SAVUE: A New Look for Natural Cosmetics
SAVUE was founded a year ago by Swantje and Annika, who both share a love for natural cosmetics. Previously online-only, they opened their first physical location in Berlin last August—a chic space on Silvio-Meier-Straße with an exposed brick wall, brass accents, and a velvet couch.
Swantje is a studied economist and most recently worked as a brand and product manager for a natural cosmetics company: product development and marketing is her vocation. Annika is a studied art historian. After her studies, she worked in sales and distribution. The pair’s been able to synthesize this varied skill set to create a brand with a modern image and strategic business plan: to bring their curation of international beauty products to Germany.
“Fans of natural cosmetics are happy to have a place in Germany where they can get the international brands they like. We also want to target a young audience that’s maybe not so interested in natural cosmetics. They can see it’s stylish, it works, it smells good, it feels good, and it’s organic—even better.”
The salon’s approach is that of a private showroom, where customers can take their time trying the products and discover what suits them. This enables Annika and Swantje to directly share their passion with others while shattering the misconception that natural cosmetics can’t be elegant. Their aim? For natural cosmetics go mainstream.
Annika and Swantje both cherish the freedom and independence that come with being business owners; they’re able to actualize their vision for the salon, in every capacity. For example: they managed the photoshoot that produced the photos for their website themselves. The flipside of this autonomy is that they’re responsible for everything.
“Being self-employed also means you’re working on your own and constantly. You reach your limits, but I often remind myself: What else would I do now? Sit in an office where I need to do what others tell me, where I don’t see the product? So, you immediately come to the conclusion that you did everything right.”
Swantje and Annika place a high value on their customers’ feedback and it’s also what inspires them to persevere. They say it’s always a pleasant surprise to meet their diverse customer base: customers are anywhere between 18 and 80 years-old and they discovered men also use the products. It’s easy to see that natural cosmetics can appeal to anyone.
“We want to stay close to the customers. A few days ago, we were asked how we choose our products... If a product looks nice, for example, on Instagram, we order tests. Our bathroom is full of test products—we almost can’t keep up. Now, companies even approach us, asking if they can be listed. We get parcels for testing without asking for them. It’s fun, but also a lot of work as we really want to test everything. We’ve personally tested all the products that appear in the showroom and in our online shop.”
Annika and Swantje plan to keep looking for new international brands to distribute and also have a few surprises in store for the salon, which indeed piqued our curiosity. Keep up with SAVUE’s news by following them on Facebook @SAVUEBeauty and Instagram @savuebeauty.
Their advice to new entrepreneurs?
“You always think you’re prepared, but there’s inevitably one thing you forgot. You need to think step by step and keep on going. Don’t give up. There’s always a solution.”
Swantje and Annika first encountered the SumUp card reader at a cocktail bar and were drawn to its stylish design. They use SumUp to accept card payments at the salon and also at fairs, for example, at Berlin Fashion Week. They also bring it along for smaller events with customers as well as to the Heldenmarkt—a market that focuses on sustainability.
“Customers like the fact they get a receipt by email/SMS and not a paper receipt. Normally, you don’t have, for example, € 200 cash in your pocket, so it’s very useful and easy for the customers… What’s also very convenient is that, even at venues where you might think there’s no signal, it works without any problem. In addition, you’re paying no monthly fees.”