WWB Ideal Find: “Erbe” and the Everlasting Beauty Secrets from Italian Culture
Erbe Veccia Farmicia in Italy/1600’s
Welcome to the first installment of “Ideal Finds”. One way to be “comfortable in your own skin” is to align your consuming habits with your inner personal values. As a conscious lifestyle consumer you want to know whether the brand authentically reflects the values you care about deeply. It’s hard to identify authenticity in a commercial world of “image” and “spin”. At “Ideal Finds” I’ll help you get to know brands intimately who are authentic and true to the cultural ideals they are inspired by. Hope you find “simpatico” with each of our featured companies but as I always say…follow your own inner GPS and be your own guru.
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IDEAL FIND: Erbe founded in 1988 (photo above Erbe Veccia Farmacia, Italy in the 1600’s)
FOUNDER: Carmen Miraglia
AUTHENTIC DEDICATION: Italian Beauty Culture rooted in 16th and 17th century Aroma-Phytotherapy practice.
Lauroly Q: Welcome Carmen Miraglia. What a pleasure to have you here to talk about your company and ideals. The background story on how you got started with Erbe is so rich and filled with authenticity. Your products are truly an “ideal find” for those who haven’t discovered Erbe yet! You studied biology at Rome’s La Sapienza University and researched herbal alchemy dating back to the 16th century. After working in your parents 18th Century pharmacy custom blending curative creams from essential oils you went on to develop products for major cosmetic companies. What motivated you to create your own line of phytocosmetics (phyto meaning plant based) called Erbe?
Carmen Miraglia: Growing up in Italy it was customary to be acquainted with the natural healing methods from the folk medicine, everyone knows that Chamomile soothes and Rosemary stimulates. These plants are our foundations applied in the everyday life, including beauty receipts used for centuries and improved overtime. As a former product developer, for other cosmetic companies, I became more and more disenchanted with this world of ordinary formulations with no functional activity but only for commercial purposes. I felt I had to go back to what I knew best, personalized natural formulations, ready to use receipts for beauty and personal hygiene, based on extremely pure ingredients and without additives or chemicals but no shelf life. They were classic preparations previously available only custom made in local pharmacies. Soon my small artisan activity became a business and started researching for the appropriated additives to incorporate in my formulations, without altering or diminishing the effects of the botanical ingredients but, enhancing their efficacy to convey and maintain the properties of our herbs, roots and flowers.
Lauroly Q: The inspiration for your line is so interesting. You studied the work of Italian herbalist, alchemists and physicians from celebrated ancient monasteries. How do you combine ancient alchemy with modern science? There are so many companies claiming “all natural” but we often find a natural herb like lavender listed last after a long list of chemicals. As former Marketing Director of the HBA Beauty show (tradeshow for cosmetic manufacturers) in New York, I talked to many product formulators who talked about the difficulty and challenges of natural product formulation. Can you tell us how you address the challenges?
Carmen Miraglia: There are “chemicals” deriving from plants and “transformed” into a preservatives or antibacterial that may complete or enhance the functional activity of the plants. Essential oils, in their pure form and extracted in a safe way, are great preservatives and anti-oxidants, if we extract the active principal of the Lemon, we obtain the “ascorbic acid” used as a preservative and so on. Many plants, once they go under a transformation process may assume a fantasy name, we rigorously select the additives to incorporate in our products. The process of “transformation”, of vegetal origin ingredients, is fundamental to realize our line of products.
Lauroly Q: How do you insure quality in your production and manufacturing?
Carmen Miraglia: We rely on the work of family owned business for years who are determined to continue and maintain a traditional method of manufacturing passed on from generation to generation. We work very close for over 25 years now. Actually the new generation is more dedicated to quality, they have chosen to improve and grow with particular attention to quality and integrity. From our sources of the plants, their transformation and their employment, we control every aspect of production, including our packaging and designs. My suppliers, my graphic designer, my lab collaborators and I have formed a trustworthy team and by learning from each other, we create these products that are designed to be safe, functional and pleasant to use.
Lauroly Q: Okay we understand what makes Erbe so unique and special but let’s get to Italian culture. What botanical blends from nature did your ancient ancestors in Italy use? And what is your best selling product?
Everyone knows Chamomile soothes, Rosemary stimulates, Mallow soothes if the gums are irritated, or Calendula cream helps if your skin is flaking dry. In Italy it is our everyday life, we always used natural remedies to cure minor ailments, mixing and blending mixtures of herbs for all kinds of needs. The association of various different herbs in one single product is the key to aim at various skin conditions. These associations and relative ratio of dosages is a precise science and this is what makes all ERBE’s
Moisturizers the best appreciated products in our lines. Our skin care products contain a blend of truly precious essential oils and extracts, designed to target a wide range of skin conditions. Our blends contribute in enhancing the skin’s immune system, improve the appearance of dull skin, refresh and rejuvenate, while also delaying signs of aging.
Lauroly Closing: All I can say is Bellissimo! Carmen, thank you so much for sharing your Italian cultural wisdom and inspiring business story. I should remind everyone that Erbe products are free of synthetic fragrances, animal products, waxes and colorants. You can find Erbe products at www.erbeitalianskincare.com
To learn more about Erbe and specifically phytotherapy you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org