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. During the development process of a diabetic footcare product in another brand she was involved, Kate’s eyes were opened to the use of natural and organic products, and it was here that her passion for natural and organic skin care 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, 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.
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 became available at Dis-Chem, and 2019 launched into the upmarket food retailer Woolworths. This combined with the availability of their products at numerous independent health and 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.
CERTIFICATION AND GOING GLOBAL
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, organic certification was essential.
While the brand has always been organic, it was in 2014 that Pure Beginnings made the decision to certify with Ecocert. An international inspection and certification body, Ecocert’s strict standards for natural and organic cosmetics made it the perfect company to give our products the ‘stamp of approval’ required by consumers that were becoming aware of ‘greenwashing’. It also provided us with the checks and balances to ensure that we were doing the right thing.
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 with EU cosmetic regulations, 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 conveniently from a European Warehouse. Pure Beginnings is now successfully exporting to over 10 countries across Europe as well as South East Asia.
REFRESHING THE BRAND
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.
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 this journey to provide the highest quality organic products for many years to come.
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