On 12th February, CEW welcomed Claire Vero, Founder of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, and a CEW Digital Achiever 2014 award recipient. During her animated and informative presentation, Claire shared her journey from being a former Marketing Director for GlaxoSmithKline, to creating her own award-winning luxury skincare brand, which has won 24 awards in two years.
After completing a marketing degree, Claire joined GlaxoSmithKline’s commercial management graduate programme. As her career progressed at GSK she made the decision to move into dermatology. It was during her time as Marketing Director within GSK's Global Dermatology Centre of Excellence, that she took a leading role in launching evidence-based technology, which researched the varying needs of different skin types around the world.
The Birth of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare
Having met patients with challenging skin concerns, Claire believed the solution was in probiotics, and launched Aurelia Probiotic Skincare in early 2013. She said, ‘I discovered the power of probiotics not only through ingestion, but applied to the skin to effectively help reduce sensitivities and inflammation’.
Claire set out to ethically harness the power of botanicals from around the world, using unique formulas to fuse BioOrganic plant extracts and flower essences with breakthrough science.
Building a brand and the power of PR
Claire understood the power of PR and brought on her university friend Anna Lewin to head up her PR strategy. Anna took Claire to see six industry editors a day, two days a week so they could tell the Aurelia story. This was imperative for sharing the Aurelia Probiotic Skincare ethos, building relationships and securing coverage in key publications. Their hard work paid off and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare was featured in top publications within the first few weeks of launching. This, along with partnering with influential bloggers and vloggers, drove potential customers to the brand’s interactive website.
A strong website – your online store window
The Aurelia Probiotic Skincare website was created by a number of talented freelancers, who produced the bespoke framework to meet Claire’s vision. The website needed to have varied content translated in different ways for customers to absorb via the medium they like.
The social interaction between customer and website was key to creating a platform that was fun and informative to visit, as well as being the primary point of sale. One of the key benefits of the website was that it had the advantage of allowing Claire and her team to have real time feedback through analytics, allowing them to shape content based around their customers’ needs. Claire said, ‘We created Aurelia TV because 95% of consumers would rather watch than read and we also needed to provide a responsive site as 60% of our customers were accessing the site via mobile and tablets.’
The importance of awards
Awards are essential for helping to gain consumer trust and confidence. Among the brand’s first award win was The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible’s Best New Brand, 2014. Having accumulated high scores across all of the launch range, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare became the first brand to ever achieve this, resulting in the aforementioned award being created and awarded. All five of the winning products went on to be featured in the Beauty Bible book. This year Claire is excited to be entering the CEW Beauty Awards 2015 in two categories, so watch this space!
The Journey into Retail
This strong website content and prestigious award backing proved a hit with retailers. My Showcase was the first retailer to stock Aurelia Probiotic Skincare only four months after it launched.
Shortly thereafter, Net-a-Porter stocked the brand online, with it selling out within 72 hours. From this, Liberty became Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s first bricks-and-mortar store in 2013. Their brand presence began with a small table and was later upgraded to its own counter in 2014 - the only brand ever to achieve this growth within 12 months. Continued retail success relies on support through stockist-related press, social media, video content, beauty blogs, in store facials and competitions.
Claire shared her insights and advice on starting a brand
-Be prepared for it to take three times as long as you planned and cost three times as much
-Look into tax efficient funding schemes such as SEIS and EIS
-Sometimes it is better to say no rather than yes; sticking to your strategy is key
-Have a plan, focus on what you want and follow it
-Take responsibility for your actions and repercussions
-Network at every opportunity
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