All images courtesy of Credo Beauty
Natural beauty has a new face. Gone are the days of harsh, unattractive natural beauty products packaged in boring boxes and bags. Natural personal care is now making its way into a beautiful lifestyle, where substance and style come together.
Shashi Batra has created a fresh concept on San Francisco’s Fillmore Street called Credo Beauty. This space offers an experience of natural beauty that is clean, comfortable, approachable, and still stylish. Credo hosted its grand opening on June 11 and carries a collection of 70 natural brands that range from luxury brands like Tata Harper to indie brands like Kari Gran and Intelligent Nutrients.
With his background as a former executive at Sephora and Victoria Secret Beauty, Batra is now ushering in a new philosophy in for the natural beauty space: “You don’t have to sacrifice style for substance.”
Congrats on the opening of the boutique!
It’s so nice to have all the best of the local talent coming together. We were thrilled at the outcome.
Beauty boutiques are popping up everywhere; why is this, and what inspires your experience?
In 1997, I moved out here from New York to start a concept called Sephora. That was super exciting and at the time, a big improvement on what was very little e-commerce. You either shopped at drug or department stores for your beauty products. The experiences weren’t great for obvious reasons. Why would one of the largest markets for beauty in the world not have a specialty store dedicated to it? In France, you had many, and Italy and every other country you, had specialty stores, but some of the larger economies like Japan and US – and even the UK at the time – didn’t have. It was very difficult to get information around what you were putting on your body and what it meant.
With your background as a Sephora Alum, why this natural concept, Credo?
The awareness of the conscious consumer has grown tremendously because information is available to us. At the time, we [at Sephora] created a platform for indie brands and for great entrepreneurs that were passionate about making great products. It occurred to me that on the retail and on the brand side, we could actually provide product that was good for people and didn’t harm anyone.
What is the Credo Mission?
Our goal at Credo is to create an environment and have an experience where we’re selling beauty products, but we’re making sure that they are natural and harmless in terms of their ingredients. There are great brands out there that have synthetic ingredients. People can’t resist buying beautiful red lipsticks or smooth expensive moisturizers because they’re emotionally connected. We don’t want to have those people sacrifice style for substance. We want to offer both. At our store, you can buy an $8 dollar lip balm to a $350 dollar anti-aging cream. Our store is warm, open, inviting, warm accessible and the people are friendly. Our brand is an optimistic one with energy and light. We hope to lead from this optimism.
Why now and not five or six years ago?
I believe in the collection of brands that we have in our store, 95% of which are less than 5 years old. They are born into this and growing up with the sensibility that you cannot ask people to sacrifice things if you want them to indulge. To a large degree, beauty is about emotional indulgence. We want to provide a love brand, not just a transaction.
Who is your target market?
This store is for everyone; we’re super inclusive.
Why would a consumer choose Credo versus Sephora, Ulta or a department store?
The customer experience, which is what we’re focused on, is dramatically different. Our store is based on a belief system, not a transaction. We are trying to educate and become part of a community that believes you don’t have to put harmful toxins on your body to look good. You don’t have to sacrifice style for substance. Beyond that, most specialty stores in beauty carry a few hundred brands in their store. We don’t. We carry 70, and we have enough qualified team members that can speak to all of those brands. We may be the only store in the country that has all team members as licensed estheticians and makeup artists.
If you’re a large established business, the challenge for stores that carry one percent of their assortment in natural is that changing that positioning is a huge risk. That’s the business perspective. A natural brand can’t be nearly as productive in those stores.
What is the selection process for products that get into your store?
Our selection process on the products and the brands we carry starts with products. A brand has to have a reason to exist. We want to know why they do they do this and why are they are passionate. What is authentic about the brand? Then it goes to the product, the efficacy. We want people to look and feel good.
You must be inundated with natural beauty products. How do brands actually get onto your radar?
Multiple ways: We see them online, we see them at shows, they call us. We’re constantly in the market trying things. One of the best sources are the brands themselves; they’re a community in and of themselves. On our opening day, all of the brands were talking to each other, sharing their learnings, and they were super supportive of each other. They’ve been a great source of information.
What is the big picture, and where do you see Credo five-plus years down the line?
Our mission is to change the way women think about beauty. We want to change their behavior in terms of how and what they buy based on being more informed. Our belief system is that we want the community to be informed. We want to align and tap into the community, and to take that to every community in the country.