We’re thrilled to present the latest addition to Afluencer’s content lineup – our podcast series featuring insightful conversations with influential brand owners. In this inaugural article, we have the privilege of introducing Iwona Kozak, the visionary founder of Holistic Brands, as our esteemed guest.
Table of Contents
Meet Iwona Kozak: The Mind Behind Holistic Brands
Iwona Kozak, the innovative mind driving Holistic Brands, takes center stage in the Afluencer podcast series. With a wealth of experience in the world of influencer marketing, Iwona shares captivating insights, challenges, and triumphs that have shaped her brand’s journey.
Podcast Premiere: Delving into the Holistic Brands Universe
Join us in exploring the enchanting world of Holistic Brands through the eyes of Iwona Kozak herself. We’ve embedded the riveting YouTube podcast video below, offering an exclusive glimpse into the transformative power of influencer marketing.
Also, listen to the Afluencer Podcast on:
00:00 🎶 Introduction to the podcast
– Introduction to Ivana Kak and her skincare brand Ellis Spa.
01:09 🌍 Ivona’s Background and Launching Ellis Spa
– Ivana’s background from the corporate world to becoming a yoga teacher and founding Holistic Brands.
– The story of how she brought Ellis Spa skincare to the North American market.
02:31 🚀 Initial Marketing and Celebrity Makeup Artists
– How they initially marketed Ellis Spa and connected with naturopathic doctors.
– The role of celebrity makeup artists like Monica Hooper in promoting the brand.
05:17 🧪 Educating Customers About Clean Beauty
– The challenge of educating customers about the difference between clean Beauty and truly clean Beauty.
– Highlighting the importance of using safe and clinically proven skincare products.
09:04 ♻️ Focus on Environmentally Sound Products
– Emphasizing the environmental aspect of Ellis Spa products and their commitment to nature.
– The significance of aligning with influencers who share these values.
12:09 💼 Working with Influencers and Product Recommendations
– Plans to work with influencers, both Nano and larger, who align with their values.
– Recommendations for best-selling products like hyaluronic acid and anti-aging cream.
17:20 🆔 Staying Young at Heart
– A lighthearted discussion about Ivana’s age and getting ID’d while enjoying life.
Transcription Insight: A Peek into the Conversation
Gain an insider’s perspective as we burrow into the transcription of our engaging conversation with Iwona Kozak. Discover the strategies, anecdotes, and wisdom that have fueled Holistic Brands’ success, all captured in this in-depth transcription.
In Conversation with Iwona Kozak, Founder of Holistic Brands:
Welcome to our influencer podcast, where we connect influencers and brands to talk all things influencer creator marketing special episode here today for you skincare and beauty influencers. We’ve got Ivanna Kozak with holistic Brands founder here, and we’re going to talk about her new Ella Spa brand, some opportunities. They’re actually not a new brand, I should say, but opportunities will take us through these influencer ops, the products, so on, so forth.
But first we are going to get into your background. So Ivana, welcome again. And can you give us a little bit about your history, how you brought Ella Spa skincare over here to North American Market?
Absolutely. Well, thank you very much for having me. It’s very exciting. And well, my background actually is from corporate world. However, I’m also a yoga teacher, so the way actually Holistic Brands was funded was that I was born in Poland, lived in Canada for about 25 years, and I had to go back to Poland for a project that was working on for just a couple of months.
But I stayed for four years and the reason was that somebody asked me to teach a yoga class and just exploded and it grew. And many students I was writing for the best Polish magazines about holistic lifestyle, yoga, meditation and so on. One of the students was Ella, and that’s how I met Ella, who is the founder, the brain, the heart behind our brand.
When I was going back to Canada, she asked me if I would like to represent her brand in North America, because apparently from the very first yoga class, she wanted to be in business with me. She never mentioned that until I was leaving the four years later. So after some research studying because it was a new industry to me, but as I was researching it and trying her products and getting them to various institutions, doctors here in Canada and getting their feedback, what I found is that her products are very special and I’ve decided to actually launch Ella Spa in Canada in 2013.
So basically Ella was my student in my yoga class and then I became her student in the skincare industry. So here.
We are. That’s a great that’s a great connection. So how do people and as you mentioned, it sounds like a lot of boots on the ground in terms of getting the product out there in the skin care in the spa world. How did you find initially, if we go back to 2014 after the launch, how did people end up finding their way to and choosing Ella Spa as their hero?
We you know, we basically we went out there and talked to institutions, spa clinics, naturopathic doctors picked our line almost immediately because naturopathy doctors are all into the natural and products and safe of obviously products and lifestyle. So they’ve picked up our line very quickly. That was our the first kind of segment. But one of the things that really brought us to the market quicker and and helped us to grow in Canada was one of the top, top celebrity makeup artists.
Monica Hooper It’s who I was introduced to by a friend, and I did not know that she was one of the top makeup artists and during the first meeting, after looking at the products and trying them and so on, she said to me, I love your products. I’m going to use them on Star Trek. We just were starting to film next week and we were on Star Trek just like that.
The then we were on Deadpool and then, you know, because Monica has such a reputation and she works with the biggest productions, other makeup artists obviously found out. And we now we working, we work with over 100, maybe more celebrity makeup artists from Hollywood, Vancouver, New York, Toronto and so on. And that’s a very interesting thing happened is that, you know, makeup artists receive a lot of skin care products from skincare brands.
They actually buy our products. Not only that, they pay for our products. They actually post started posting on social media about our spot. And that’s what gave us that boost in Canada.
Okay. Gotcha. That’s awesome. So that sounds like that was a great breakaway point for you to have the makeup artist, right? Not only promote, but also, as you said, purchase. Their product is unlike a real customer paying money for it. Right. I know that from the software world, there’s always a difference between giving it away to someone and hoping that they use it and them actually coming to you and buying it.
Let’s talk about maybe a challenge since then, right? So you had your breakaway point, but we all know running a company is challenges pop up, right? And there’s not a clear path to growth all the time. What are the things that you’ve had to figure out And maybe a one big challenge that you’ve had to deal with and surmount over the last nine or ten years?
I think the biggest challenge apart from COVID.
Because it’s right to do it.
So let’s not even mention it, don’t.
Exactly. The biggest challenge for me for our company was and still is to educate customers as dietitians, doctors about the difference between, you know, clean beauty, what is now a buzzword and really clean beauty like L.A. Spa, which is professional grade, which is 100% natural, which has clinically tested results and it’s proven clinically. It was developed for european medi spa’s.
It wasn’t developed for aroma therapy purposes and to use nice lavender in it. It was developed scientifically. It’s a truly medi spa grade professional skincare line. And there is so much as we know now, talk about the clean products, clean beauty. So for us to educate above the difference and what is real and what is just, you know, a buzz word, that’s the biggest challenge because many companies are from small to big to medium.
Now they have clean skincare lines, but they have one clean ingredient in it or two or three, and 80% will be questionable. I’ll give you a good example. What we want to really educate customers about. Our products are manufactured in European Union, where there are over 1100 active ingredients would have been banned from being used in skincare products.
In the US, there are 12 which are restricted, not even banned, just the restricted. So here is the first big difference. Whatever is manufactured in Canada, U.S. doesn’t go through the same process. It’s these products are not as safe. So that’s our challenge to say, look, there is a difference between natural and organic and natural and organic. Not all natural and organic are good, safe, and they may not have efficacy as well.
So that’s our challenge.
That’s interesting and scary. I guess as an American citizen, the difference I never thought of that in terms of location. I guess I just because I’m in the industry, not the skincare industry itself, but working with the influencers that I knew and I don’t know if most people know that though, so I’m glad you brought it up that the clean and natural brands, there’s basically no regulation on those, right?
You can say, I mean, if you have something, I mean, what does that even mean, right? If something is cleaner, it’s just.
About what it is about as well, because people are you know, customers are more and more educated. We demand cleaner products. That’s why we buy organic food. We look at our what we eat and so on. We want to use safe skin care products because skin is the largest organ. Whatever you put on it, it eventually goes into your bloodstream.
So we are more aware as as a nation, as people we are and will look for those products. So what the marketing companies do, manufactures, they go with that trend and they manufacture a lot of products under the, you know, clean beauty kind of brand. But are they really clean? As I said, there’s no regulation in European Union, at least we have that.
We cannot use 1100 over 1100 ingredients. So there is that protection right? It doesn’t mean that you cannot use that. There are ingredients which are not the best celestial for the cream for the skin in the European Union. But there is that good starting point. 1100 are not to be used, so you are safer. We go two steps ahead because we use not only safe ingredients as per European Union standards, but we also use organic ingredients and 100% natural ingredients.
So 100% natural 98% of our ingredients have eco certification from European Union. So we are safe, we are clean, and also we use biomimetic ingredients. And that means that the ingredients have the same molecular structure as that ingredient which naturally exists in your skin. So it’s our products are not only safe, but they are we try to use the ingredients which your skin recognizes what it can utilize properly.
So we go that’s further step ahead.
Yeah, that’s many steps ahead. Meanwhile, here in the US, I was thinking just a couple of years ago you started seeing at least with the natural products go to the self-care deodorant aisle and it says aluminum free, which doesn’t really make you feel too good because you think, oh, aluminum is normal. That right? I didn’t know that was normal.
So that’s kind of where we’re at here in the U.S. So how do you handle that then, as a business owner, as a marketer? Because that’s something we always think about when we’re marketing our own company to how do we differentiate, Oh, hey, we actually have the influencers as users versus pointing out to the broader Internet and saying, Good luck.
So it’s something every business owner thinks about, right? Is is how do I articulate that word different? Do you just stay away from the clean and natural words? Is it almost like you have to come up with your own or do you just elevate LastPass? So that’s Ellis Bobbitt then becomes the brand that people need to associate. How do you handle that from a marketing challenge standpoint?
Well, it’s a challenge. That’s why I said that is the challenge. Exactly. So, you know, we are just entering the U.S. but how we want to handle it is we want to work with people such as influencers who are aligned with our values, who would like to educate the public, who also care about the environment, because I didn’t mention our products are as environmentally sound as possible.
Our packaging has the I am green certification from European Union, so we want to align ourselves with such partners who nature is dear to them. Safety of the products is dear to them and they want to educate their followers and they want to tell their followers, men and women, to, you know, I want we want them to say, look, it is your right to use safe products that actually work and are clinically proven to work.
And here is our spot. So we want to align ourselves with like minded and like hearted people.
Yeah, awesome. Yeah, makes a lot of sense there. So from the influencer standpoint, have you worked with influencers in Europe before or is this mostly a North America thing? Canada, U.S., where we’re looking to the influencers to help spread the word?
As I’ve mentioned, we have not worked with influencers here in Canada, to be honest. Makeup artists became our influencers this year, which was fantastic. But we are entering the US market, which are we are very excited about that and we want to work with influencers in the U.S.. I think this is such a phenomenal way of spreading the word.
Yeah, that’s great. So to recap then on the types that you’re looking for and we will get a link to your collab posted as well. So our beauty and skincare influencers can apply. If you could just give us a rundown, any specific types in terms of follower size, are we looking for nano micro-influencers? I assume we would like to see some high engagement rates, so we’d like to focus like as you mentioned, on the natural, the true quality of the product sort of elaboration then in terms of what influencers should apply to work with you and Alyssa.
Yes, So we would like to work, you know, with Nano and, and, and, but also bigger influencers if this is of interest to them. As I’ve mentioned, I think people who really react very well to Ella Spa products are those who, whose lifestyle includes maybe yoga, meditation, nature, caring about nature, but also beauty as well skin care products because we know that estheticians and and and consumers, we are all using skincare products.
So we want to align ourselves with those influencers who are into beauty, into that kind of lifestyle, but also to those that care about the environment, care about nature and want to to to use and educate customers about safe, natural, safe skin care products.
Excellent. Any best selling products that you’d recommend either for our influencers or a guy like me that we should check out?
Oh, sure. Well, our number one best seller and every makeup artist buy buys that product and uses onsite. But is is our hyaluronic acid, which has high and low molecular structure. So it works within and the on the surface of the skin, it’s hydrating, it’s plumping, it’s a serum. So it’s absolutely amazing. Anti-Aging cream again, number two bestseller.
I would say just to give you an example of the results, after four weeks of using anti-aging cream elasticity of the skin increases by 26% moisture level by 28%, trans epidermal water loss decreases by 15%, almost. Just to tell you, when we send our products to the independent lab to do their tests, we cut the back. That results back.
And we were told that they have never, ever seen results like that because the highest, for example, moisture level would be in, you know, 15, 16%. In our case, it’s well over 20%. So these are the kind of results. So hyaluronic acid anti-aging cream now in winter time. Also moisture boost cream because the skin is dry, because the skin is exposed to cold weather outside and the cold and and dry inside.
So three products.
Okay, great. You notice that here, even though we’re in California’s northern, it started to get cooler and the central heat running all the time. So there’s a big difference in terms of drying out. Again that’s amazing for weeks and all those results. Okay. I was going to ask because I get why the makeup artists would want because they’re trying to have everyone look good.
But yeah, I was wondering what the timeline would be because it must work best. That’s very quick in terms of research.
So, you know, we get it’s interesting how we get sometimes the emergency phone calls from makeup artist because their main actor has acne and they call us, is it? What do we do? So we we said, here is the product line, you know said and they get results. It doesn’t have to always be four weeks. They get results within a week.
Already there’s huge improvement. But the four weeks is a standard time that the the laboratory will actually tested. So it’s a four week but people see the results after the two, three, four days, you will start seeing that your skin begins to look and feel different. It will just be more healthy, useful looking.
That’s great. All right. I’m not. You got me sold. I’m in a lot of the cart. Now, once we get off the phone, I’ll let you go on this one. Ivana, the one drawback. I can see how often you get ID. Then if you’re trying to buy a glass of wine or get a drink out.
Yes, I’m 62, and when I was 40, I was still being. I did. I’m not ideal anymore.
This past, you just had to put the. If I finally got to put the idea away. Yeah, that’s amazing. There we go. What you. It says everything else. Good for you and good for the company. So how can people find Ella Spas? And again, you have their collab poster with us, is that right?
The link underneath. How else can you get out the website, socials, all that good stuff to buy your product?
Yes, it’s Ella’s Ella. There are spa dot com. So Ella does spa dot com or at La Spa skincare on Instagram. So please visit us, have a look reach out to us. We look forward to working with the influencers that, as I said, are aligned with us and let’s make a little revolution.
There we go, skincare and beauty influencers. Let’s go revolution time. You go actually your entire life, like in Monaco. Zac, our founder here at LA Spot. Thanks again for joining us. Imani This is great And again, encourage everyone to apply to your cloud, especially our beauty skin care focused influencers.
Thank you very much. That.
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Reflecting on a Journey of Innovation and Influence
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