The secrets behind Natura, the world’s fourth largest cosmetic firm

Judging by its latest acquisitions, from The Body Shop to Avon, it could be risked that Brazil’s Natura assumed a hegemonic role in the mass consumer cosmetics business. The Avon purchase remained one of the largest transactions of 2019, involving $ 3.7 billion.

Natura also has control of the Australian cosmetics manufacturer Aesop, with stores in the countries of Oceania, Asia, Europe and North America. Also The Body Shop. In this way it became the fourth largest cosmetic firm in the world, with a market value of 11,000 million dollars.

It is not a small thing for a company that made natural ingredients and the defense of the environment its leitmotif. It defines itself as a company of principles and is very committed to the proposals of the Paris climate agreement that the Brazilian Bolsonaro rejects.

His voice is heard in business forums in defense of female empowerment in what is the vision of the so-called triple impact businesses, socially, economically and environmentally.

Natura breathes based on the direct sales system and exercises leadership in Argentina with 220,000 saleswomen over the record of one million people who joined direct sales this year in the country as a way to generate income in the face of the economic downturn . In the case of Natura, they grew by 70,000 people.

Verónica Marcelo is the brand new CEO of Natura in the country. She started as a salesperson 20 years ago. It is her turn to conduct and even tune that kind of orchestra in which women predominate.

With a degree in Tourism and Administration, she left her position as a salesperson when Natura summoned her for an executive position. She says direct selling often acknowledges efforts quietly. “It teaches us resilience, to accept many no’s to reach a yes,” she says. Of course, there are no miracles.

Legend has it that Natura was born in 1969, when Luiz Seabra opened a small store on Oscar Freire Street, in São Paulo. And throughout its 51 years it grew by acquisition. It is listed on Wall Street. They claim to serve more than 200 million consumers through 6.3 million consultants and resellers.

Lately it combines the retail format, with more than 3,000 stores on the planet along with direct sales. In Argentina it has just three locations, two in Martínez and another in Paseo Alcorta, “due to brand presence, which do not compete with our consultants,” according to Verónica Marcelo.

When Natura arrived in Argentina in 1994, it was confused with Natura oil. “We made a place for ourselves. A lot of work was done on the sales channel and we see that there is still a lot to grow. In direct sales, we are the same as Chile but we are barely 20% of countries like Colombia or Peru ”. the CEO lets go.

Argentina is the second most important country after Brazil. In 2016 it opened a modern distribution center in Garín. Logistics is key in the dynamics. In that center, the robots put together orders that can have between 15 and 20 different products for each consulting firm and order them to deliver in different parts of the country.

With the pandemic, they transformed manufacturing processes to produce gel alcohol, digitized the sales force at high speed so that operations from home could be carried out.

Here they produce 50% of what they sell and from the Argentine plant they export to Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil. This year the star product was hand cream. And, of course, the alcohol gel.

Katie Ford

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