The cosmetics world is mourning the loss of one if its most passionate and innovative figures, after the passing of Horst Rechelbacher from pancreatic cancer.
Rechelbacher, who had been working up until very recently, was scheduled to be a speaker at next week’s Cosmetics Vision event, but had pulled out earlier in the year, citing that doctors had advised him not to attend on account of his poor health.
The Austria-born environmentalist died Saturday the 15th at his home in Osceola, Wisconsin, which was also the farm where crops were grown for his Intelligent Nutrients business.
Outpouring of tributes
Since his passing, there has been an outpouring of tributes and memories from colleagues and industry professionals who were either touched or inspired by his vision.
“He brought holistic beauty to the industry, connecting hair, face, and body as one. He was a life-long student who journeyed around the world gathering knowledge on the benefits of plants and Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India,” said global brand president of Aveda, Dominique Conseil.
“Beyond a business, Aveda became a lifestyle and a global movement empowering many to live more balanced lives to achieve a sense of harmony in body, mind and spirit. He brought a caring high-touch experience to the salon industry well before starting Aveda.”
In a simple message on the Intelligent Nutrients website, the company stated that the ‘outpouring of inspiring messages about Horst have been beautiful and powerful’.
Rechelbacher set up Aveda in 1978, establishing it as the forerunner in the natural and organic cosmetics and personal care category before selling it to Estee Lauder Companies in 1997 for $300m.
From humble beginnings to a multi-million dollar corporation
Starting the Aveda business with a staff of just two people, he built an international brand that became renowned for its eco-friendly products with a simple but luxurious touch.
The success of the brand and the sum he managed to bank after selling it, enabled him to then establish the Intelligent Nutrient brand, a health and beauty brand that is formulated with organic certified ingredients.
Practicing what he preached, Rechelbacher set up his 560 acre farm in Osceola, which he also turned into a retreat as well as highlighting it as an example of how solar, wind and geothermal energy sources could be used to grow organic ingredients for cosmetics.