Natural and Organic Cosmetics Camp 2020: Equal Exchange Despite The Crisis
[9th of July 2020, reading time 11 min] Authentic Eco Reacp Natural and Organic Cosmetics Barcamp. The “Natural and Organic Cosmetics Camp” is the BarCamp of the German natural and organic cosmetics industry. Around 120 people professionally involved in natural and organic cosmetics from different areas meet every year. There are natural and organic cosmetic brands, suppliers, resellers, agencies, associations, press and influencers, as well as customers. There is a fixed number of places for each of these areas. These places are reassigned every year, applying the rule: "First come, first served"!
At the NaturkosmetikCamp, the focus lies on personal exchange among the participants. In contrast to classic congresses or meetings, the BarCamp is driven by the topics that are of particular concern to the participants. There are no long lectures. Instead, discussions in individual sessions on topics are performed. The participants submit ideas and in advance. A vote among the topics is taken at the start of the BarCamp. The topics with the greatest response find a place in the session plan. After an opening event, the BarCampers have three days to exchange ideas and network in the sessions. At the same time, they enjoy the atmosphere at annually changing, sustainably designed conference venues.
Hello Future! Natural And Organic Cosmetics In The Hotel and Trade
This year the sixth natural and organic cosmetics camp should have taken place in beautiful Tyrol. The motto this year was “Hello future! Natural cosmetics in the hotel and trade”.
I was particularly excited in the run-up to the event, as it was my first time as a partner with Authentic Eco. To help orient myself I had reserved a few days before the actual camp for hiking in Tyrol. I wanted to explore the beauty of nature there and let the fresh air clear my head. The idea of starting the exchange at the natural and organic cosmetics camp in the midst of beautiful nature was particularly good. But everything turned out differently than planned. The exceptional situation due to Coronavirus made it impossible to drive to Tyrol.
But the organizer Wolfgang Falkner and his team were flexible. Without further ado, they set up an online version of the natural and organic cosmetics camp. It was a novelty for them as well as for many participants. But it turned out as an inspiring experience for everyone.
Now all BarCampers were able to take part in the sessions on three consecutive afternoons online via Zoom in the video chat. In addition to the opening and closing event for all BarCampers, there were four online sessions to choose from for each participant.
I chose the following sessions:
Session: The Future Of Natural And Organic Cosmetics Under The Influence Of Megatrends And Pandemics
This session held by Mirja Eckert, THE NEW, was one of the highlights at this year's natural and organic cosmetics camp. Mirja took over the “natural cosmetic concepts” from Elfriede Dambacher. The market research in the field of natural cosmetics is now in her hands. The interest was correspondingly high. This year in particular, forecasts for natural and organic cosmetics were more popular than ever.
Mirja pointed out that certified natural and organic cosmetics is driving the growth of the international cosmetics market. This global market grows by 22 million euros per year. Asia and China in particular are leading the growth. Natural cosmetics worth €1.38 billion were sold in Germany in 2019. The share of sales in the entire German cosmetics market is currently 18.6%. The costumer reach turned out as 26.8%.
What is striking is an increasing verticalization among manufacturers. The principle of verticalization in online marketing means that the classic responsibilities between manufacturers and retailers are overlapping more and more. Nowadays brands are increasingly responsible for their external appearance, customer loyalty, advice and direct sales.
What Are Megatrends And How Do They Affect Natural And Organic Cosmetics?
After looking at the latest figures from the natural and organic cosmetics market, Mirja explained the special features of megatrends. I hadn't thought about the definition of the word before. What neither I nor most of the other participants had in mind was the scope of megatrends.
According to Mirja's definition, megatrends encompass personal, social, political, economic and scientific levels in equal measure. Megatrends are slow, long-term, global, complex and omnipresent. They have a half-life of 30 years and act as an early warning system for society. Digitalization, individualization, the development of a neo-ecology and a holistic understanding of health in an aging society have proven to be particularly relevant for the natural cosmetics market. All of these components together lead to social change. New lifestyles and life plans emerge. This in turn means that the future consumer behavior of natural cosmetics customers will change also.
For natural cosmetics companies, this means that they should address their customers in a very differentiated manner. In the future it will be more important than ever to carefully analyze the diversity of life situations, new longings, wishes, needs, priorities and fears. This is the only way to find and reach target customers.
It was interesting for me that Mirja did not see sustainability as a megatrend. In their view, sustainability is, and remains, omnipresent. It is no longer a CAN, but a MUST.
In addition to the detailed customer approach, natural and organic cosmetics companies should clearly communicate their social commitment, their values and their destiny to the world. Because, again and again, new marketing terms like "Conscious Beauty" will cause confusion. The customers of the future, however, want comprehensible authenticity.
It was also discussed in the session that the boundaries between the analog and digital worlds will continue to blur. Furthermore, according to Mirja, limited availability of raw materials and a lack of planning for the natural and organic cosmetics market will be just as central as the ubiquitous hygiene management.
Session: Corporate Communication After 2020 – Online Video As A Challenge, But Also An Opportunity
In his session of the same name, Jörg Pattiss, from Jörg Pattiss Online Video Marketing, discussed how online videos will influence corporate communication in the future. In this topic it became clear – during the Coronavirus crisis – that many natural cosmetics companies have reorganized their training concepts. Since offline seminars and workshops had disappeared from one day to the next, it was necessary to make the switch to online very quickly.
I was happy to hear that many participants reported very positive experiences here. It turned out that Zoom is used a lot. In recent months, it has become clear that specialist conferences, team meetings or customer meetings do not always have to be associated with long journeys and physical attendance. The online variant has proved to be useful and helps to save resources.
It was rated positively that videos can very well meet the need for explanation of natural and organic cosmetics. The session participants agreed that new online media can complement the old ones very well if they are used sensibly. But what the BarCamper lacked in all online communication was personal networking.
Session: How Does Natural Cosmetics Bridge The Gap Between The Analog And Digital World?
In her session, Susan Kampfhammer from Organic Beauty Consulting explored the question of how natural and organic cosmetics companies can connect the analog with the digital world. During this session it became clear that the growing online and mobile trend must be accompanied by adequate technical implementation of the online presence. Online marketing cannot be imagined without SEO optimization and responsive design. A coordinated social media presence is also important for every natural cosmetics brand, in order to enable an emotional and personalized customer experience.
Digital trends such as virtual sales points, apps for styling advice, personal shopping assistants or chatbots in customer service will also find their way into natural and organic cosmetics.
A sophisticated combination of offline and online channels that is tailored to the company is recommended. For example, advice and promotions for stationary sales can be set up online. Your own online presence can be pushed through promotions in the shop. The strength lies in the right combination of all channels. This way the customer approach reaches a new level and becomes very flexible.
Session: As A Community Of The Certified Natural And Organic Cosmetics Industry Into The New Decade
I designed this session based on my experiences with my online platform, Authentic Eco. My goal was to explore the possibilities of digital networking in the natural and organic cosmetics community together with the participants.
The central question was: How can we better connect existing offline communities online? We also discussed the opportunities that digital, cross-border communication can have in a community and how natural cosmetics could benefit from joint positioning across a community.
We all agreed that a common, comprehensive and international community is needed by all natural cosmetics stakeholders. The idea of creating a central online location, where companies can get to know one another and exchange information internationally, where experts have their say, and which can be used as a learning platform, met with particular interest. This digital natural cosmetics community should promote exchange and encourage cooperation. Together we can move a lot faster, from projects to promotions to knowledge transfer.
There was a particularly intense discussion about the common basis of the natural and organic cosmetics industry and who should belong to an online natural cosmetics community. BarCamper's suggestions ranged from companies with a fixed percentage of natural cosmetics in the entire range to natural and organic cosmetics certification as a criterion. There is certainly still some need for discussion here.
The consistently positive response to a digital natural and organic cosmetics community and the many ideas for its design made me very happy in the session. Stay tuned! At this point I can reveal that the Authentic Eco B2B natural cosmetics community will open its doors this summer. All players in the industry are cordially invited!
Further Sessions Of The Natural And Organic Cosmetics Camp 2020
In parallel to the sessions I chose, more took place on the following topics:
Dr. Inez Linke from Oceanwell discussed with her session participants whether sustainable packaging really exists, and explored ways of implementing the concept of sustainability in packaging as a company. Stephan Becker from benecos discussed with the participants what the opportunities, both of the common and specialist trade, can be. What it could look like to shop online locally instead of globally – David versus Amazon – the BarCampers discussed in the session of Lisa-Marie and David Faber from Peritus Webdesign. Mei Gräfe from Intergate Consulting led a session on "From the resilience of entrepreneurship – the Chinese cosmetics industry after the big shutdown". The question of which chemicals can be contained in creams was answered by David Hauck from Dr. Hauck with his interlocutors. Franziska Breisinger from AOT held a session on: "How do we deal with residues in cosmetic raw materials and oils?" How natural cosmetics and sustainability can look in the hotel industry was the topic of Rica Friedl from the Bio-Hotel Bayerischer Wirt. In her session, Carola Muschke from PromPeru used Peru as an example to illustrate how raw materials come to Europe.
As in previous years, Wolfgang Falkner and his hardworking moderators created mind maps for all discussions. This made the contents discussed tangible for all participants.
How Have The Natural And Organic Cosmetics Companies Experienced The Corona Period So Far?
At this year's natural and organic cosmetics camp, the all-pervading question was how the participants had dealt with the exceptional Coronavirus situation so far. The three partners of the panel discussion at the opening of the Natural and Organic Cosmetics Camp gave an insight into this. Nele Ziehm from organic wholesaler Weiling reported that the onslaught of the first few days after the crisis was hardly manageable. The demand for natural cosmetics also increased. Roland Fink from Niceshops was also pleased about the strong sales volume. Christiane Wegger from the organic shop in Tulln quickly divided her team into two independently working shifts. In this way, she was able to optimally combine the safety of their employees and the maintenance of business operations. She was happy about a higher influx of new customers in her organic shop.
I found it very motivating that other participants also reported a pragmatic and flexible response to the crisis situation. Work processes were adjusted, safety clearances were granted, the home office was activated. The security and up-to-date information of the employees were of particular importance. Many BarCampers described the friendly interaction in their own company, such as with business partners and customers, as being very constructive.
I think that, especially in this year's exceptional situation, the values that have shaped the organic scene and the natural cosmetics industry have proven their worth. Our common basic motivation is to run a business that is good for people and natural world. This basic idea is reflected in appreciative and fair cooperation and long-term business relationships.
Despite the extreme situation, the mood in the camp was hopeful and positive. The knowledge that the idea of sustainability, and thus one of the basic values of the natural cosmetics industry, played an increasingly important role in the consciousness of customers in the course of the coronavirus crisis also contributed to this.
“NaturkosmetikCamp 2020 Goes Online” – My Conclusion
With its direct exchange via the Internet, the Natural and Organic Cosmetics Camp 2020 was a unique event in the natural cosmetics industry. Although I – like many other participants – missed the spontaneous discussions before and after the sessions and the personal networking, the online version of the Natural Cosmetics Camp was also professionally enriching for me. In my opinion, the online natural and organic cosmetics camp planned as a corona-driven alternative was very successful and shows opportunities for a future combination of offline and online events.
The Date For The Natural Cosmetics Camp 2021 Is Already Set:
Friday, 18th till Sunday, 20th of June 2021 | Hotel Panorama Royal, Bad Häring/Tirol Registration start on 1st of February 2021, 0.00 Uhr – first come, first served | 120 places
We look forward to new, interesting topics and – once again – individual and personal exchange.
Photo credits: fauxels von Pexels, Tirachard Kumtanom von Pexel, Lisa Fotios von Pexels, fauxels von Pexels, Daria Shevtsova von Pexels, James Wheeler von Pexels, Felix Mittermeier von Pexels und Chris Montgomery von Unsplash