Aubrey Organics: always one step ahead

Author: Karin Heinze

History is repeating itself. Just as the founder of the company, Aubrey Hampton, learned from his mother when he was a boy how to make natural cosmetics from plants and herbs, Hampton’s son Trevor (8) is now learning the skill from his father. Hampton began with a couple of products that he mixed in the kitchen, and out of this grew one of the best known and biggest natural cosmetics firms in the USA, whose products are sold not just on the American market but also in, for example, Germany, Russia, Japan and Australia. The high standards set by Aubrey Organics from the outset are still a major characteristic of the firm today. Always on the lookout for innovations and improvements, this US pioneer creates alternatives for hair and skin care.
 
(Picture: Aubrey Hampton passes on his knowledge to his son Trevor)

 

Trevor is not the least bit fazed when, together with his father, he mixes the ingredients for a skin cream with an electric mixer in front of the public at a trade fair and then hands out samples. The aim of appearances like this is to demonstrate how simple and authentic the recipes are and that all the ingredients used by Aubrey Organics are of natural origin. Aubrey Hampton acquired his knowledge of herbs from his mother, who was a phytochemist and druggist. Her admiration for the power of plants impressed him deeply, and it forms the basis of the company philosophy. He says: “Good products come from good ingredients.” The recipes are still designed today by the firm’s founder. After the products have been manufactured in small batches, they not stored but are put on the market without delay. “We give a money back guarantee in case customers are not satisfied with the quality,” explains Selcuk Mumcu, who has been the export manager at Aubrey Organics for six years. (Picture: Small batch production ensures the products in the shops are fresh)



Since the company was founded in 1967, the natural cosmetics market has changed radically, or more accurately, the market as we know it today has only really been created since then. In those early days, there were no regulations, which meant that Aubrey Organics had to set its own high standards relating to raw materials and processing. In 1994, the company was one of the first to seek organic certification in the cosmetics sector. In 2003, some products were USDA certified, and in 2004 this was followed by BDIH certification. It goes without saying that there is no testing on animals. Environmental protection is an important issue for the company: wherever possible they avoid producing waste, products are sold in PE bottles and jars without any packaging, and the company uses eco-electricity from wind generation. The working atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, and some employees have been with the firm for nearly thirty years. (Picture: A great place to work: production has gradually expanded on Aubrey Hampton’s private land in Tampa/Florida)

Raw materials and processing have been major preoccupations for Hampton, and he has developed his own natural preservation method and other processes in the cosmetics field. As well as building up the business in New York and Tampa, Hampton has written a number of books on health and natural cosmetics – best sellers like “Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care” and “What’s in Your Cosmetics”. This multi-talented man is an art collector, writes stage plays and founded the Gorilla Theatre in Tampa. He also publishes the magazine Organica (art and the environment), that is sold right across America. (Picture: Art and theatre are hobbies of the founder of Aubrey Organics)

“A remarkable personality who has created a far from ordinary business,” is Selcuk Mumcu’s conclusion. He says that Aubrey Hampton has total confidence in his employees, who have personal responsibility for many aspects. “We can go on developing – that’s conducive to creativity,” says Mumcu. This principle of freedom operates in the export business as well: the importers, who are all exclusive Aubrey partners, are entrusted with the goods and are expected to use their knowledge of the market and their own creativity to market the products. In Britain, for example, the market is developing splendidly after the partners started a Facebook page. Aubrey Organics has been in the European market for eight years, and 15 years in Japan.(Picture: Concentration on the specialist trade – you find Aubrey Organics in Whole Foods, stores on the picture, and health food stores)

You can buy the Aubrey Organics brand in any wholefood store and organic supermarket in North America. The company does not supply the conventional retail trade, although the presence of the products in the media leads to plenty of enquiries. “Sometimes we present new products in magazines before they appear in the shops. As pioneers, we have a responsibility to continue being pioneers. We are always on the lookout for innovative ways of making our products even more effective and giving them greater bioactive power”, says Mumcu. In his opinion, authenticity is one of the most important features a company can have today, and a long, honourable tradition plays a big part too. “We’re growing organically and sustainably, mainly because satisfied customers recommend us to other people.” (Picture: Powerful presence in a variety of magazines)

The product array of approximately 250 items ranges from hair and skin care, decorative cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes, sun care, baby and toddler care and products for men to special sport and outdoor products. The company even sells care products for the home and for pets. With the focus on hair care, Aubrey Organics is a genuine specialist that offers a natural solution for all kinds of hair. Six system- care series for the face is also a wide product range. (Picture: A large product range: Erica Ilsemann and Selcuk Mumcu are responsible for the export markets)

The managing director Curt Valva came to Aubrey Organics from Estee Lauder in 2000. He has given Aubrey Organics a new corporate design and established a simple customer-oriented system in keeping with his philosophy – “know your customers and be honest with them.” “It’s important to understand the needs and expectations of customers and to make sure they are met,” says Valva, who is responsible for production, sales and marketing. Curt Valva plays a very active role in various committees and associations – for example, he is on the board of the Natural Products Foundation, is involved in the working group dealing with natural cosmetics in the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and is a member of the committee in the certification organisation NSF . Among other things, these organisations are seeking national standards for natural cosmetics in the USA. In addition to his many functions, Valva advises IFOAM and BDIH on the worldwide harmonisation of natural cosmetics standards. These activities are a sound basis for ensuring that in the future Aubrey Organics will always be one step ahead. (Picture: Curt Valva holds the reins at Aubrey Organics, as well as sitting on numerous committees)







(Picture: Aubrey Organics receives a lot of awards)

24.01.2011

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