Rob Robillard has moved from the high tech to the natural.
Since August, the Living Proof alum was appointed chief executive officer of Sensible Organics Inc., with expansion in mind. “We plan to be the first brand to truly make green beauty mainstream,” said Robillard. In his new role, Robillard oversees all strategy, sales, marketing, distribution and research and development for the company’s USDA-certified bath and body line, Nourish, and its private label manufacturing division. “What I love about it is similar to how I felt about Living Proof,” said Robillard. “I knew we could authentically and credibly enter the organic category because it carries the seal.”
In addition, Robillard just finished closing a round of $5 million in financing to complete the full purchase of Nourish from its founders. The financing will go towards R&D, manufacturing plant innovations centered on eco-friendly products as well as retail support and expansion.
“We know retailers across all channels are now focused on organics, as it’s become a hot growth segment and part of a bigger picture, so we are engaging new markets nationally and internationally every day, from top beauty retailers to natural retailers, drugstores and more,” said Robillard. We are also taking a leading role in the category since we have the highest certifications and seals to back up our claims. We know this is what sets us apart, and that there’s an unacceptable amount of green-washing that’s happened in the space that needs to be cleaned up.” To wit, Nourish contains only USDA-certified organic fruits, vegetable and plant extracts and is fronted by brand ambassador Christine Taylor. The line entered Ulta stores earlier this month.
“We are pleased to add Nourish to our selection at Ulta Beauty,” said Janet Taake, Ulta senior vice president of merchandising. “As the popularity of natural ingredients and organic products continues to grow, we believe that this collection will be of great interest to our customers.”
In Ulta stores for holiday, 13 Nourish products will be featured in Ulta’s Specialty Bath & Body section.
Looking to the future, Robillard said he is focused on innovation as well as education for consumers. “The future of organic beauty is getting redefined, and we’re the ones planting the seed,” said Robillard. “In terms of expansion, based on the success of the Nourish products, the next natural step is facial skin care. We’re working on a beautiful line and to at least triple our production next year.”
Prior to his most recent appointment, Robillard served as ceo of ICU Eyewear. As ceo of Living Proof, he is credited with bringing to market patented, breakthrough technologies like the introduction of polyfluoroester, a molecule used for a host of common hair issues, from controlling frizz to imparting volume.
“At the time, it was about bringing honesty and authentic performance to the market,” said Robillard. “When I was looking at Living Proof, I felt there was a desperate need from the consumer for honesty. It was a meaningful change in the [hair-care] category. Once we got distribution, sales took off and the company exploded.”
During his career, Robillard has also held positions at Kiehl’s, L’Oréal Paris, Ben & Jerry’s and McKinsey & Co.
“While I was at L’Oréal my proudest achievement was True Match,” said Robillard, who created the innovative foundation, known for its extensive shade offerings. “The concept of warm, neutral and cool didn’t exist in the mass market before then.”