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Trend Report: Back to School Tools

With back-to-school just around the corner (or in full swing, depending on your locale), brands are stepping up to provide multi-purpose, dual-use and easy-to-use products that make a fast impact post-summer. The launch into the busy school-year fall season requires streamlined, proactive products that make life a little bit easier, without compromising on your #BetterBeauty standards. Here are four Opal Avenue brands ready to guide customers into the school year with back to school tools you’ll want to keep nearby year-round.

Terra and Co. Sustainability Oral Care Set

After all those sweet summer treats (did anyone else indulge in lots of ice cream this season?), getting oral health back in balance is a must. Terra and Co. has the answer with its ultimate teeth whitening set, in their signature “Sustainable is the New Black” bag, made from recycled plastic bottles. The set includes the full spectrum of their natural, healthy oral care: Brilliant Black Oil Pulling Ayurvedic oil made with activated charcoal and peppermint essential oil; Brilliant Black Activated Charcoal Toothpaste for whitening and removing tartar; a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush; and Brilliant Black Zero Waste Dental Floss, with naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties that effectively removing buildup a toothbrush can’t reach.

Full Unicorn’s Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment

Post-summer skin feeling a little, well, meh? With the inevitable outdoor time summer brings also comes the potential for sun damage and dullness, as well as dehydration. Enter Full Unicorn’s Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment made with juicy papaya and pineapple enzymes that gently slough away dead skin cells, helping to reveal brighter, more glowy skin. Hexagonal gemstone micro-crystals also work to build collagen, while multi-fruit AHA’s go to work on fine lines and wrinkles, helping to even out your complexion and skin tone. Then, a boost of hyaluronic acid draws moisture into skin as it helps build elasticity, so you can wave bye bye to dull, dry skin.

Who doesn’t need an all-purpose beauty balm that doubles as a quick-soothing treatment? Ouli’s Ointment All-Purpose Beauty Balm is truly multi-use. It works just as well as skip prep for makeup application as it does mixed with tinted powder to create a creamy foundation. It also helps soothe dry skin, eczema and psoriasis, and can help decrease irritation, redness and itching. It’s the perfect purse companion for busy back-to-school days (or full-on weekend errand days).

Nelum Botanics Rose & Geranium Aqua Vitae Rejuvenating Toner

Aging with grace can be challenging if you live in a harsh environment like a bustling city. To help ease into the natural course of life, with grace and gratitude, Nelum Botanics created the Aqua Vitae Rejuvenating Toner  for mature skin. This delicate blend of organic rose and organic geranium essence, botanical extracts and pro-vitamins works with you, and not against you, as it supports skin’s elasticity and beautifies skin tone. It’s a perfect addition to a fall skincare routine, when the busy season picks up and skin could use a boost.

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Trend Report: Plastic-Free July for a Healthier Planet

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans, on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate the world’s marine environments. It’s overwhelming?but it can be reversed. That’s part of the reason brands are opting in to more sustainable packaging that avoids single-use plastics and ultimately makes for a healthier planet. During Plastic-Free July, we wanted to highlight a few #BetterBeauty brands that have taken the sustainability, plastic-free need to heart, creating products that are safer and better for the planet, all while being effective for consumers. Here are four Opal Avenue brands doing their part year-round to protect and renew the planet with environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging.

Lunette Reusable Menstrual Cup

Not only is the Lunette Reusable Menstrual Cup zero-waste, but the box the cup comes in is 100 percent compostable. You won’t find any plastic here?the clear, see-through window on the box is actually made of wood pulp, and the cup itself is made of soft, medical-grade silicon, which is BPA and chemical free. On top of saving menstruating humans money by being reusable for several years, the Lunette Cup is a winning vote for the environment, and helps us stay plastic-free for more than July.

The Humble Co. Chewing Gum

This chewing gum from The Humble Co. is brought to you by dentists who care about your oral health, the environment and children in need of oral care. Did you know that conventional gums often contain fillers, including plastics, in their formulas? Skip the plastic and try The Humble Co.’s gum, which is instead made from trees like birch and acacia. It’s naturally good for your teeth and breath, and includes nothing artificial, and no added sugar. The packaging is eco-friendly and can be thrown out with the organic trash. It’s a win-win-win, for consumers, the planet and our communities.

Green & Gorgeous Organics’ Aerosol-Free Dry Shampoo Dispenser

A glass + stainless steel dry shampoo dispenser is genius in the world of aerosol sprays that both utilize plastics in their packaging and contain harmful, potentially hazardous ingredients in their formulas. Green & Gorgeous Organics is paving the way for a safer, more sustainable option with its aerosol-free dry shampoo dispenser. Add to it that the brand’s dry shampoo is housed in recyclable cardboard containers, and you’re looking at innovative, plastic-free products making waves in the #BetterBeauty industry.

Meow Meow Tweet’s Lip Balm + Deodorant Sticks

Meow Meow Tweet is a brand with sustainability at its core. Since its inception, MMT has led the industry in unique, accessible formulas and planet-friendly packaging. Their vegan lip balms and deodorants are both housed in biodegradable cardboard tubes, meaning that they’ll disintegrate into products like water and carbon dioxide as micro-organisms in the soil go after them. They’re plastic-free, and much safer to use in the long-term, for both health and environmental reasons. Bonus? They smell incredible and they’re super effective. Another win for consumers and the planet.


Interested in other trends in #BetterBeauty? Read about the influx of beautiful, nontoxic haircare that’s making manes soft, shiny and manageable.


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Trend Report: Hair’s the Deal

One aspect of cleaner, greener, better beauty that many converts struggle to find favorite replacements for is in the haircare category. From shampoo and conditioner to styling and treatments, haircare options are fewer and further between than the plethora of skincare choices we’ve seen explode onto the market in the last five years. But, thankfully, brands are noticing that hole in better beauty offerings and they’re stepping up. With new formulas (think shampoo bars) and innovative ingredients, these Opal Avenue brands are leaning into the need for safer, more natural haircare options.

Loving Culture Hair Oil

This elegantly crafted, invigorating, transformative and versatile holistic hair oil is made to moisturize, promote healthy hair growth and elasticity, and prevent damage against heat, chemicals and natural elements. It’s a uniquely derived oil blend that’s also nutrient dense in composition, rich in vitamins B,C and E, plus omega fatty-acids. Potent extracts such as cayenne pepper and cinnamon have been combined to nourish, revitalize and protect hair follicles and scalp. These anti-inflammatory ingredients have properties that can help to restore moisture, too. The best part? All the ingredients are sustainably sourced and USDA certified organic. Plus, the formula’s argan oil is fair trade, and Loving Culture seeks to ensure that the standards of sourcing of this highly desirable oil are ethical.

Meow Meow Tweet Shampoo Bar

With a rich lather and its sweet, herbal scent, this unique bar soap was formulated to nourish your hair?but it can be used on the whole body too! Rich avocado oil and aloe vera condition and soften, while rosemary and hops flowers promote shiny, bright hair and scalp health. Without a bottle, it’s got a lesser carbon footprint than your standard shampoo, too, making it hair and environmentally friendly.

Katari Beauty Hair Masque

Sometimes hair doesn’t need deep conditioning. It needs growth, health and a good cleanse, which can be great for strengthening hair follicles and boosting volume. This is what Katari Beauty’s Argil Hair Masque does with one powerful ingredient, 100 percent pure Tunisian green clay, which is chock full of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, organic plant matter and dozens of trace minerals. It cleanses the scalp well, without stripping skin’s natural oils or hair color, and goes deep to nourish the epidermis and help with healthy hair growth. It can do all of this while also helping to preserve and nurture hair’s pigment. It’s a powerful, natural, bio-organic hair treatment hand-picked in the Atlas Mountains of Tunisia.

HeathNaturally Hemp Softgels

HealthNaturally?’s Hemp Oil Softgels contain a full array of botanicals, providing essential fatty acids including omega 3, omega 6, GLA, SDA and vitamin E, that can help strengthen strands from the inside out. These vegan, gluten-free softgels support recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, and management of normal, everyday stressors?all of which can help regulate hair loss. Hemp oil helps promote homeostasis and an overall reduction of stress in the body, and untreated stress can result in hair loss. By adding hemp into a regular routine, locks can flourish.

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Trend Report: Botanical Bliss

In the age of #betterbeauty, brands have taken a deep dive into some of the planet’s best resources: plants. From plant-derived to whole plant extracts, the rise in botanical ingredients is creating a tsunami of products that embrace the power of plants. Brands are utilizing botanical ingredients to create products that rejuvenate and repair skin for a few reasons.

First, plant-sourced ingredients are more bio-available and recognizable by our bodies. They’re easier to access and therefore, we can reap the benefits from them easier because our bodies know how to convert them. Secondly, botanical ingredients are just what consumers want. We’re seeing an increase in knowledge and demand for cleaner ingredients, and plants can do the heavy lifting that big brands used to rely on synthetic ingredients for.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a few Opal Avenue brands that are ahead of their time. They’ve been using botanical ingredients from the beginning and they’re not just capitalizing on the trend. Here are seven of our featured products that lead the pack in botanical beauty bliss.

Basd Mint Body Scrub

This natural, organic, coffee-based exfoliator is rich in vitamins and natural oils to leave you feeling smooth and soft. The coffee is chock-full of antioxidants, and its caffeine can help perk up dull skin. Sweet almond oil, naturally high in vitamins E and A, rounds out the plant ingredients, while peppermint oil, with its refreshing and uplifting scent, makes it a must-have for mornings. It’s all like a mint mocha for your body.

Bushel & a Peck Baby Body Balm

Organic, plant-based ingredients of shea butter, coconut oil and red raspberry seed oil deeply moisturize in this Baby Balm intended for use on the little ones. It was designed to utilize those plants to aid in the restoration of dry skin on children and calm sore baby bottoms from diaper rash.

A light blend of essential oils coriander, geranium, palmarosa, lavender, ylang ylang, Roman chamomile and others, envelope and cradle the skin gently, invoking a sense of tranquility, calmness and positivity, all while being soothing and beneficial to skin, thanks to their plant powers.

Ellie Bianca Luxe Immortelle Serum

Especially good for well-cared for skin, this serum is a blend of the purest and most nutrient-dense plant oils to leave your skin looking balanced, refreshed and glowing. One to two drops of this luxurious serum is all needed to put your best face forward, thanks to the healing properties of ingredients like tamanu oil, seabuckthorn extract and immortelle oil, one of the most powerful plant essences.

Full Unicorn Gemstone Resurfacing Treatment

Juicy papaya and pineapple enzymes gently slough away dead skin cells, while hexagonal gemstone micro-crystals work to build collagen in this treatment meant to enhance and refine skin. Thanks to multi-fruit AHAs, fine lines and wrinkles, and an uneven complexion and skin tone can be things of the past. These natural enzymes from fruits help skin cells turnover, and can help reveal more glowing and younger-looking skin. 

Modicum Birch Tree Spritz

The entire Modium line harnesses the power of birch tree, which infuses skin cells with essential nutrients, promotes cellular regeneration and restores skin’s vitality. Birch water and hyaluronic acid provide continual hydration, pulling out each plant’s superpowers, and focusing them on skin. Aloe and rose otto are known for their regenerating and antibacterial properties too, which can leave skin with less redness and irritation, on top of intense hydration.

Nelum Botanics Herbal Salve

Earthy, vibrant and soft jade colored, this is best-selling product is loved for the amazing relief it provides against cuts, bites, dry patches and pimples. Where does the relief come from? Plants! Essential oils with proven healing and rejuvenating properties, blended with emollient plant oils and butters make this a must-carry everywhere you go. It can help to relieve pain and itching, and it can support cell repair while nourishing skin with amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins?all derived from powerful plants.

Prim Botanicals Flor Obscura

Totally tantalizing, Flor Oscura is a voluptuous blend of pure essential oils like wild rose, warm sandalwood and deep amber. Spicy, seductive and completely intoxicating, Flor Oscura always leaves a lasting impression. And it does that without the synthetic fragrances that can contain hazardous ingredients. Instead, it blends the scents of plant oils to create not only a beautiful scent to remember, but also to remind us that even our most superficial products should be working for us, not against us.

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Retail Reflections: How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?

It?s the $1000 question that is always on store owner & manager?s minds and generates a huge topic of discussion.

Throwing their hands up in defeat, I?ve heard business owners say:

  • ?I have tried everything to get them engaged.?
  • ?I give commission but no one cares.?
  • ?I have created contests but it?s always the same people that win.?
  • ?The retail sales training was great as a boost for 1 month then everyone lost motivation again.?
  • ?I don?t think my staff is able to sell more than they already do.?

How about we add common staff excuses to the mix?

  • ?I am waiting for the brand training.?
  • ?Why try? It?s cheaper online.? (This one is #1!)
  • ?My shift ends soon.? (Goes out of the way to make no eye contact with customer otherwise they?ll have to assist them).
  • ?She can?t afford it.? (Bold assumptions).
  • ?She is a new client. I don?t want to be too pushy.?

Let?s face it, when it comes to the barriers of selling, we can find them in bucket loads. Yet, one day, a star staff member starts with you and she can sell. She is basically showing everyone how it?s done. I have been fascinated by sales people that seem to be ?simply born with it.? How do they do it? Why can they succeed and the others cannot?

Throughout my career, having worked for key commercial brands like Clinique, Clarins & L?Occitane, I?ve learned that making retail sales comes down to two simple things:  the customer journey and how the customer feels the minute they walk into your business. When I joined Steiner UK, in Bliss Spa London, the team was performing at a retail rate of 35%. By the time I finished with them, we reached a retail rate of 45%. This is quite a significant increase when you consider that retail sales contributed to our strict 2.2 million revenue goal.

One thing that has become clear after delivering countless retail trainings is that the old-fashioned way of retailing doesn?t work anymore. Toss away the ?robotic steps for selling?. Trying to recall what to do next when you have the customer in front of you is too much pressure for any team member. What happens? They get flustered. They tense up. And ultimately feel discouraged (or even ashamed) when they hear ?no I am fine, thanks? from the customer.

When it comes to retail sales today, it?s absolutely important to think about it in a different way and apply a much more holistic 360? approach. Here are the 6 key factors that play an important part in increasing your retail sales year on year by positively influencing each step of the customer journey:

  • The Customer

Customer habits have changed. And although they have more choices from where they can obtain their products, deep down they are significantly craving guidance, care, expertise and wellness.

  •  The Manager

Managers have a lot to do with bettering retail sales and morale. She or he is the one that creates the retail culture and expectations in the business. If they have an innate desire of serving the customer and crafting the right solutions for them, this passion and attitude will be contagious.

  • The Staff member

Those that can sell well? They not only get the individual customer consultation right but they also focus on offering product suggestions to everyone that steps in the store. Whether it be showing the latest skin gadget, swatching trending seasonal colors, or pointing someone to a great wellness enhancer, they?ll do it because they are on a genuine mission to provide value.  With this, there is no magic. The law of averages simply comes into play. ?The more I try and sell, the more I will sell.? Their mindset is full of preparation of the day- not excuses!

  • The Reception

The Reception team is the start and end of your success since customers pick up products at the checkout/ reception desk.  The customer journey is made of details that will increase your chances in retail sales.

  • The Marketing

It?s important to create daily buzz around your retail products to inspire customer interest. I am shocked how easily businesses can overlook this. Successfully generating consistent retail sales through your marketing is a long-term strategy. Nurture and commit to it so you?ll experience real results.

  • The Merchandising

This one is the most impactful of them all. Merchandising can make or break your sales. Purposeful merchandising at reception, for example, will always stimulate customer curiosity. What does this area look like for you right now? Too many messages kill the messages. How many can you see? Create focus. Merchandise with intent.

Incorporating the points above will surely allow you to increase your retail sales even more. But the real solution is quite simple. If you want to sell, you will sell.

From a leadership perspective, to motivate your team is to be genuinely motivated yourself.  I meet a lot of owners and managers who are at their wits end about it all; feeling like they have tried everything. If you feel like this, how could you truly expect your team and staff to shift their own mindset?

Retail culture and expectations are created by business owners and managers. You have that power. And once that is defined and the strategy is clear, it?s all about ensuring the 6 key steps above are looked into and applied. Successful retail selling can truly be fun and bring you and your team much joy and pride.  The minute it becomes stressful is the minute you can dangerously slip back into former limiting beliefs and habits.

Love retail and retail will love you back!

Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here:

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Brand Spotlight: Why Social Responsibility Matters to Mouthcare Line The Humble Co.

Mouthcare is a segment of the personal care industry that sometimes gets overlooked in the switch from conventional to better beauty. But you could argue that it’s more important to have clean, safe toothpaste, and a sustainable toothbrush than is it to have nontoxic foundation. The Humble Co., an innovative brand that bases its products not just on safety but also on their environmental and social impact, is the perfect partner to build out a nontoxic mouthcare section of your retail shop. Here, we chatted with CEO Jimmie?Berggren to learn more about the ethos behind the The Humble Co.


Why is social responsibility core to The Humble Co. brand?

We truly believe that, in the enlightened days of 2018, all companies should prioritize developing products that are in fact good for consumers, humble towards our planet and socially responsible. It has been part of our brand since day one, actually even before day one, when The Humble Co.?s founder, Dr. Noel Abdayem, went to Jamaica as a dentist student to do volunteer work.

He then realized that when we are lucky enough to be born in an affluent part of the world, it should be our duty to take care of the less fortunate. Many children will never own any oral care products and we?re depleting natural resources and filling up the oceans with used plastic products.

To have the biggest impact possible, we work closely together with the Humble Smile Foundation, a global group of dental professionals who believe passionately that good oral care is necessary to lead a healthy life. The foundation implements projects all over the globe to serve children and communities in need. So far, we have helped over 150,000 children in over 30 countries around the world.

You’ve recently expanded the line to include toothpaste, gum and cotton buds. Tell us why those are important additions, and how they fit into the social responsibility ethos of your brand.

Making humanity-friendly as well as environment-friendly products that are socially responsible is part of the Humble DNA. It is a very natural progression for us to expand our first category of oral care products to include toothpaste, tongue cleaners, dental floss and floss picks, as well as other oral care accessories.

It is of course almost equally easy to look outside of our base portfolio and see that there are many products in today?s market that can be improved, products that don?t really have to be made from plastic. This is why we have released cotton swabs with a handle made out of bamboo, bamboo straws and biodegradable chewing gums, three products that are usually made of plastic and that play a big part in polluting our world, making it harder for all living creatures to lead a normal life.

Revenue from all our products supports our work with the Humble Smile Foundation, including our new additions.

The Humble Co. has a lot of certifications (vegan, cruelty free, certified organic, etc.). Why is that third-party classification/verification important to you as a brand?

The acknowledgment of unbiased, third-party certifiers is crucial for us. It gives us a multitude of benefits. We gain credibility when we can show that we are not only talking but actually keeping our promise of developing products that are good for you, humble towards our planet and socially responsible. It helps us when negotiating with retailers that want to sell our products. All our certifications, and as you mention we have quite a few, helps us to differentiate ourselves from companies claiming to do what we do but might not have the evidence to back it up. Lastly, but very important to mention, is the guidance it gives the consumer, who is more educated on these matters than ever before. They can buy our products with a clear conscience and know that we are the real deal.

What makes The Humble Co.’s original product, the Humble Brush, stand out?

Humble Brush is a toothbrush that is developed by dentists, that has a 100 percent sustainably grown and biodegradable bamboo handle, and part of its proceeds goes to the Humble Smile Foundation. It will clean just as well and last just as long as your regular plastic toothbrush, with the added benefits of being better for the environment and every Humble purchase funding projects for the benefit of children in need.

The Humble Brush is the only bamboo toothbrush in the market that has an eco-friendly packaging. Other companies put a bamboo toothbrush in a plastic blister, which, in our view, is doing something good but not really doing it all the way. One might even claim that it?s counterproductive since it depletes the initial purpose of replacing plastic.

If you want the true eco-friendly option in the market, the product with certifications to back up the claims, a product developed by dentists who know what constitutes a good toothbrush as well as part of the proceeds helping children around the world, then there is only one choice in the market?Humble Brush by The Humble Co.

What’s new/next for The Humble Co.? Anything you can share?

In our efforts to make eco-friendly products available and affordable for everybody in the U.S., Dollar Tree will sell a version of our toothbrush for only one dollar. We truly believe that everybody should be able to buy an eco-friendly toothbrush and contribute to a better world, no matter the size of their wallet.

Furthermore, we are increasing our reach in the U.S. with several new retail chains adding our products. Keep an eye out for exciting news coming this fall.

Finally, I would like to mention that we are currently expanding our product portfolio to include vegan certified and eco-friendly dental floss, interdental bamboo toothbrushes as well as the only eco-friendly flossers in the market?made from corn starch and vegan certified. Other additions are a toothbrush stand and a toothbrush travelers case, both made in bamboo.