Q&A: Aditi Ramirez, Head of Finance and Operations, and Francesco Clark, Founder at Clark’s Botanicals

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Clark’s Botanicals: An Inspirational Story

Q: The inspiration for the Clark’s Botanicals brand is truly captivating! Francesco, you have overcome so many obstacles and have a genuine connection to the mission of the brand. How has your story and the founding of Clark’s Botanicals resonated with the brand’s fanbase and consumers?

A: When we started more than 15 years ago, we were started from a hospital bed. The products were never meant to be sold, they were formulated to help Francesco look as good as he felt so that he could find his voice. Since our founding that has been our mission; we do it through beautiful skincare products, but our objective is to help people live their best life because they feel confident in their own skin. Today consumers talk about whether a brand’s values align with their own, but the beautiful part about Clark’s Botanicals is that for us, that’s nothing new. It’s what made us a brand that people know and trust.

Clark Botanicals: Francesco and Aditi

Q: In a space most would consider highly competitive, how has Clark’s Botanicals utilized its large following of creators and fans on Instagram to help differentiate itself and drive revenues?

A: Clark’s Botanicals is fortunate to have a very loyal and active customer base. As a small brand, we’ve never worked with mega influencers and that has served us well. When our friends and customers post about the brand, others know it’s authentic and not a paid partnership which is so much more valuable. Additionally, our greatest creator, and point of differentiation, is our founder Francesco who has an extraordinary group of friends and followers who have supported us over the years. No one can replicate that!

The Rising Costs of Traditional Marketing Channels

Q: As privacy regulations of traditional marketing channels increase, reaching targeted audiences and tracking conversions becomes more challenging for brands. Aditi, is this a trend you’ve seen? If so, how does this impact the finance and operations side of a business?

A: Yes. The impact of new privacy regulations is far-reaching. As a small brand, we’re fortunate that we’ve always relied more on our organic channels than our paid channels. That said, we’re continually looking across channels to see where/how we can continue to expand our reach, and thus far we’ve been able to reallocate our spending across paid media channels to optimize our return. 

We’re also focusing more heavily on unique content to reach our customers. Clark’s Botanicals has always differentiated itself first, by offering superb skincare to discerning customers, and second through Francesco’s voice. As an independent brand that was founded from a hospital bed, Francesco’s story, and Francesco as a person, have always connected with people and engaged them in genuine dialogues before engagement was a KPI that we all measured. The recent changes have taken us back to our roots in thinking about using various platforms to engage our customers on a variety of topics ranging from skincare to self-care more broadly to romance languages to pop culture. It’s a fun challenge!

The Focus on Eco-Friendly Packaging

Q: Clark’s Botanicals recently reformulated its products. The new jade green and white packaging symbolize the brand’s radical new formulations, clean ingredients, and environmentally responsible packaging. How has this resonated with the brand’s fanbase in terms of engagement and sales?

A: Clark’s Botanicals has maintained a commitment to clean ingredients and environmental sustainability long before these were “brand values” that we speak about today. The repackaging and reformulation have given Clark’s Botanicals the opportunity to speak to its existing and new customers about the blend of science and nature that enables us to achieve outstanding results with the cleanest, sustainably sourced ingredients. 

Our packaging has been updated to eliminate waste in the supply chain and use only materials that are 100% recyclable from sustainable sources to the extent possible. 

We’ve seen these practices that we’ve embraced since our founding resonate across our customer base from Millennials to Baby Boomers for different reasons, but in the end, the proof is in the pudding, or in our case the formulation!

User-Generated Content of Creators

Q: In addition to clean ingredients, Jasmine Catalyst Complex™ is the new proprietary healing and fortifying first ingredient to every Clark’s Botanicals product. Is this a major differentiator for the brand? If so, would having more user-generated content about this ingredient lead to increased revenues and lower customer acquisition costs?

A: Jasmine Catalyst Complex is our secret weapon. It’s a precise blend of 4 ingredients that is immuno-stimulating to the skin while soothing when combined with more aggressive active ingredients such as retinol. Francesco and his father, a physician, and homeopath, discovered it after 5 years and over 100 different blends that were intended to heal Francesco’s own skin after his accident. I think that having more UGC on Jasmine Catalyst Complex would help build brand awareness which would ultimately lead to increased revenues. However, we’ve found that while customers want to know about JCC, that’s only one part of each formulation. They want to know about all of the synergistic ingredients and how they work together to be effective and improve the look and feel of their skin.

The Creator Economy and Clark’s Botanicals

Q: The Creator Economy has taken flight in recent years and is set to have a major impact in 2022. Brands are planning on starting or scaling their influencer, ambassador, and affiliate programs. Francesco, do you see Clark’s Botanicals utilizing creators and social media more in driving brand awareness and revenue growth?

A: Absolutely. Social media has driven the democratization of so many industries including ours. It allows small players like us to have a voice which is exactly why I founded this company. We already have an active affiliate program that is growing and we are in the process of designing a brand ambassador program. We’ve always had a very loyal customer base but we are now looking at leveraging that loyalty to help us reach more people in a more structured way. I personally love that social media platforms give me the ability to reach our loyal customers on a more informal, regular basis. Some of the initiatives we’re excited about in 2022 are personalized consultations, Francesco Fridays and regular live appearances on platforms like Flip and Amazon.

Looking Forward into 2022

Q: Clark’s Botanicals is a blooming beauty and wellness brand with a lot of opportunities for growth. What are some of the exciting product innovations that fans can expect to see in 2022? 

A: We’re very excited to announce the launch of Invisible Hero, which is truly a hero product. In addition to providing broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, its anti-aging and anti-pollution with key ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide. Invisible Hero can only be found on clarksbotanicals.com until April 15. 

Later in 2022, we’ll be launching a couple more new products. We’re very selective about the new products we launch because they have to meet the strictest standards of efficacy, clean ingredients, and environmental sustainability. I’m particularly excited about one of the launches which, like Invisible Hero, will be in a new category for us.

To find out the great things Clark’s Botanicals is doing please check out their website at clarksbotanicals.com or follow them on Instagram @clarksbotanicals

Thank you Francesco and Aditi for stopping by!

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