Why Try Yet Another Skincare Line? Aesop Banks on Quality Over Claims

Princess 19 on 4 May 2011 at 10:00am

The over-hyped, overcrowded skincare market in the U.S. claims everything from erasing spots to turning back time.  What makes having another store any different?  Giovanni Lepori, President of the Americas for Aesop skincare, tells us why his line is different.  Millions of loyal customers already know.

The 23 year-old Australian-based skincare line has had a presence in the U.S. for about a decade, sold at all Barneys locations.  But many of Aesop’s fans, which includes fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, encountered the products from traveling with store locations in cities throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia.

Why open now in the U.S.?

“It’s really the last major market we haven’t entered,” said Lepori.  “There are a lot of people that already know the brand because they have traveled and seen it.  They know the brand and they love the brand.”

But why do so many people love the brand?  According to Lepori, who first encountered the products 11 years ago on an Australian visit, it’s special because the line is unforgettable.

“The packaging is so different.  The scent is so different, that you don’t forget it.  It sticks to your mind,” he said.  “Our customers are very loyal and they keep coming back.”

When asked if the line makes any claims for anti-aging or reversal of sun damage, Lepori was quick to discount these points.

“We don’t make any anti-aging claims,” he said.  “We don’t make any claims in terms of what any typical skincare lines do.”

So what are there benefits to using the line? Since it's geared towards the urban dweller, the most widely known benefit is the anti-oxidants (which protects from free radicals) present in most of their products.  According to the company website, when used long term, application of anti-oxidants has also been shown to reduce spots and pigmentation of the skin.  Everything is tested in-house.

“We’re not about ‘looking 10 years younger.’  The company has never been about spending money on packaging or anything else superfluous.  We put money into the ingredients and making the best product we can make.  That’s been the company’s philosophy and we haven’t wavered from that.”

Surprisingly, Aesop does not claim to be a “green” company, despite the eager use of recycled and sustainable materials in their stores and the simplistic packaging.  For example, the store in Tokyo was made from an abandon house with reclaimed wood.  Glass is also used quite a bit to accommodate their product.

“Certainly there’s always been a green concern in terms of carbon footprint. We don’t claim to be ‘green,’” Lepori said.  “But, we are aware and respectful of the environment as much as possible.” 

So, what are the plans for the first U.S. stores?

“We will be opening our first free-standing stores on the continent.  The first one will actually be a kiosk in [NYC’s] Grand Central Station.  The first store will be in Nolita [NYC neighborhood].  We’re hoping in August.”

Two more New York City stores in University Place and the West Village have also been reported.

Lepori uses the entire line and does have favorites. Amongst them: the deodorant, the shaving serum (which he describes as “fantastic”) and Aesop’s B Triple C, the “best moisturizer he ever tried.”  He stresses, however, that people are all different and visiting a store and meeting with a consultant is the best “plan of action” to experience the line.  

The company just recently launched a Geranium body scrub to partner with the popular Geranium body wash and body balm.  Also on the horizon, as many have eagerly awaited, products with SPF.

“Once people try the line, they’re hooked.”

With that, what’s another line to try?

Aesop is currently available at Barneys or on their company site.

Photo Credit 1: Aesop Website/Barneys    Photo Credit 2: DesignBoom

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