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Skin Nutrition

Richard Purvis' early career as an athlete, then as a sports nutrition company owner, taught him the importance of taking care of the body inside and out...

Richard Purvis’ early career as an athlete, then as a sports nutrition company owner, taught him the importance of taking care of the body inside and out — a lesson he has taken to heart with his fledgling company, Skin Nutrition. The cosmeceutical wellness brand will enter Saks Fifth Avenue later this month as part of the retailer’s new wellness area.

“Our purpose is to create products which treat the cause of aging at the cellular level, not just symptoms at the surface,” said Purvis, who maintains that aging skin is self-induced and both preventable and reversible. “We’re not into me-too or things that work only at the surface. If you combine the right products with the right diet, you’d be amazed at what you can do.”

That view has its roots in Purvis’ previous entrepreneurial endeavor, NutriMax, a global manufacturer of nutritional supplements. Antiaging became a major focus for him after a seminar in New Zealand, Purvis said. “The lecturer spoke of certain raw materials capable of reducing inflammation at a cellular level,” he said, “and I learned that inflammation is caused primarily by lifestyle, diet, stress, pollution, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption. It intrigued me, and from there, I knew I wanted to get into face care and body care.”

Along the way, Purvis met John Knowlton, a cosmetic chemist who had long stints developing products for Johnson & Johnson, Avon and other major cosmetics companies. Then Skin Nutrition was born.

Skin Nutrition’s first products, the Essential Anti-Oxidant range, was launched in 2002, using South Africa — where the company is currently based — as a testing ground. (Later this year, Purvis plans to move Skin Nutrition’s operations to Los Angeles.) Distribution in Europe followed, including Selfridges in the U.K., as well as doors in Malaysia and Australia.

The line has grown to include the Advanced Peptide Therapy Facial range, with seven products ranging in price from $120 for a Facial Resurfacing Exfoliator to $190 for a Face Lifting Gel, and the Body Beautiful skin care range, with seven products ranging in price from $80 for Therapeutic Massage Oil to $125 for Body Rejuvenation Lotion.

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Purvis continues to believe in the importance of good nutrition, and Skin Nutrition also markets ingestibles such as shakes and supplements in a line called the Body Beautiful Nutrition range. “We can do great things with products, but that only goes to a certain level — especially if there is excessive consumption of alcohol or cigarettes,” he said. “Simple carbs are awful for your skin, too — the constant spiking of blood sugar creates inflammation.”

Items in the six-stockkeeping unit Body Beautiful Nutrition collection range in price from $3 for an omega-3-enriched snack bar to $60 for an omega-3 shake mix.

Purvis has his eye on additional international distribution. “I’m really focused on making this a global brand and getting the message across globally,” said Purvis, adding that Russian distribution is imminent. “With the U.S., we have been a little more careful and selective with where to go — we wanted to speak to the consumer in the best way possible. Saks Fifth Avenue has our customers in the store, which is why we decided to do an exclusive with them as our entry into the U.S. market.” Eventually, high-end U.S. specialty stores will follow, he said. Purvis also has his eye on stores like Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Marionnaud in France. “We want to be in the top doors, and that’s where we’re concentrating,” he said.

While Purvis declined to discuss sales targets in the U.S., industry sources estimated that Skin Nutrition could do upward of $1 million at retail in its first year at Saks.