Fashion & Beauty Thursday
Cluera – authentic luxury cosmetics
»For me, true luxury means responsibility towards resources, people and nature.«
Dear Thomas, please introduce us to yourself and Cluera.
I spent many years working as a marketing consultant for foreign companies. Once I managed a project for an Asian (beauty) brand in the luxury segment. It quickly became clear to me that most of the products were only designed to achieve quick effects, such as optimised absorption behaviour, a velvety skin sensation or a smoothing effect, with very controversially discussed and questionable ingredients. This shocked me and I thought that it should also be possible to achieve the same results with a combination of high-end biotechnology and other high-quality active ingredients.
Instead of focusing on controversial ingredients and quick effects with short duration, I put the focus on sustainability and skin health. The idea of my own clean-care line was born: Cluera Clean Care, short for: The-clue-of-our-era, because that’s what it is. In addition to the composition, everyone can inform themselves transparently on our website about the products. Also, our packaging and the logistics are aligned with sustainability and social responsibility. Sustainability ‘works’ only 360°, if you are honest about it.
What distinguishes clean beauty from normal cosmetics or natural cosmetics?
Conventional cosmetics often use questionable ingredients to achieve quick, short-lived effects. It has nothing in common with Clean Beauty or natural cosmetics, neither in terms of the content nor in terms of the effect. ‘Clean’ is often equated with ‘exclusively natural ingredients’, i.e., with natural cosmetics. Of course, natural cosmetics are also ‘clean’, no question about that. However, unfortunately, some ingredients, such as natural fragrances, can have allergenic effects and lead to very unpleasant skin reactions. Of course, there are many first-class brands in natural cosmetics, I would like to emphasise that.
The creation of Cluera was a logical consequence of my experiences. I was looking for transparency, sustainability and conscious consumption, also with regards to the development of a product. I wanted effective and sustainable results. The use of biotechnologically derived high-performance active ingredients justifies our positioning in the premium segment and characterises our brand, also in comparison to natural cosmetics.
I am convinced that brands that act transparently and sustainably will not only find their niche but will also be increasingly demanded by the market.
How do you define luxury?
The definition of luxury is currently undergoing a reinterpretation. In the past, people thought of caviar, champagne, jewels and many overpriced ‘luxury goods’ when speaking of ‘indulging in luxury’. ‘Expensive is good’, was the maxim. Fortunately, society is now better informed and educated. Today, good is what does me lasting good and harms neither me nor others.
Nevertheless, I do not want to diminish the aesthetic and absolutely justified enjoyment and appreciation of ‘beautiful and also sometimes expensive things’. Self-love is important and healthy if it is sustainably oriented and follows the right values. For me, true luxury means responsibility towards resources, people and nature.
What would you hope for from the cosmetics industry and the consumers in the future?
The cosmetics industry will always deliver what the consumer demands, – by the way, this applies to all industries. ‘Whoever pays, decides!’ It all comes down to consumer knowledge. We are fortunate that our female customers are extremely well informed and want to see their demands for honest transparency and sustainability met.
A good example of how a new market based on shared values can establish itself is the food industry. We are paying more attention to origin, social responsibility, processing, quality and ingredients. ‘You are what you eat!’ Consumers have demanded it, and start-ups with new, interesting brands have emerged.
Another indication of the positive trend towards sustainability and social progress is that meanwhile the much-maligned players in the financial markets are responding. For example, efforts are being made to determine the sustainability of companies by means of AI and not just to rely on corresponding agencies.
I would like to see the Clean Beauty trend continue in cosmetics, and for our brand Cluera to become synonymous with and a guarantor of ‘premium effectiveness: clean and sustainable’ in the perception of consumers.
What are the moments that gave you the impetus and confirmed you to continue on this path?
There were a few… when we commissioned the product development in Switzerland, we could immediately sense the enthusiasm of the people in charge. They enjoyed the task of finding this alternative path that I wanted. To develop premium products that deserve this name and to focus on sustainable skin health instead of quick effects. I remember the first meeting there with the product manager very well. I was quite nervous, as I was aware that my specifications would not meet everyday expectations. After the mutual sounding out of positions, she said with a smile: “Mr. Fortkord, you’re asking us to be the egg-laying, woolly-lactating sow.”
And there was the first feedback from clients. They ranged from an exhilarated “Hey, your hand serum is really great! My hands are fine again, it doesn’t smear and even helps with sore nappy bottoms”, to touching moments, for example when a customer said that despite her very sensitive skin, she was able to apply decorative cosmetics again, which had been unthinkable for many years. After all the effort and the long journey, I was very touched by this.