Koala Baby features recycled and sustainable, but upmarket packaging and a cheeky Koala.

Leading Australian Jasmin Skincare manufacturer was the first organic skin care brand to gain organic certification in China in 2009. With the response beyond their expectations, founders Lihua Song and Gordon Chalmers set up a new company in Japan called Jasmin Aromatique Organics and launched Koala Baby Organics in north Asia.
Koala Baby meets the Australian and United States standard, and the percentage of organic ingredients used is the highest in the organic cosmetics market. “We are the only company with USDA organic certification on all our products including shampoo and complex cosmetics”. It is a tougher challenge to get USDA (food grade) organic standard applied to cosmetics. “We are also selling Koala Baby into China and supplying private label versions”, says Mr Chalmers. “Chinese parents spend a lot on babies and have gone overboard about the safety of products following the melamine milk tainting scare”.

Having organic certification has contributed to the success of Jasmin Skincare and Koala Baby. In 2010 the couple opened the first certified organic cosmetics store in China with a spa. They now have four Jasmin China stores and also sell the Jasmin Skincare products through hundreds of retail outlets.

Last year, the company acquired Aromatique of Japan, for 11 years the nation’s leading organic essential oils and cosmetics group, and rebranded it Jasmin Aromatique Organics. The company has a filling and packaging facility in Tokyo and a farm on Hokkaido Island where plants such as organic lavender are grown. Manufacturing in Japan is a major advantage to export into Asia. “We have five Jasmin shops in Japan and a presence in 130 retail outlets. Although the recent earthquake and tsunami have affected all sectors, the Japanese market is going well for Jasmin Skincare. “We have successfully launched the Koala Baby range of 17 products and have all of Japan operations certified organic to OFC (Australia) and USDA standards, paying the Australian Auditor to travel all the way – a first in Japan”, said Mr. Chalmers. A new launch of Jasmin Aromatique ranges for Brightening and Cell Activator will follow and Aussie Organic Lifestyle stores will open in Hong Kong later this year.

Their most successful product for Jasmin organic women's skincare is its anti-ageing serum, a blend of 11-12 essential and botanical oils with high vitamin C content to rejuvenate women’s skin. “While Australian women like to tan and suffer skin damage and ageing around the eyes, Asian women like the Whitening and Rejuventation products and try to look whiter and not tan”, said Mr Chalmers. “The anti-ageing serum is the most expensive in the Jasmin organic range and in the most demand”.

Jasmin’s manufacturing concentrates at Mt Tamborine, Australia where the farm is located and where oil extraction, manufacturing and packaging has taken place since 2002; Jasmin Skincare also operates the world’s first certified organic filling and packaging plant in China and it is mainly for private label sales as importing from Australia adds 50% to the cost. Other initiatives at the company include an effort to responsible packaging. “With Koala Baby we source all recyclable and sustainable packaging from Germany”, said Mr. Chalmers. “We aim to be the highest organic standard in the world to compete with the French”. Lipsticks are in wood and not bamboo, which is not allowed in Australia. However, the company will use some sustainable bamboo and bio-plastic packaging where possible”. Jasmin Skincare is 99.7% organic on average across the whole range of Koala Baby in 14 products and is the highest organic content of any baby range in organic content in the world”, says Mr. Chalmers.

Regarding expansion in other regions Jasmin pulled back from Europe and the USA 18 months ago due to the impact of the GFC when people were not buying. The firm focused on China and other countries in Asia such as Japan. Sales in Asia hit $40 million in 2011 and compound sales growth each quarter for Jasmin Skincare is 20%-30%, including new product rollouts.

Currently Jean Kaszacs of Green Biotech is their franchisee for Eastern Europe with three Jasmin Spa Organic Harmony stores in Hungary and other countries being explored. Recently appointed was Leesa Hubbard, based in Vancouver, Canada as business development manager for North America.