Rose Fernandez has been appointed chief executive officer of Algenist, the prestige algae-based skin-care brand. The announcement comes just 18 months after she joined the Tengram-owned company as senior vice president of sales.
She succeeds Frederic Stoeckel, who is stepping down to return to his home country of France but will remain on the company’s executive board. “Rose is the perfect person to further advance the brand,” Stoeckel said in a statement. “She possesses unparalleled knowledge of the industry and shows clear passion for the products. I’m confident her leadership will help further secure Algenist as a leading prestige skin-care brand.”
Fernandez is no stranger to building skin-care businesses. She has more than 20 years of experience in the beauty business from previous roles at Jurlique, Kate Somerville and Murad. Fernandez was involved in sales, brand marketing and built strong digital expertise in her previous roles.
There is huge potential for Algenist, Fernandez told WWD, which was discovered after a biotech company witnessed the antiaging benefits of the micro-algae it was plumbing to power jets and enhance nutrition. “The number-one thing I want to do is double the business,” said Fernandez. Industry sources estimate Algenist currently has sales of more than $30 million. Algenist did not comment on revenues.
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The brand’s plan to double down its efforts is well-timed as consumers look not only for natural formulas but efficacious lines with speedy results. “We are the best-kept secret. We have hard-hitting technology — Alguronic acid is the holy grail of skin care. It is my mission to make sure we get credit for that ingredient,” Fernandez contended. She added the brand has reams of research supporting its results, which it claims are noticeable within 10 days.
Going beyond being sustainably produced, the company’s lineup of 59 stockkeeping units is almost totally vegan. That’s been part of the success of its Genius Liquid Collagen, now the brand’s number-one stockkeeping unit. Launched last August, Genius Liquid Collagen, which retails for $115, is said to be the first vegan, plant-based collagen formulation on the market. Collagen is typically derived from animal sources, but Algenist was able to produce a vegan collagen formula.
Critical to Genius Liquid Collagen is a movement Fernandez hopes to accelerate as far as labeling of skin care. Rather than focus on terminology, such as antiaging, her goal is to be transparent with easy-to-understand benefits. For example, Genius Liquid Collagen’s callouts are “restores bounce and resilience in 10 days,” rather than hammering home the concept of antiaging. “We are trying to get away from saying the word antiaging,” said Fernandez. “One, I think no one pays attention, but we try to focus on the benefits like ‘helps to minimize fine lines,’ because you know that occurs with age. We don’t need to tell you.”
The Genius Liquid Collagen franchise will be expanded with a liquid collagen lip and plumping entry in the next few months. Lip, suggested Fernandez, is a good introductory product for the brand, especially in regard to attracting younger consumers. More facials masks are also in the pipeline.
Algenist’s current distribution includes a recently enhanced website, Sephora, Ulta Beauty and QVC in North America. Recently the brand partnered globally with Net-a-porter. The line is also sold in Sephora in Asia and in Space NK and John Lewis in the U.K.
Fernandez will continue to push enhanced in-store experiences, supported with aggressive sampling. She also believes in the power of digital to connect with the Algenist community. “It provides us a chance to tell our story.”