Not many executives can say they were instrumental in a growing brand so attractive and successful that it sold for nearly a billion dollars to a larger firm. Mike Indursky, however, has done that twice. While he’s groomed both Burt’s Bees and Bliss for success at larger companies, for years his passion has been to make a difference in the beauty industry. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years and if you think about what’s really changed, we can point to things like the internet and influencers. But what hasn’t changed is the fact that we’re still selling women ingredients they shouldn’t be putting on their face, making packaging that isn’t sustainable, stating claims we can’t keep for prices that are too high. And we’re all guilty of it. And I thought that if I’m going to do anything for this industry I have to try to make a change,” said Mike in a recent interview with CEW Beauty News. Here, Mike talks about his newly-launched, privately-financed product line, Hear Me Raw, an ingredient and performance based concept that’s also sustainable (and pretty) that’s been in his head for years.
BN: Creating a beauty line is quite different from running a company. Where did you start?
MI: I did some research and it turns out women are saying the same things that I’ve been saying. About 90% of women want natural ingredients. They want sustainable packaging. They’re sick of having trouble finding what to buy. And more than what they’re saying is the tone in which they’re responding. There’s definitely a sense of frustration. As a result, I’m coming out with a line, Hear Me Raw, that consists of a few powerful, effective, not just clean but natural, sustainable products. They’re multipurpose and they all have a restorable, reusable, recyclable packaging system.
BN: What makes Hear Me Raw different from what’s on the market?
MI: As brands try to evolve in the natural and sustainable space, there’s always been a compromise. In natural people say, ‘It might not work as well, but it’s natural.’ And in sustainable they say, ‘It might not be pretty, but it’s sustainable.’ Well, with Hear Me Raw there’s no compromise. It’s lush packaging. It’s the absolute best, highest quality ingredients. And you feel results right away.
BN: Talk about Hear Me Raw’s packaging innovation.
MI: The packaging system comes with a refill, and the refills are $10 cheaper, so you save money along with saving the environment. We did research that found if you use our packaging system versus a similar package over the course of three years, we use about 90% less packaging than the competition. That means 90% less environmental damage because it’s reusable. You’re also reducing what you need, which cuts down the amount of energy that needs to be paid and the savings are huge. I showed retailers how much they can save in warehouse space and shipping costs by going to refillable packaging. Everyone went with it.
BN: Talk about the products.
MI: The first product is The Brightener with Chlorophyll +. This is a super-powerful mask and cleanser in one. It starts off with chlorophyll, which is really the beginning of all life on the planet, a source of energy for all of us. And then with it you’ve got lactic acid, lemon peel, spirulina, matcha green tea, Swiss cress sprout extract and other natural ingredients. It’s really pungent when you open it up. You will actually feel it in your eyes. Our whole belief is that you should get the real essence of the natural ingredients without it looking homemade. You’ll feel it right away; you’ll feel it tingle. To use as a mask, leave it on for 10 minutes, wash it off and your skin is vibrant, brighter and healthier. You can also use it as a daily cleanser. Just mix it with water and avoid your eyes; it’s an incredibly effective cleanser. It retails for $42 for 75-ml container. The refill is $32.
The other product is called The Detoxifier With Charcoal +. In addition to charcoal it’s got Irish Moss, Chinese ginseng, kaolin and alaria esculenta algae extract. To use as a mask, apply and leave on for 15 minutes. Rather than wash it off, move your hands in a circular motion on your face to rub it off. The joboba beads in the formula act as an exfoliant. So not only are you detoxifying and purifying your skin you are polishing it. Afterwards, your skin is raw and clean and beautiful and smooth. To use as a scrub, apply to wet skin, rub in a circular motion and rinse. There’s a video of that on our site, hearmeraw.com. And the mask uses the same packaging as the cleanser. They all fit in the same jar.
BN: So how fun was it to go around and meet with different suppliers to create the formula and to get all the packaging together, just knowing what you know about the industry?
MI: It’s so easy to get inspired when you work with great people and I’m fortunate to have worked with a gifted package engineer on this. It’s custom built, that’s my mold. And I remember when it first came out, we got the sample and we’re trying it, and you’re flooded with emotion because you’re seeing your vision come to life. I went through about three formulators. I couldn’t find someone who understood what I was going for. And finally I met this woman who took what I wanted to do and she made it so much better. She had so much more knowledge, so much more to offer. She helped me. And you know, along the way, it’s been so many people who rose to the occasion to get excited about what we’re doing. There’s a couple of celebrities who want to be involved, a couple of organizations, like Global Citizen, who were involved and who believe in what we’re saying. And not just to sell products, but to try to change the industry and help women.
BN: Are you planning to sell outside of eCommerce and if so what is the plan?
MI: We do have some retail partners lined up. I can’t announce any yet. But we do have a bunch lined up. We also have two more products planned for April, so stay tuned.