How did a niche, natural beauty brand go from lining the counters of a spa at a family hotel in Austria’s Bergen Forest to launching in the Middle East with little to no marketing or advertising campaigns? The story goes: top level executives at Al Tayer Group – the holding company that launched luxury e-commerce website Ounass – have all been exposed to Susanne Kaufmann products in Europe and got hooked, so they decided to bring it back with them to Dubai.
Austrian-born Susanne Kaufmann, who launched her eponymous line of all-natural cosmetics in 2003, was inspired by the Hotel Post Bezau’s spa when she decided to create her own range of products. “Our spa carried a lot of great brands,” Kaufmann tells Vogue Arabia. “We had Shiseido, Clinique, and Estée Lauder. But none of them really fit the holistic spirit we wanted to capture in the spa.” This resulted in a lineup of organically produced bath oils, serums, eye creams, moisturizers, and face masks that have garnered a cult following. Each product comes in luxurious, eye-catching packaging that attracts the beauty aficionado before they even use the formulas. “Some people purchase products just to decorate their bathroom counters,” she says.
Growing up in a small village, Kaufmann was creating her own DIY skin and hair formulas at a young age. “In the summertime, my parents would send my cousins and I to visit my grandmother in the Alps, where we would collect everything from blueberries to arnica. My grandma used to wash my hair once a week using chamomile tea, beer, you name it,” she recalls. However, her DIY endeavors weren’t always a success. “Once, I decided to create my own anti-aging body scrub, so I went to the river near my home to collect sand. I mixed it together with birch ash and oil then applied it as a body scrub. But it wouldn’t rinse off!”
It was after that beauty mishap when Kauffman decided to enlist the help of a professional dermatologist to help launch the range, which started off with 24 products and now features 90. Today, it is available throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and now in the Middle East. “The Middle Eastern woman is more aware of what ingredients she is putting on her skin,” Kauffman says. “She loves to spend money on luxury formulas that get the job done. The nice thing about Susanne Kauffman is, not only are the products results-driven, they are super beautiful to look at too.”