Miranda Kerr on how to build a successful beauty brand

In a sea of celebrity-led brand names, Kerr’s stands tall and proud, all on its own. Here’s how she made it happen.

Harper's Bazaar India

Celebrity beauty brands are a whole new beauty category today, with everyone from actors to influencers launching their own product lines. Some are overpriced, others are over-hyped, and there are a handful that live up to their claims and are worth the investment.

Model and entrepreneur Miranda Kerr started working on Kora Organics, her much-loved, certified organic skincare brand, in 2006 and launched in 2009, an idea that stemmed from her mother’s cancer diagnosis and their personal need for organic and effective skincare. “I created the brand out of love,” she tells Bazaar India. Kerr talks to us about what it takes to build a successful beauty brand that can stand by itself, celebrity association or not.


Harper's Bazaar: What about Kora Organics are you most proud of?

Miranda Kerr: I'm proud of how far we've come. It’s so rewarding when you have a passion for something, to watch it evolve from the initial concept and eventually have the actual product in your hand. My dream is that we become a global household name that people can rely on for safe and certified organic products that give them powerful results. It makes me so happy to see that people now want to educate themselves and learn about the ingredients they're using.

I'm also really proud that we're a climate-neutral brand and the fact that sustainability is really important to us. We were one of the first to implement the refill pods that have 100 per cent PCL plastic, so we have the beautiful glass jar that you buy once and use the refill pods thereafter. And obviously, being a certified organic skincare brand by Ecocert Cosmos since the first day. Organic farming techniques eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and nitrogen pollution which benefits our water systems, wildlife, and of course, us as people. In addition to that, we don't have any unnecessary, harmful chemicals in our products. I'm really proud that we're able to help people in a healthy way with products that are actually results driven. People sometimes think that ‘Oh, it's organic, it's not as powerful’ and that's why we do all of our clinical trials to really show the efficacy.

HB: What does it take to build a brand with a strong local and global presence?

MK: It's really important to have a strong point of difference. For us, that's been our organic certification. Also, teamwork makes the dream work—having a team that shares your vision is really important. I don't want someone working for me that is not truly passionate and aligned with the values that the company holds. Also, it’s important to really listen to your intuition. So many times there'll be people that say ‘No, we need to do this for this reason.’ It’s important to listen to that. But if you still have this deep burning desire, then you shouldn’t ignore it. Our award-winning Turmeric Brightening and Exfoliating Mask is one such example. When I originally came up with the idea of the product being like a two-in-one formula, with the microdermabrasion and deep detoxifying mask, a lot of people on my team thought it would be too aggressive. All of my work experience had me convinced that there has never been a product like this and I wanted to create it. My intuition was right because this is one of our hero products today.

HB: In a sea of skincare brands, what makes Kora Organics stand out?

MK: There's a 360-degree, holistic approach to Kora—it's about nourishing your mind, your body, and your skin. We use aromatherapy instead of artificial fragrance for sensorial benefits. We have a unique crystal infusion filtration process for every product. We also have positive words of affirmation, a different word on the back of each product. For instance, we have ‘blessed’ on the back of the Noni Glow Face Oil.


HB: There’s a new celebrity brand hitting shelves every day. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to them about building a brand that’s able to stand independently?

MK: The product should stand alone, without having anything to do with the person promoting it. Obviously, it’s great that I can use the fact that I have a voice and people know who I am. I like to be able to help educate people on the benefits of health and wellness and this is an extension of something that I’ve been passionate about since I was a child. The difference between Kora Organics and other celebrity-led brands is that I’m not just the face of it. This is not a licensing deal. I started this company on my own, with my own money, I own 95 per cent of it; to this date, I don’t take a salary because I reinvest all the profits back into the business. I have 60 employees and my passion is to create these powerful products that can help transform people's skin in a really healthy way and I think that people deserve that regardless of my involvement.

HB: Lastly, if you had to recommend the brand to a first-time consumer, which products would you suggest?

MK: The one you see instant results from is the Turmeric Brightening and Exfoliating Mask—it’s like an at-home facial in a tube. It’s brightening and full of antioxidants, and everyone loves it. Also, our Noni Glow Face Oil is like liquid gold—it calmed my mum’s rosacea, got her off her steroid cream. It puts the essential fatty acids back into your skin, balances pH production, works for all skin types including sensitive skin, and helps with scarring; it’s a powerhouse.