Furtuna Skin, which launched in November of 2019, uses ingredients cultivated on an 800-acre farm in Sicily that has over 12,000 olive trees, 500 unique plants and 50 medicinal wild herbs. And though cofounders Agatha Relota Luczo and Kim Walls have been unable to personally visit Italy over the last year, their business has continued to bear fruit thanks to the message that organic can be both chic and powerful.
At a time when self-care has become a staple for consumers, Furtuna’s positioning has struck a chord: Month-over-month growth has been 25 percent, and the brand has launched four new products in the last 12 months.
“The things that we care about as people and a brand — sustainability, self-care, a brighter, greener future — are resonating with people,” said Walls. “Consumers are more responsive to those stories than they might have been if they weren’t being more introspective about all of the things around us and more attentive to health in general.”
The pandemic forced the founders to reconsider key elements of their business, but by maintaining flexibility they were able to pivot to find new avenues of growth. “Despite the difficulties, we had a good year,” said Luczo. “Hard, but good. The pandemic has prepared us to set up for future success despite the challenges.”
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Supply chain considerations were one such area. When items like labels and boxes were held up from their core supplier, Furtuna quickly found alternate options. “We figured out multiple ways of getting the same results,” continued Luczo, “work we would have had to do in the future that we’ve now taken care of.”
Distribution is another such area. Like other brands, Furtuna put brick-and-mortar expansion on the backburner, but accelerated online distribution both in the U.S. and internationally. The brand is now found on the e-commerce sites of Goop, Bluemercury, Neiman Marcus, Beauty Habit, Saks and Shen domestically. Globally, Furtuna launched in Australia, Mexico, Croatia and the Middle East, with plans to add Niche Beauty in Germany next month and Skin & Goods in Denmark in the summer.
The brand also moved up its timeline to go deeper into the spa and services side of the business. Working with aestheticians, they created a 90-minute facial for luxury and destination spas, then used that as the basis to creater shorter, custom treatments for retailers like Shen Beauty and Onda.
Whether inking partnerships with like-minded brands in other sectors, like Italian-made intimates brand The Great Eros and the wellness food brand Sakara Life, or creating a loyalty program for online shoppers or creating an optimism card giveaway with Dr. Deepika Chopra, the key has been thinking creatively about the business.
As for big lessons learned. Creating a cohesive culture with a far-flung team has been key.
“With a new team, you never know what is going to happen,” said Walls, “how their talents, skills and personalities will work as one. We really saw them come together and support each other.”
“Our team has been super flexible and able to think out of the box,” added Luczo. “We want to build a company culture that maintains positivity and supports one another, where people feel connected even if we are apart.”