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NEW YORK — Sisters Sarah Gibbs and Catherine Wells are hoping three’s a charm with their line of organic skin care, Trilogy: Pure Extraction Botanicals, now launching in the U.S. via distributor Lafco NY.

The New Zealand natives developed the line in 2002, when former beauty editor Wells and cosmetics ingredient manufacturer Gibbs decided it was about time they realize their lifelong dream of working together. The result is a line of all-natural face and body care products, which are based on three principles: simple, pure and vital; the products have been gaining momentum over the years, subsequently becoming available in Australia and the U.K. after the initial launch on the sister’s home turf.

“We always wanted to work together,” said Wells. “So it was a natural pathway for us — my interest was in beauty and skin care and [Gibbs’] expertise was in ingredients.”

According to Wells, Trilogy started with five face care products and now includes 11 stockkeeping units, ranging from $11 for the Lip Treatment to $40 for the Vital Repair Cream. Each product contains a blend of what the company refers to as “pure extraction botanicals.” These plant, flower, fruit and vegetable extracts are obtained using a process in which carbon dioxide is liquefied under pressure, creating solvent-free cosmetic oils. The process preserves active botanical enzymes in the oils, helps the oils stay free of harmful solvent residues such as alcohol, methanol and hexane and keeps active ingredients in the oils intact, according to Wells and Gibbs. “It’s a very pure technique for producing ingredients,” said Gibbs.

In addition, many of the products contain rosehip oil, an ingredient that contains fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6, which are said to restore dry, damaged skin and help promote skin cell renewal and repair and fight free radical damage. Trilogy’s products are free from silicones, synthetic fillers or emulsifiers and artificial fragrances, including parabens, genetically engineered ingredients, mineral oils and alcohol. And, while the brand is being marketed as organic, its sleek, simple packaging and fresh scent belies a much more sophisticated clientele than the traditional organic product consumer.

“The interesting thing about the brand is that they didn’t set out to make a natural product; they set out to make a high-performance product,” said Jon Bresler, president of Lafco NY. “In the end, they found that natural ingredients worked best.”

This story first appeared in the May 20, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Wells said it also came down to what is best for skin in the end: If the same effect can be achieved with natural ingredients as with synthetic ingredients, why not choose the more natural alternative?

“We wanted to create sustainable skin care solutions for women who are looking for more natural alternatives,” she said. “The movement towards more natural ingredients — from household cleaners to garden products to the food we eat — is very close to our hearts. We want to give [our customers] everything [their] skin needs and nothing it doesn’t.”

Bresler said that future plans for the brand include a body care line, which will most likely launch in late 2005. Trilogy is currently sold in Lafco NY, Takashimaya, Aedes de Venustas and on Beauty.com. Industry sources expect the line to bring in up to $1 million in first-year retail sales.

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