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Barbara Sturm Hires Net-a-porter Buyer as CEO

Daniel Guttmann will head the skin-care brand as it gears up for global expansion.

Age isn’t an issue at Barbara Sturm’s antiaging skin-care line.

The business has just hired 26-year-old Daniel Guttmann from Net-a-porter as its chief executive officer. At Net-a-porter, Guttmann was the global associate buyer for beauty and grooming.

Barbara Sturm Hires Net-a-porter Buyer as CEO
Daniel Guttmann

At Sturm’s skin-care operation — which uses molecular technology to combat aging and other skin conditions — Guttmann will oversee the brand’s global expansion. His focus will be on forging strong relationships with retail partners — like he and Sturm did while he was still at Net-a-porter, he said. Guttmann started the new role in early April.

“The overall strategy is to build the brand into a global name,” Guttmann said. “We have great footing in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany right now….It’s really about forging strong relationships and building one retailer at a time. We’ll be looking into other European markets.”

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“It’s so interesting to have someone on board who comes from the buyer’s point of view — he knows exactly how to deal with buyers, customers and marketing,” Sturm, a physician who specializes in facial aesthetics, said.

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Both Sturm and Guttmann expect his age to be a plus, especially in the digital department. “In modern times you need to know everything that’s going on with the Millennials, you need to be up to date,” Sturm said.

“Our digital sales are so strong…the team really gets it and has grown up with it,” Guttmann said.

The brand has already been growing — it recently launched with 20 Space NK doors in the U.K., is sold on Net-a-porter, in Harrod’s, Violet Gray, Bergdorf Goodman, Shen Beauty and other retailers. Sturm’s line has “really high replenishment rates,” Guttmann noted, adding “it’s just about getting the products we have now into the hand of the consumer.” Industry sources estimated that Sturm’s business could double this year, even without entering new markets.

Sturm, who recently returned from a U.K. tour, said the feedback she’s received from her customers has convinced her the line should be sold more broadly. “When we go to retailers, I take the time, I educate the staff, I do the trainings, they all have my contact information,” she added. “It’s very important to grow it with every customer in a very precise way.”

In addition to distribution expansion, Sturm’s line has added new products — including a nutritional supplement and Antiaging Primer, $85, developed with makeup artist Monika Blunder.

“She said, ‘Oh my God, I use your Hyaluronic Acid Serum as a primer,’ and I said, ‘what’s a primer?’” Sturm said. “So the idea was born….It’s really like moisturizer that prepares your skin for makeup.”

The brand’s nutritional supplement, Skin Food, relies on purslane, the same ingredient that stars in the Darker Skin Tones by Dr. Barbara Sturm line, launching in Harrods in July.

“The supplements and ingestibles are really an interesting marketing,” Guttmann said. “I’ve seen this movement toward people caring not only what they put on topically, but also what they put in their body….[The launch of the supplement] is really good timing and helps round out the assortment.”

Going forward, Sturm, who has a three-year-old daughter, is planning a baby line, she said.