While Others Go Niche, Small World Brands Has Big Plans For Its First Of Several Global Brands
Small World Brands, a new beauty and wellness company, is going big with its first brand, Nuria, by establishing a global footprint and advocating for gender equality through girls’ education.
Led by Naomi Furgiuele, a 15-year Johnson & Johnson veteran who was formerly vice president of global beauty for face and sun-care research and development, Nuria is starting off with two product collections – Defend and Hydrate – inspired by and formulated with ingredients from several parts of the world for customers in their 20s and 30s confronting an array of skin issues from acne to fine lines. A portion of the brand’s sales are dedicated to the non-profit organization She’s the First to improve high school graduation rates.
“The essence of the brand is developing globally-curated skincare products and creating a community of women to share global beauty wisdom,” says Furgiuele, co-founder, and chief strategy and technology officer at Small World Brands. “It’s for women to learn from each other about how to best care for their skin and to help the next generation of women by supporting education.”
Nuria draws upon ingredients passed down from generation to generation that are known to be effective for certain skin conditions. The Hydrate collection that’s beginning with a serum and micellar water turns to Europe to find the building blocks for its formulas such as everlasting flower oil and squalene from pressed olives, an ingredient dating back to the days of the Greek and Roman empires that combats dryness. The Defend collection containing an eye cream, night cream and serum journeys to Asia for ingredients such as ginseng root to fight wrinkles.
“We are blending modern science with naturals that have been used sometimes for centuries to address skincare problems,” says Furgiuele, adding, “Women don’t have the same skin concerns day by day. Their stress levels may change and their skin changes. We really need to offer a variety of solutions to meet her needs as her skin is changing.”
“The essence of the brand is developing globally-curated skincare products and creating a community of women to share global beauty wisdom.”
A Rescue collection with a cleanser and toner designed for breakouts and oily skin will soon join Hydrate and Defend, expected to be the bestselling range, in Nuria’s assortment. The brand is on track to have 15 to 20 products available by the end of the year. Currently, Nuria’s product prices run from $26 to $48, and Furgiuele places the brand within the premium skincare segment that’s seen tremendous growth of late. She suggests K-beauty’s surge demonstrates global beauty rituals intrigue premium beauty shoppers.
To inform product development, Small World Brands put together consumer panels in Japan, China, Singapore and the U.S. It tapped panel participants to provide information about their lives and skincare habits, and feedback on potential products. The brand has also been working with KOLs (key opinion leaders) in Asia to gather product insights and spread the word about its arrival. Instead of zeroing in on beauty influencers, Nuria targets influencers with global sensibilities and a hankering for travel.
“We take every opportunity to interact directly with women and talk to them about their beauty secrets, and the local ingredients they are using,” says Furgiuele, highlighting, for instance, “We want to really listen to what the woman in China is doing to to address the dullness she sees in her skin due to pollution.”
Nuria kicked off in Hong Kong with a pop-up in September and October and, last week, it landed on the Chinese mobile messaging and commerce app WeChat. In early December, Nuria will enter New York with a four-month pop-up. The brand’s primary focus for now is on direct-to-consumer efforts via its own website and WeChat, but it’s in discussions with retailers to take on its products.
“Our biggest challenge is this ambitious approach of launching globally at the outset. By starting globally, we really have to learn how to scale our business.”
To unveil Nuria both in North America and Asia, Small World Brands depended on a staff that has expertise in various markets. The staff assisted the brand in fortifying infrastructure to make global product sales possible and generating products that are applicable to multiple consumer audiences. Vegan and cruelty-free Nuria is relying on cross-border e-commerce to circumvent China’s animal-testing requirement.
“Our biggest challenge is this ambitious approach of launching globally at the outset. By starting globally, we really have to learn how to scale our business,” says Furgiuele. “This is a brand that doesn’t belong to one region or culture. We really want to meet global beauty needs.”
Small World Brands is a privately-funded company formed by a group of partners, according to Furgiuele. She declined to disclose the names of the partners involved. The founders have more than 70 years of consumer product and healthcare experience, and are from many countries. Small World Brands has a presence in the U.S., Singapore and Hong Kong.
For the remainder of the year, the company is concentrating on Nuria, which gets its name from the Arabic word for “light,” “luminous” or “bright,” but the number of brands is set to increase next year. A brand called Recharge Health is an upcoming Small World Brands portfolio entrant. Like Nuria, future brands will be constructed to roll out globally and have a social impact component.
“What you will see coming out of Small World Brands will always be happening in more than one market,” says Furgiuele, continuing, “Our philanthropic partner will not be the same, but the theme of doing good in the world world while we are developing these brands and bringing them to our consumers will be consistent.”