Aesop’s blend of science and nature torpedoes the guff that defines much of the beauty industry.
When I say I use Aesop products, most men and women’s reaction is unanimously enthusiastic, with a feeling that those who have discovered the brand are in on a treasured secret. The fragrance is incredible, the packaging is basic and the designed stores are distinctive! But most of all: using something from Aesop feels special.
For those who are not familiar with the skincare brand: Founded in Australia out of a small salon in 1987, Aesop has redefined the way we think about luxury skin, body and hair-care and defied common business wisdom to become an inimitable global player.
The Australian brand shuns some of the marketing techniques widely embraced by other brands and serves as sober antidote to over-marketed, tasteless ugliness which seems to be the norm in the beauty industry. Aesop doesn’t come up with a new product on the basis of needing a new launch, or to be at war against others. The brand doesn’t look at what other companies are doing and they are not influenced by trends. Thank god they don’t do celebrity endorsement and they don’t speak about anti-aging. They talk about health! All focus is on the product and its quality and the understanding that you need a blend of well-chosen man-made ingredients with exceptional botanical ingredients to make remarkable products. All its products are paraben-free and largely ‘botanical’, drawing heavily on antioxidant-rich parsley-seed extract.
The distinct packaging supports this radical philosophy, for all formulas are housed in near-identical brown bottles - like those that you would find in 19th century pharmacies- and squeezable beige tubes. It is designed this way so as not to detract attention from the products inside. “We aspire toward a certain quality, discretion and restraint in our work”, says Aesop’s founder Dennis Paphitis, a hairdresser turned chemist, who grew up in Melbourne as the only boy in a Greek family of barbers. Since they don’t advertise their designed shops, part art galleries, part-labs serve as an incredible marketing tool. No two stores are of the same design and Paphitis enjoys working with different architects around the world.
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