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Former Philosophy Exec Co-Launches Herb + Flora

Herb + Flora is a skin-care brand rooted in exercise science.

Philosophy’s former senior vice president global head of brand has co-developed a skin-care company of her own.

Marie-Pierre Stark-Flora, who founded Iluminage Beauty and held an executive position at The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. prior to Philosophy, has teamed with digital media strategist Guillaume Herbette to launch Herb + Flora, a skin-care brand based on exercise science. Developed in partnership with bio-tech pharmaceutical company Exerkine, Herb + Flora launches Tuesday with two topicals — an eye cream and a serum; an ingestible, and a pillowcase, with a moisturizer to come.

In founding Herb + Flora, Stark-Flora and Herbette were inspired by Homer’s “The Odyssey” and guided by research by McMaster University’s Dr. Marc Tarnopolsky, who has studied the impact of exercise on the skin.

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“When you exercise, you’re able to accelerate and improve the autophagy mechanism at the level of each and every cell — autophagy being the natural recycling mechanism that happens in every cell,” Stark-Flora said.

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Herb + Flora cofounders
Herb + Flora cofounders Guillaume Herbette and Marie-Pierre Stark-Flora. Courtesy of Jean-Paul Piras / Herb + Flora

“We have an ingestible because we know that in order to get the best results, you have to go from the inside out and from the outside in,” Stark-Flora said. “We have a pillowcase, which has copper fibers that are woven into the fabric to accelerate the proliferation of new cells. It has an effect on not only fine lines and wrinkles, but also firmness and brightness of skin.”

She and Herbette self-funded Herb + Flora, which will launch direct-to-consumer and rely on influencer marketing to deliver e-commerce sales.

“The idea of social selling is going to be at the core of our brand,” Herbette said. “We expect about 50 to 60 percent of our sales to come either through the e-commerce website or through influencers.”

Stark-Flora and Herbette are seeking investment for Herb + Flora. The brand will launch digitally in North America, followed by the U.K., France, Belgium and eventually Asia. Stark-Flora and Herbette are exploring retail partnerships.

“It’s important for us to build our business directly with our consumers,” Stark-Flora said.

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