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10 February 2015 | beautystorebusiness.com BEAUTY STORE BUSINESS : How did you get your start? KENNEDY: I started modeling in New York when I was 20-years-old. During my modeling career, I appeared in international beauty magazines repre- senting cosmetic companies and always wondered why women in their forties, fifties and sixties would buy products modeled by a twenty-something whose photo had been retouched. I promised myself that when I reached the "old age of 40," I wouldn't fall for gimmicks like that. It actually made me become inter- ested in what really works to maintain beautiful skin. By the time I reached my early 30s I decided that I was over the hill as a model, so I began working as an estheti- cian and makeup artist for an enchant- ress named Aida Grey, the owner of the posh Beverly Hills Salon. Aida was then in her seventies. She was smart, glamorous, elegant and had beautiful skin. She understood that beauty was timeless if you learned how to take care of yourself and, above all, if you honored and enjoyed being yourself at all ages. You really had to know what you were doing and what you were talking about to work for Aida. She took no prisoners. Why did you start Gaelle Organic? I started Gaelle Organic when my daugh- ter, whom I encouraged to embrace organic care, challenged me to start my own line based on the creams I made for myself. So I decided to test it on 20 of my fussiest friends who were using the most expensive beauty brands. This was no easy task as they truly believed in all the hype and that the more expensive the product, the better it must work. My goal was to see if my creams were as good as their expensive but chemical- laden ones or better. If 80% of these lovely, intelligent, brainwashed women thought my products were as good as what they had been using, I would begin an organic skincare business. To my delight 100% of them came back saying, "This is the best moisturizer I've ever used." It was then that I felt confident I had a business. The results spoke for themselves, and just by word of mouth my business grew quickly for which I am most grateful. Why do you have strong feelings about the use of alcohol in beauty products? I have always found alcohol to be too drying. I would never put it on my skin. I know alcohol is found in a lot of prod- ucts, even organic ones, but it's there because it is one of the only effective preservatives allowed in United States Department of Agriculture organic prod- ucts. You have to use a lot for it to work—about 14% of the product. Just because it's organic doesn't make alco- hol good for your skin. For me, that's a nonstarter. People sometimes get the idea that if they go with organic prod- ucts, they are going to sacrifice efficacy. I think that is often because they are using organic products with too much alcohol in them. Fragrances often contain alcohol and other undeclared chemicals. I avoid them as well. Is it true that you own your own laboratory? Why did you decide to do so? It began with my decision to become certified organic by Ecocert rather than the USDA. There are not many labs in the United States that comply with Eco- cert, and the ones I was working with did not want to make the transition. So I decided to set up my own lab. It was the only way I could get products made exactly the way I wanted and maintain a consistent quality. It is one of the best decisions I have made. How do Gaelle Organic products differ from other organic products currently on the market? The biggest difference is the immediate and long-lasting results that our customers experience with our products. That's why they keep coming back for more. After efficacy, transparency is very important. Organic certification and full disclosure of ingredients are far from universal, which is too bad, as we believe customers want and deserve that from manufacturers. The European Union insists on it already, so it's probably only a matter of time before U.S. regulators do the same. There are less than a dozen products listed on your website. Why do you feel that it's important to take a minimalist approach? Quality is more important than quantity. You only need a few good products to keep your skin healthy and luminous—a cleanser, a toner, a moisturizer and an exfoliant for the face; and a good body cream for allover, silky-smooth skin from shower to shower. Serums and masques can be good boosters too. The results you get depend on the quality of the product. For example, a quality moisturizer will work all over your face, neck, décolleté and under your eyes, and it should work just as well day or night. You don't need day cream, night cream, eye cream, neck and décolleté cream, and all the rest of it. All of your skin deserves tender loving care, not just the delicate areas. If there is an especially dry area, add a second layer of cream. One good cream can do it all. So I make a rich moisturizing cream, and another cream for more sensitive skin. As we grow older, some of us need more help. That's where a serum and masques can be beneficial. Beautiful skin is sim- ple when you use the right products. Please tell us what products you offer. Body Crème Supérieure Moisturizing Treatment, Crème Supérieure Regenera- tive Moisturizer, Ultra Sensitive Crème Restorative Moisturizer, Exfoliant Supérieure Refining Treatment, Serum Supérieure Bio- Active Complex, Soap Supérieure, Soap Supérieure Rose Geranium and Toner Supérieure Pore Refiner. Where is the line currently carried? We began by building an online pres- ence, and we have just launched in Europe, focusing on high-end beauty shops. We are currently in Los Angeles, New York and Copenhagen. We launched in Europe in November 2014, starting in Denmark, and are already in Copenhagen's finest shops. We will be expanding to other countries in 2015 driven by the PR campaign of our European distributor, Barnholdts of Copenhagen, Denmark. To enable European distribution, we had our products reviewed and tested by third-party chemists in compliance with the upgraded consumer protections that came into effect across the continent in 2013. We also completed certification with Ecocert, as it is the leading certifier of organic cosmetics in Europe and is widely seen by consumers as the gold standard. What does certification with Ecocert entail? Ecocert was founded in France in 1991. It is a worldwide certifier of organic products, carrying out inspections in 80 countries, and is accredited to certify "We have just launched in Europe … We are currently in Los Angeles, New York and Copenhagen."