In a flooded CBD market, Lab to Beauty has carved out a distinct place in the luxury tier at retailers, e-tailers and hotels such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Beauty Collection, Inscape, Olivela, Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Four Seasons Santa Barbara. Now, the brand is taking its high-end approach beyond the United States to German beauty retailer Douglas. CBD beauty and wellness products haven’t yet infiltrated European shoppers’ beauty cabinets as they have stateside, but the segment has been gaining traction despite a complicated regulatory environment in the European Union. Enthusiasm for cannabis-enhanced products is especially acute in Germany, which, according to a recent article in Forbes, is the largest market for CBD products in Europe.
Lab to Beauty is the brainchild of entrepreneurial siblings Katherine and Alison Ragusa, who are CEO and brand director, respectively of The Advantage Co., a family-owned company with brands spanning the fashion, tech and beauty categories, including affordable clean beauty line Bogavia and natural personal care player Pure + Fresh in addition to Lab to Beauty. Beauty Independent Germany spoke to Katherine Ragusa about Lab to Beauty’s growth, launching it in the German market, the rise of CBG as an active ingredient in skincare and more.
What inspired you and your sister launch Lab to Beauty?
The name Lab to Beauty is inspired by the farm-to-table movement. It is a homage. I wanted to create a similar movement in the beauty industry with a focus on plants and making clean a priority. I was fascinated by the growing popularity of CBD and wanted to create a clean beauty brand that would position itself in the luxury category. With Alison’s background as a holistic health expert and beauty chef, it was a natural fit for both of us. Alison and I have been creating natural beauty products together for a decade. We both felt there was something very special about CBD and its universal, soothing properties. It was a necessary part of the beauty landscape for us.
How has your brand developed over the last two years?
We launched into the luxury segment at Barneys New York in November 2018. As Beauty Independent so aptly described it, “Lab to Beauty raises CBD to the top league of the beauty category.” Since day one, it has been our goal to constantly advance the clean beauty world within the luxury market. In the last two years, our brand has evolved in different categories, from face and body to bath and haircare, wellness and even a complete CBG line. A new therapeutic and B3 product range will also be released soon, including a targeted pain treatment, Hit the Spot Balm.
You started with CBD and have now launched a line with CBG. What is the difference between the effects of CBD and CBG on skin?
CBG, like CBD, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. CBG on the other hand has excellent moisture-retention properties, which we found remarkably interesting. It helps to tackle dry skin disorder from which many people suffer.
Lab to Beauty’s line of CBD-infused skincare, haircare, body care and ingestibles ranges from $25 to $85.
What has been your proudest moment with Lab to Beauty?
We had our proudest moment thanks to Randall P. Welch, Saks Fifth Avenue’s selling director. He said Lab to Beauty is “the best CBD line in the industry, and that’s that.”
You’ve founded several beauty brands. What are the three most important things to consider when starting a beauty brand?
First, to have a mission and believe in it. Secondly, to remain flexible, always adaptable, and willing to develop further. And, thirdly, to treat accounts and customers like kings and queens.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a beauty brand founder?
The importance of continuous innovation. This drive for innovation is something our father taught us.
Lab to Beauty has just launched in Germany at Douglas. What opportunities do you see in the German market?
We believe there is an opportunity to highlight CBD in the luxury segment in Germany and Europe. We are thrilled to be working with Douglas and are looking forward to further developing the category as much as possible. The industry needs a serious, clean, pure CBD skincare collection that offers a spa-like experience.
How do you think Lab to Beauty can expand the German market’s awareness of CBD?
Lab to Beauty offers German customers a holistic and luxurious CBG beauty routine. The true purity of Lab to Beauty makes our products stand out from the rest.
Who are Lab to Beauty’s customers?
The Lab to Beauty female customer is both ambitious and curious. It is important for her to make conscious choices, and she also wants to feel special and likes being part of something. She wants to know what she uses and why. She treats it very carefully and values the small details. We believe that our new generation CBD is luxurious and that our high-quality standards make every product attractive to our customers.
But Lab to Beauty is also for men: He is a luxury connoisseur who cares about his health. He has style and is creative. The customer focuses on quality, finds the aesthetics of Lab to Beauty compelling and loves the sensation and the result.
What products do you think will be top sellers in Germany?
The Green Cure Mask is one of our hero products, and anyone who’s tried it has said they experienced a cleaner, soothed skin. The Quick Fix Serum and The Better Body Serum are likely to become top sellers as well.
What are your expansion plans for Europe?
Our main focus in Europe and globally continues to be based on building relationships with a select group of premier market leaders such as Douglas of Germany and Rinascente of Italy. My sister Alison is anxious to get back to Europe to further develop the great foundation we have begun to build. Unfortunately, we have to wait until the travel ban is lifted. Nevertheless, we have been able to initiate a great launch in Europe with Douglas.
How have sales been in the past year?
In addition to our launch in Europe, we continue to curate relationships worldwide that maximize our market position. Our sales volume initiatives will not begin until we are satisfied that we have achieved a dominant position at the top of the market.