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PURE BEGINNINGS CELEBRATES 10 YEARS!
For the team at Pure Beginnings 2017 has been a much-anticipated year. As one of South Africa’s most loved and trusted organic skin care brands, the company is proudly celebrating ten years of bringing quality organic products to the South African market.
In early 2006 Kate Moore-Gordon, a chartered accountant, dreamed of change. She had a stable job in a well-respected company, but wanted to do something more meaningful with her time, energy and passion. After looking at different options, she purchased a natural diabetic supplement business. Part of growing the supplement range required developing a natural diabetic foot cream, and “Recharge Your Feet” was developed. Through the formulation of this product, Kate’s eyes were opened to the use of natural and organic products, and it was here that her passion for these products was born.
Newly married, and anticipating starting a family, Kate saw a gap in the market for an organic baby skin care range. She envisioned creating an attractive and fun skin care brand which was organic and free of potentially harmful chemical and synthetic ingredients.
Pure Beginnings was born
The very first Pure Beginnings products were launched in November 2006, with three baby skin care products available in the range. The baby wash, baby lotion and bum cream remain some of the most sought-after products in the range to this day. Shortly after the launch of these three products, the company launched their wet wipes. Unfortunately for this fledgling company, the high cost of the organic ingredients, coupled with low manufacturing volumes, made it difficult to sell these carefully formulated products at a competitive price. Retail chains were hesitant to stock the products and sales were limited to only a few independent health shops.
However, Kate persevered, and as the business slowly grew, Kate’s husband Bruce came on board. Together they knocked on doors, attended trade shows and continued to build the business. Progress was tough and slow. Returning from a trade show with a trailer as full of their products as when they had left, they felt defeated and de-motivated. Despite what felt like enormous challenges, they persisted, believing in their dream and their products.
“We realized that the South African market was not ready for organic skin care, and to be successful we had a long road ahead in educating the consumer on the benefits of organic products,” says Kate.
“There were many periods of financial woes and we nearly gave it all up. If it was not for the financial and business support of Kate’s father, Rob Howard, who was a founding shareholder in the business, we would not be where we are today. He encouraged us to persevere and work hard towards our dream,” adds Bruce.
Placing Pure Beginnings in the hands of consumers
For a long period, the brand was limited to small independent health stores, but thanks to ongoing product development, by 2012 Pure Beginnings had a full baby, kids and adult range. This brave decision to expand the brand from purely baby products to kids and adult ranges, led to significant growth. With improved prices on organic ingredients, and larger volumes being requested, pricing was now more competitive. This formula was a winning one, and after 6 years of dedicated work, South Africa’s largest baby retailer, Baby City opened their doors to Pure Beginnings. Baby City provided a countrywide retail platform, and allowed Pure Beginnings to target consumers who traditionally would not shop at health or wellness stores. Pure Beginnings was finally available in the mainstream retail environment! This was a huge victory (and big relief) for this family run business.
An increase in the awareness of the organic movement, coupled with the availability of Pure Beginnings within the mainstream retail environment, meant that the demand for products which were safe, effective and free from harmful ingredients was growing. This was particularly noticeable within the baby sector, as new parents began showing increasing interest and concern over the ingredients used in traditional baby products.
“We started Pure Beginnings with the vision to provide South African consumers with safer, healthier products for their babies and children. We are delighted that our products are now readily available in a wider range of stores, making it easier for parents to make informed choices.”
Pure Beginning’s portfolio of retail clients continued to grow. In 2015 the brand launched into Toys R Us (Babies R Us) and in 2016 the range was finally available at Dis-Chem. This, combined with the availability of their products at Baby City, Wellness Warehouse, independent health stores and numerous online stores, meant that the company’s retail footprint had expanded extensively. Organic baby and kids’ products were now easily accessible and affordable to millions of families in South Africa.
“We started Pure Beginnings with the vision to provide South African consumers with safer, healthier products for their babies and children,” says Bruce Moore-Gordon. “We are delighted that our products are now readily available in a wider range of stores, making it easier for parents to make informed choices.
Accreditation and Business Principles
Pure Beginnings has always valued a holistic approach, not just in their product formulation, but also in the way they run their business. They believe in developing relationships with retailers, customers and suppliers, and continue to operate as a small family-focused business. The brand has always been proudly vegan and committed to Beauty Without Cruelty (is not tested on animals), and all their products are organic and free from harmful chemicals. Kate and Bruce have taken this holistic approach one step further, by including several fair-trade ingredients in their range (through Phytotrade Africa).
In 2011, Pure Beginnings was listed in John Lewis (a high-end department store in the UK). It was here that Bruce and Kate learned that, to compete in an international market, certification was essential.
While the brand has always been organic, it was in 2014 that Pure Beginnings made the decision to certify with Ecocert Greenlife. An international inspection and certification body, Ecocert’s strict standards for natural and organic cosmetics ensures that harmful ingredients are excluded from all products, and that each raw material used complies with their ecological requirements, thereby guaranteeing their full traceability. Ecocert also addresses packaging standards and production methods.
While the South African market continued to expand, Bruce and Kate had their eyes on a bigger goal – going global. In 2016 the brand became compliant for the EU market, and a warehouse was established in the Netherlands. Having promoted Pure Beginnings at numerous international trade shows, various retailers and distributors who had previously expressed interest in the brand, were now able to purchase it. Pure Beginnings is now successfully exporting to over 10 countries, including Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, Taiwan and Singapore.
Pure Beginnings is (and always has been) organic. Apart from a desire to create products free from the chemicals found in many conventional personal care products, Bruce and Kate also wanted the raw ingredients used in the manufacture of their products to be free from any residual chemicals resulting from farming practices where these ingredients were grown.
All their products are pH balanced at the same pH as the skin (4.5 – 5.5). Any ingredients that disrupt the skin’s pH are excluded. Only ultra-mild surfactants which do not strip the skin of its natural oils or cause irritation or sensitivity are used. Natural vegetable oils are used as the base, thereby avoiding petrochemicals completely. Essential oils are used for their therapeutic properties and to add natural fragrances, and synthetic fragrances and colourants are avoided.
Pure Beginnings closely follows the latest scientific research in the treatment of skin, and always considers this when formulating new or updating existing products. As an example, because of the ground-breaking research that has been done on the Human Microbiome Project, they have recently introduced a probiotic baby range for sensitive skin which actively feeds the skin with probiotics (good microbes).
“The inclusion of probiotics into the new range is a technological innovation that will assist in shifting the balance of microbes on the skin in favour of good, beneficial species, thereby outcompeting and excluding pathogenic microbes”, states Bruce.
As pioneers in the South African organic baby skin care market, Pure Beginnings has a great platform from which to educate the public about the importance of organic skin care. A critical part of growing their business comes from the use of a team of professional nurses, who use their expertise and product knowledge to continuously educate child birth educators, retailers and customers on the benefits of organic skin care.
Refreshing the look
Pure Beginnings has certainly evolved since the launch of those first few products back in 2006. Whilst the bottles, tubes and animated characters may have changed over the years, the products are still the same ones you have come to know, trust and love.
Over the years the brand has also spent much time considering their packaging and how it functions, all the while doing their best to hold to recycling and sustainable practices.
From their humble beginnings to the current global company, for Kate and Bruce there has always been one overriding principle:
“Pure Beginnings believes in keeping your skin as pure as the day you were born by providing high quality, effective, organic skin care products that care for you and your family’s skin, and are not harmful to the environment, giving peace of mind from the beginning”.
As a family owned, family oriented business with the health of the consumer at the heart of their business, you can rest assured that Pure Beginnings will continue to provide the highest quality organic products for many years to come.