Catherine Gore, president of Biossance.

Catherine Gore has always been a pioneer in the beauty world – she built Marc Jacobs Beauty from concept to development before launching the brand in more than 22 countries.

She was one of Sephora USA’s first hires and a member of EllesVMH, a select group of female executives within LVMH.

Catherine was then appointed president of Biossance, a brand founded five years ago by Amyris, a biotechnology company funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The  beauty leader shared her vision of clean beauty for all with esprit.

Tell us about your incredible career?

“Prior to joining Amyris, I was the global general manager for the Kendo portfolio of beauty brands within LVMH, including Marc Jacobs Beauty, Kat Von D, Disney and Ole Henriksen Skincare. Before that, I was the vice president of Sephora Collection, responsible for the brand re-design and product strategy that lifted Sephora Collection to the #1 brand at Sephora.”

How did Biossance come about?

“In 2003, our parent company, Arymis, and their scientists developed patented technology that created an accessible cure for malaria. Today, more than 120 million royalty-free treatments have been successfully given thanks to this technology.  Inspired to continue using innovative biotechnology to make a positive impact on the world, we turned to skincare—and the ingredients people put on their faces and bodies every day.  Drawing on a rich history of science and sustainability, we create skincare that is incredibly effective and safe without harming the environment or animals.”

 Can you tell us about some business highlights at Biossance?

 “I’m really proud that we are leading in the area of clean beauty. We want to ensure we are constantly raising our standards so companies around us also follow.  One of our pivotal moments  was the introduction of The Clean Academy, which helps consumers better navigate the clean beauty space, which can be very overwhelming. Guided by Biossance brand ambassador Jonathan Van Ness, as well as scientists, environmental activists, and more, The Clean Academy content simplifies complex concepts and ingredients so that everyone has the power to make smart choices, no matter where they are on their clean beauty journey. Signing our celebrity brand ambassador Jonathan Van Ness was a huge highlight for us as a brand. It meant so much to us to work with someone who was already using our products and a huge personal advocate for clean beauty.”

What are some challenges faced along the way?

“Because our standards for clean beauty are high, product formulations can take a longer timeframe from concept, development to availability on the shelf. Also, because we are a sustainable brand, we choose to practice in a way that doesn’t harm the earth. That can be inclusive of ingredient derivation, conscious packaging, and planet-first processes like low water usage.  There are still always ways we can improve this aspect of our business, so we are constantly working towards developing better practices and processes as a company to ensure that we are continuing to lead in this area.”

What’s the brand strategy for the future?

“Our goals and brand strategy are very mission-based.  For us, it’s about evolving the beauty industry one step at a time.  First, by making clinical results and clean formulations synonymous. Second, second by empowering the consumer for change.”

What’s driving the trend in clean beauty?

“Consumers have become more aware of what they are putting in their bodies and on their skin and therefore looking for and supporting companies that are transparent about their ingredients, packaging, sourcing and creation process.  They are actively arming themselves with the knowledge to make better decisions, reading labels and being mindful about their purchases. Lastly, consumers know that they have the power to invoke change and this is creating a flow on effect with other companies.

Biggest consumer misconceptions when it comes to clean beauty?

“People often associate ‘synthetic’ with ‘bad’, but it’s not that simple. Long-chain parabens, for example, are synthetic ingredients that are proven to be harmful for human health. However, with new technology we’ve created an amazing category of ‘clean synthetic’ ingredients – innovative lab-created ingredients often proven to be safer, more sustainable and more effective. A few of our favourites are hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and our sugarcane-derived squalane.”

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