Exclusive Interview - Mr. Luigi Bergamaschi, the second-generation leader of E’erbolario
Bergamashchi shares his strategies for the company’s sustainable growth in Asia
Present in 5,685 stores across 42 countries, L’Erbolario was founded in 1978 by a husband-and-wife pair of herbalists from an Italian town of Lodi, Italy. The company is known for its ethical products, herbal ingredients and environment friendly practices.
The natural beauty market that is set to be worth up to $54 billion by 2027. It’s saturated like every other industry in the world. How do you separate yourself from the crowd?
“Natural means nothing if your products are not effective”
L’Erbolario is among a few international skin care brands that have their own organic botanic garden, extracts laboratory, R&D centers, production factory and logistic hub, all under proof, in Lodi, Italy, making sure the qualify of every single product is perfect.
Our botanical garden which extends over 200,000 m2, is the nursing ground of over 30,000 trees and shrubs. All medicinal herbs, ornamental species, fruit and vegetables, in the large plot of land surrounding the L’Erbolario production site, are grown according to the strict standards of organic farming.
The Botanical Garden of L'erbolario
Natural beauty products mean nothing if they are not effective. To sure the efficacy of our products, we have our own research and development centre which is composed of top chemists, biologists and pharmacists; We have our own extraction laboratory focusing on developing sophisticated and beneficial extraction techniques; All our products undergo strict experimentation in vitro and on healthy volunteers to check tolerance, efficiency and appeal. The research evaluation is carried out at the Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy at the University of Pavia.
The Extracts Production and Research Laboratory has produced over 300 different extracts since 2006
Could you tell us some eco-friendly practices in your production site?
Actually, our family love green. And sustainability is really in my blood. Going green is not just a slogan. It’s really our mission. We walk the talk.
Since 2002, we have been awarded the Environmental Management System (UNI EN ISO 14001). Recently we have renewed our 27,000 sq. m logistic hub to achieve greater sustainability. For example, with the installation of solar panels, it not only allows us to save up to 900 KwP electricity per year, it uses the heat from the sun to warm domestic water without the use of the conventional boiler to make hot water available all the year round. In addition, the geothermal pumps generating heat flow beneath the floor provides an energy-saving heating system. With this system in place, we have reduced 40% of gas emissions in 5 years! Bravo!
The Logistic hub is energetically self-sufficient during the summer months
What do you see as the challenge of sustaining business growth in Asia?
“The Asia cosmetics industry, dominated by billion-dollar corporations with heavyweight marketing capabilities, is being challenged by rapidly growing indie beauty brands”
Currently, 50% of our export turnover goes to Asia where our business is supported our distributing partners in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and Maldive.
As a mid-size company in Asia, the biggest challenge is to face the industry “giants” who have aggressive marketing strategies and huge investment on advertising and promotion. In Italy, we are a beauty brand with 40 years of history. We have good reputation and more than 80% Italian women know our brand. In Asia, compared with other global beauty brands, we are still a very “young” brand.
In Asia, consumers’ interest for beauty brands extend beyond product information and pricing, as Millennials are looking for beauty brands online to understand product usage (with key influencers uploading product videos), to roam through online referrals and admire marketing campaigns. Thus, social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, influencer marketing, have become an important arena for us to boost our brand awareness amongst consumers in Asia.
With 312,000 Instagram followers, beauty influence, Pony Pong, visited L'erbolerio's booth in Cosmoprof Asia in November, trying the company latest products which are launched in 2020.
Founders: Franco Bergamaschi and his wife Daniela Villa
Headquarter: Lodi, Italy
Founding year: 1978
Turn-over: 80 million euros in 2018
Internatonal presence: in 42 countries
Presence in Asia: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Maldive.
Looking partners in: Japan, China and Russia