhelmed with the response to the Instant Beauty & Detox Face Spa. For weeks after both events, I was receiving great feedback from the high-profile clientele that used it. In 2019, I put the other five products that would complete our luxury Pure range into production. In February of this year, Baroque & Rose was set to be launched into two major airlines that carried over 33 million passengers between them.
Our factory is based in Italy, which as you know, was the first European hot spot for COVID-19. Our products were finished and ready to be dispatched when Italy went into lockdown, and I have been unable to get access. Over the last four months, I’ve been working on a strategy that will not only help Baroque & Rose survive these unprecedented times, but also help it flourish.
What do you think is the luxury beauty industry’s role in promoting conscious consumerism and securing a green future for our planet?
This is a fantastic question; I can give so many reasons why the luxury beauty industry should change its ways and help consumers be more mindful of their consumption. If consumers are able to take advantage of a luxury lifestyle, they will also demand the very best of what is available to them.
Baroque & Rose is part of a new breed of businesses that will pave the way for others to become more environmentally responsible. Our desire to educate our customers — not only on the huge benefits of using our luxury organic products but also on the merits of conscious consumerism — set us apart. We help our customers become more aware of their consumption habits and encourage them to support businesses with environmental credentials.
How would you like to see industry partnerships evolve as we enter a new era for travel and travel retail?
I see many innovative solutions to tackle the impact of COVID-19. The post-pandemic travel retail industry is still a place of progress. So many aspects of our business are going to change and I believe partnerships between brands, airlines, and retailers will be more equal and democratic after the crisis.
Virtual becomes reality for Baroque & Rose
Baroque & Rose is a Silver Partner at the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo.
The unique 5-day ‘live’ event, followed by a 30-day showcase, begins on 12 October, just after the conclusion of the Chinese Golden Week holidays. It features a star-studded series of events across the five days, including a Symposium, category workshops and a new consumer research initiative.
Registration is free for buyers, exhibitors and preferred media partners. (Click here to register)