Ignae eyes the region’s booming luxury beauty market

The Portuguese skincare company dates back to 2009. It was founded by Miguel Pombo, who previously worked in the cosmetics industry and dealt with regulations. Pombo, originally from the Azores, has developed its range of skin care products inspired by the unique biodiversity of the archipelago.

The Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands. With a subtropical climate and rich, fertile soil, it is home to a unique assortment of flora, including Europe’s only tea plantations and rainforests.

“The first time I went to the Azores I was immediately struck – it’s like paradise. Not only is it beautiful, but it has an incredible biological ecosystem. It has thermal water, tea plantations and tropical forests. It’s really unbelievable.​ said Claire Chung, CEO of Ignae.

The brand uses a range of ingredients sourced from the Azores, including Japanese camillia, Japanese cedar and phycocyanin extracted from spirulina.

Powering Ignae is the brand’s patent-pending EPC Factor complex that delivers the powerful ingredients to the deep layers of the skin.

Thanks to this technology, we are able to deliver them to the basal layer of the skin where they are most effective. Being able to use the full potential of these natural extracts in high-efficiency cosmetic products was a major step forward,” pombo said CosmeticDesign-Asia.

The use of biotechnology improves the effectiveness of the active ingredients and also allows the company to develop its products with minimal impact on the ecosystem.

“The use of this technology brings not only more efficiency in the products, but also sustainability. It’s something that’s really important to us because it’s something that we’re going to take on a global scale, and we can’t suck the resources out of this rare paradise,” Chung said.

Chung, who led the launch of Net-A-Porter in China, joined the company in 2020 and immediately recognized Ignae’s global potential, particularly in Asia.

“After living in China for so many years, you become really sensitive to the ingredients. It’s really about the Azores; plants and water are very rich in minerals. In addition to having this incredible efficiency, there is a real authentic story. In addition, these products work very well on Asian skin, which is very critical.

The company initially focused on establishing itself in the Western market, but has no doubt that Asia is a “key market.

Today, Ignae is available online in Hong Kong where it has a local partner. This year, one of the markets he will focus on is China.

“China is exciting because it’s such a huge market and consumers are really hungry for new things, and they’re also hungry for authentic stories and things associated with nature – just like the Korean island, Jeju, but the Azores are a million times better,”Chung said.

It is currently available on multi-brand luxury online retailer Ssence, which Chung says has a strong following among Chinese millennial consumers.

Chung said the company’s goal is to establish a cross-border online channel by next year. At the same time, it is looking for a strategic partner or a distributor in China.

Additionally, the company also has its eye on the wider Asian region, including markets like Japan, Korea, and Singapore.

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