Q&A: Indie brand founder discusses debut collection's formulation process

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"I decided to launch the brand now because I saw an opportunity to offer products with powerful natural ingredients that may not be readily available for purchase in the U.S.," said CCULTURE Founder and Managing Director Lisa Paik. © mapo Getty Images
"I decided to launch the brand now because I saw an opportunity to offer products with powerful natural ingredients that may not be readily available for purchase in the U.S.," said CCULTURE Founder and Managing Director Lisa Paik. © mapo Getty Images

Related tags Botanical extracts Indie beauty Skin care

CCULTURE's products feature unique botanical components like the Australian Kakadu plum to offer consumers products formulated with ingredients that are 'underutilized on the mainstream market.'

Indie brand CCULTURE has recently launched its debut collection of botanical skin and hair care products. Inspired by Founder and Managing Director Lisa Paik's extensive travel experience and informed by her background in corporate beauty planning, the collection features unique formulations for creams, serums, and moisturizers made with natural ingredients. 

To learn more about the background behind the brand launch, the product collection's formulation and development, and the ingredient selection process, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Paik for her insights. 

CDU: What's the main inspiration for your brand, and why have you chosen to launch it now?

LP​: The brand was inspired by recent global travels. I was immersed in cultures abroad and discovered some notable natural skin and hair care ingredients uncommon in the mainstream U.S. market. Based on these experiences, CCULTURE aims to pay tribute to the best in botanical beauty globally rather than follow the latest beauty buzz trends. 

I decided to launch the brand now because I saw an opportunity to offer products with powerful natural ingredients that may not be readily available for purchase in the U.S. While there are a vast number of beauty brands currently in the market, I believe there is still room for authentic natural beauty brands to formulate new, unique formulas that will benefit the consumer and improve overall skin and hair health. 

Similar to the whole foods movement, which became mainstream in the past few decades, I believe beauty consumers will become increasingly better educated in the benefits of natural beauty and prioritize incorporating it into their ongoing regimens. 

CDU: What is unique or stands out about the brand or the story behind it?

LP​: As founder, product formulator, and brand strategist with almost a decade of experience in corporate beauty, I spend a lot of time and detail in product planning and believe this combination of roles supports the brand's pillar for a steadfast commitment to delivering unique quality anti-aging products. 

I am fascinated by the synergy between the earth's natural resources and the body's ability to nourish, grow, and heal from them, so I am always actively researching natural ingredients and taking a step beyond that to find which ingredients' nutritional benefits have the most optimal effects for anti-aging since there is a finite number of products that a consumer can buy and apply. 

I will only launch a product that I believe is worthy of being on shelves, which is why the launch collection may look incomplete right now, but behind the scenes, I am working on refining formulas for a cleanser, toner, and more.

The brand is also founded on aiming for a "farm to bottle" strategy to support local economies worldwide by sourcing ingredients directly when possible and manufacturing the end product in the United States to support the domestic economy where the company is based.  

CDU:​ Can you explain more about the unusual ingredients you have used in the line and the story behind them?

LP​: I lived in Paris for 2+ years, where I was exposed to many botanical ingredients that I had never heard of in the mainstream U.S. market. I started testing them out for myself and was impressed by ingredient efficacy and quality, the latter of which I believe is a result of the European Union's high agricultural standards. 

From there, I took the initiative to learn as much as possible and discovered some amazing ingredients throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, and the Americas. Just as traveling encourages people to learn, embrace, and grow from differences in cultures, ultimately benefiting from what's unfamiliar, I was able to take this same approach with beauty ingredients.  

CDU:​ What is your favorite ingredient in the collection, and why?

LP​: This is a little like choosing your favorite child because there are many, but if I had to choose one, it would be the Kakadu plum from Australia. It is the most concentrated source of Vitamin C (55x more than an orange) and a rich antioxidant source (5x more than blueberries). 

While popular in a small sect of the natural beauty community, it is underutilized in the mainstream market, in my opinion. It is a key ingredient in our Advanced Gel Cream Moisturizer, a product that has generated great feedback and a following in a short period.

CDU:​ Who is your target consumer?

LP​: Our target consumer is focused on anti-aging, nutrition, and wellness, seeking to expand a healthy lifestyle regimen into their daily beauty routine. 

CDU:​ What are your ultimate goals for the brand? Where would you like to see it in five years?

LP​: I don't necessarily have aspirations, as some startup brands do, for a presence with national retailers or big investment dollar funding, as I've observed some pitfalls of where this path can lead. If I've created a sustainable collection that has a solid brand reputation and improved skin and hair wellness results for customers in five years, I will have reached my goals.                                                                                   

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