With countless people raving about this effective brand, including Meghan Markle and Kim Kardashian Bio-Oil has brought out its third-ever product – Bio-Oil Skincare Oil (Natural) as it has become the number one product to be stocked in almost every bathroom shelf.

Emirates Woman was intrigued by the brand’s success, so spoke with South-African based founders, Justin and David Letschert on how they managed to scale their business by starting with the most-coveted hero skincare product that led them on to new launches.

How has the world of Bio-Oil evolved since its inception?

The world of Bio-Oil is all about oil, that’s where we spend all of our time, research and development. Twenty years ago, there were very few oil products in the market and they were all either creams or lotions, so when we came along with a scar and stretch mark product that was made out of oil, people liked the idea but were unsure about the oil part of it. There was a negative attitude towards oil and the biggest change we’ve seen over the last twenty years is an understanding by consumers all over the world that the oil is good for skin, the skin is actually lipophilic, meaning it is oil-loving, which is a great opportunity for us to develop other oil-based products.

With a laser-like focus on the hero product of the brand, how has that helped to ensure success for Bio-Oil?

We realised rolling out Bio-Oil across the world, that people could see the power of oil on their skin. We started an oils only laboratory around twelve years ago with a focus purely on oils. Our next two products – Dry Skin Gel is 84% oil and Skincare Oil (Natural) is 100% oil. Having one hero product that was all about oil got us very interested in oils and we moved forward from there with oil being the centre of it all.

 

Without an actual brick & mortar store, you’ve managed to leverage into different markets and it’s in over 50 countries worldwide, how did you manage on doing so?

We were the first scar and stretch mark product on the market 33 years ago and back then we wanted to get the product to as many people as possible once, we realised how effective it was, the best way to do that was through existing mass channels such as pharmacies around the world. Our product is a performance product, it’s a product that should exist in pharmacies where it can be explained and recommended by a pharmacist and that’s the avenue we took.

How has COVID-19 affected the business and how did you innovate to overcome them?

When COVID-19 first broke, no one knew what would happen, so everyone was preparing for the worst-case scenario. What actually happened with us was that we saw an uptake in sales for our product and that was driven by the fact that pharmacies remained open when department stores and other stores were closed. People gravitated towards more essential, multi-use performance products that were trusted and had been around for a long time. Strangely enough during COVID, we had more people enter into the Bio-Oil franchise and try our product which was the opposite of what we thought would happen.

Could you tell us a little bit more about the latest launch which is the Bio-Oil Skincare Oil (Natural) and how you decided on making it both Kosher and Halal certified?

We are hugely excited about the launch of Skincare Oil (Natural), when we started developing this product, we knew how potent and effective the original product is and how well it performs on scars and stretch marks and we were only going to launch a natural version if it could perform as well. This took a long time, but we managed to achieve a 100% natural product that was effective. Skincare Oil (Natural) was subjected to exactly the same clinical trials in Germany and performed almost equally in all aspects as the original product. This was a great moment for us because choosing natural used to be a decision based on a lifestyle, the consumer didn’t know whether it would perform, now consumers can buy a natural product knowing that it will perform. The fact that the oils are 100% natural and we are not using any animal-derived ingredients made it very easy to get both Halal and Kosher certifications.

Creating a skincare product can take years, has it taught you patience in other parts of your life, If so, how and why?

Absolutely, an easy way to explain formulating skincare products is imagining we are bakers that bake 100 cakes a week and at least 99 of them fail, but we don’t get disheartened as the one that is a success teaches us a lot. It is all a learning experience and we have a very hardworking and dedicated team. Creating skincare products has taught us a lot about passion and patience.

Could you tell us about the products in the pipeline that are set to launch in 2021?

We have two hugely exciting product launches lined up for next year, the first is a daily moisturiser that is incredibly light to apply, with the highest potency in terms of daily moisturisation. This product applies as a very light lotion that is almost water-like and you are left with an oil that is non-greasy and silky. We are also working on some more natural oils using essential oils for fragrance which is exciting as it takes us back into the natural space. Fragrance is a huge part of grooming that has been ignored for a long time, over time we have lost the understanding of what fragrance can do and we want to bring that back to the market.

What haven’t you done at Bio-Oil yet that you’d love to do?

There is always more to do as we work with oil, taking oil into different areas of skincare and seeing if we can make a better product. There are many products that we want to make using oil and we are deeply passionate about doing so. For example, we want to bring higher oil content into sunscreen and baby care, but we can only get there so fast when doing it properly. Our mission is to bring oil back to skincare, because skin loves oil and that is how you should be treating your skin.

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Images: Instagram @biooilusa