Gerard and David, founders of Saigu Cosmetics: "One of our pillars is the empowerment of people, their mental health and their own love"

They could perfectly sing that melody that Serrat sings: "What am I going to do if I was born in the Mediterranean?".And is that David Hart and Gerard Prats distil a love for this region that they have overturned in Saigu Cosmetics, their beauty brand with which they have developed a new approach to natural cosmetics.

They are two friends born in Menorca, who moved to study in Barcelona and catapult their company in Valencia.Respect for the environment, sustainability and transparency in communication, from humorAnd that Saigu is not a company, it is a project with Alma.We talk to them to develop all this.

How does the idea of Saigu arose?What was the final trigger that prompted you to launch the brand?

David Hart: Well, Gerard worked in a cosmetic factory but his great passion was the environment and saw that in the industry there was a lot to be done to make it more sustainable.We are friends with childhood, we are both from Menorca but we went to study in Barcelona and, when he mentioned the situation I began to turn.I am an entrepreneur, I had already created a company before, and I am specialized in online marketing.I investigated a lot, both nationally and internationally, and I saw that there was a place in the market so Gerard began to make the first formulas in the laboratory.We were developing the products for more than a year and reflecting on the philosophy, values and communication of the brand and Saigu officially born in February 2019.

What sectors do you come?

Gerard Prats: I studied chemistry, I specialized with a Master in Dermocosmetic and was a technical director at a color cosmetics factory.I dealt with ingredient suppliers, raw materials for packaging, security tests and the entire scope of regulation.Therefore, when I considered creating my own brand, I did it very certainly in what is the development of product, but I also had by my side that I dominated the entire business part and especially marketing and communication, which is what hasachieved that Saigu is much more than a cosmetics brand.It is a project with a soul that has conquered and in love with many people.


Didn't you be afraid of facing the great conglomerates of the cosmetics that reign in the market?

David: Let's say that we both knew what we were doing in our fields and, if we decided to launch ourselves, it was because we were clear that we could contribute something new.Likewise, we do not live it as a ‘confrontation’.We have a lot of respect for the brands of the sector and we know the great effort that is to get there and stay.We even rejoice in seeing attempts to be more sustainable.One of the reasons we work hard and we want Saigu to succeed and visibility is to demonstrate that profitability is not incompatible with values, with respect for the environment and sustainability.The more cosmetic marks put this speech into practice, the better it will be for the entire planet.

Let's talk about sustainability: you are very clear that one of the bases of Saigu is to carry out a environmental environmental activity, what practices have you launched for it?

Gerard: more than a matter of practices, for us sustainability is a starting point and an arrival destination because there is always something to improve.We are constantly innovating and reviewing our processes to reduce the impact of our activity on the environment and that, for example, translates into production costs.

David: Exactly, for us the planet respects that the economic benefits.That means that we are going to choose local suppliers that produce more expensive than Asians, we are going to buy better quality ingredients that are grown respecting ecosystems and that has an impact on their price, etc..That is why communication work is so important, so that people know how to value all the work behind and understand that, if the price of the final product is a bit higher, it is for all these reasons.But Saigu is not even a special cosmetic brand, and the price strategy is deliberately created to pay fair prices for raw materials but that was as affordable as possible for the consumer.


You bet on a cosmetics elaborated with natural ingredients, in what approximate percentage are the ingredients of Saigu?

Gerard: In Saigu there is no product that has less than 99% of ingredients from nature.But I understand that you ask us this question because, indeed, it is usual to see brands that are considered natural with percentages below 60% of natural ingredients.Here again it is important to communicate and education of the public, so that you know what should be set when buying.

Is it possible to compete in quality with the cosmetics not formulated with natural ingredients?

Gerard: If we hadn't believed that it is directly possible we would not have created Saigu.First, we believe that people do not have to sacrifice and use a bad product only for the environment.In addition, obviously, if you do not have a quality product, they will buy you once out of curiosity or because you have fallen well into networks, but it is already.However, professional makeup artists such as Ester Carpes or María Catalá use Saigu products in their work for the results they obtain.

Gerard y David, fundadores de Saigu Cosmetics:

On the other hand, there are obviously many ingredients such as silicones or paraffins that we still cannot emulate with natural ingredients, especially because there has not been enough research so far.But what we do is communicate the characteristics of the very transparent deform product.We are not going to tell you that our eyelashes is waterproof and multiplies your density, but has a natural effect for day to day.

Therefore there are products that compete equally and, for those who have not yet, the solution is transparency and research, to make them better.


Have you found some limitations when betting on the natural when developing products?

Gerard: One of the largest limitations is in the range of colors, for example.Nature offers us many bright and diverse color options, the problem is that in many cases they are not stable to the conditions that a cosmetic product needs.To manufacture a lipstick, for example, temperatures are needed above 80ºC to melt the waxes and mix the ingredients well, the natural dyes do not usually resist those temperatures and darken.Therefore, we cannot get bright and clean colors, which normally come from organic origin (flowers, fruit, animals...), But colors that come from Earth.

Other areas in which we have difficulties are characteristics such as "long duration" or "water resistant" are achieved with plastic derivatives.They are plastic filmogens that manage to create layers that protect the product from external agents...That at the moment is very difficult to get with natural products.

And finally, it is evident that chemistry helps, and much, when getting new textures and sensations in the ingredients we use.Working only with natural ingredients complicates creativity a lot.

You also bet on your own formulation, has this been a challenge for you?

Gerard: Formulating our own products was essential for us to be consistent with our values.In this way we control exactly what ingredients we put, how sustainable are the practices of each supplier, both raw material for the product and for packaging and packaging, and we also ensure that we can enter and leave the laboratory as many times as necessary as necessaryUntil our products can compete with the best in the market.Again, it is a practice that is not usually done because it is more expensive than simply asking the product to an external laboratory, but it is one of Saigu's identity and we are very proud of it.


The ingredients in addition to natural are of proximity, have you encountered problems by betting on suppliers from Spain and Europe?

Gerard: Everything that does not come from Asia is more expensive, so production increases, but it is the only way we can ensure that their practices are sustainable and also that workers are remunerated.In addition to the obvious, that we save the contamination of transport with another tip of the world so far.

However, the problem is that the production of raw materials and manufacturing have been relocated both to the Asian continent, that here some industries have practically disappeared.But we are convinced that, the more demand we generate, the more they will return and this will positively impact local economies.

You are located in Menorca and the brand breathes love for the Mediterranean, do you see the future of Saigu developing from the island?

David: Both Gerard and I are from Menorca and our island is a great source of inspiration, so much that the name Saigu, comes from the pronunciation of the word ‘s’aigua’ in Menorquín.However, when we founded the company we were in Barcelona, a province in which there is a lot and quality of suppliers of our sector, and for some time now we have hosted in Valencia after having participated in a shuttle program, the startup acceleratorby Juan Roig [Founder of Mercadona].So, we can say that our headquarters is the Mediterranean himself and with Menorca always in our hearts.

Saigu is made up of makeup and facial care, do you consider expanding the family with other lines/types of product?

David: Of course we aspire that Saigu is a complete brand of cosmetics, but we are gradually.Since a product appears in our heads until the customer has it in their hands, it took an average of a year and a half to develop it.So we have to measure very well what are the needs of our clients to be able to meet them taking into account these times.

In Saigu also highlights its great social responsibility.In full confinement you decided to close the website so as not to put carriers or distributors at risk.Both in negative and positive, what has this decision reported to you?

David: At this point, with the perspective of time, we can say that this decision has not reported any negative consequence.At the time it was hard and scared us, because there was a lot of uncertainty and could suppose the closure of the company.But we consider it right at that time and had a spectacular reception from our community.In fact it was a crucial moment, such as when you go through a bad time and a friend is by your side and makes the relationship narrow much more ... that was similar, we very much appreciate the support we receive, and we will prioritize the values if weWe find a new similar situation.


You echoed an Ana Milan's tweet, about the term ‘anti -aging’.You commented in this regard that you had dilemmas in the company with the way of approaching it: how do you face this dichotomy of facing the passage of time without being negative from the beauty industry?

Gerard: One of the Pillars of Saigu is the empowerment of people, their mental health, their own love and the perception of their own beauty.This encompasses the acceptance of the years and its consequence in our bodies.We consider that you have to love each other unconditionally and, from there, you have to take care of yourself so that it is not a premature skin aging.

Another of Saigu's strengths is its communication.How important do you give this part of the company?

David: For us, communication is of crucial importance for several reasons.On the one hand to transmit the colossal work that is being done from the production department to get very high quality products and as sustainable as possible, but also to connect with people and impact their lives in some way.Here we did not simply create a company and make money, we want to generate a change in the world, however small.Therefore, we need to connect with people and dedicate much of our resources to communication and much of our time to think about new ways to communicate.

Both from the web and from social networks, communication is addressed from a fun, close and fresh point of view that moves away from the communication of other natural beauty brands, why did you bet this style?

Gerard: One of the first maxims we had when creating Saigu is that ‘natural cosmetics does not have to be boring’.Until now, when you think of natural cosmetics you imagine in a corner of a herbalist next to the ecological lettuce a German brand that barely has a web page and on Instagram only puts photos of its products.We wanted to kick that image and be natural, close.Not that it was a very elaborate strategy.It came out like this and we had a great time creating the content for all our channels.

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Do you think this communicative style has contributed to the good reception of the brand?

David: It has contributed, no doubt.We have removed the corset to the communication of cosmetics and our community sees us as a team of young professionals creating a project, which is what we are.I think it's just an impersonal logo in a multi -brand store.People are increasingly aware of the impact that each of their purchases on the environment has and in society, so they lookget up in the morning.

Do you like to be in contact with the final customer?What feedback do you receive from them?What do you repeat the most?

David: Of course, being an e-commerce, we have direct contact with the people who buy us and customer service is very personalized and close.The channels that we use most are WhatsApp and Instagram's direct messages.There they can ask us any questions, they send us photos without makeup so that we can advise you with the shades of the base and we make ourselves swatches in the arm with the lipstick among which they have doubts to see what color they like the most.

On the other hand we ask them to leave any opinion on our website, whether positive or constructive, because they are of great help for future clients.And we also regularly do surveys among the subscribers of our Newsletter to know their opinion on different topics and what new products want us to prioritize in development.


We are delighted people with the quality of the products and with the values of the brand.We have many messages from people who had stopped makeup because they found nothing to fit their skin or their needs and have done it again thanks to our products.The truths that, seeing ourselves so close in networks and in customer service, people take the time to send us very beautiful messages that we share for the WhatsApp group of the Saigu team because they excite us a lot and give us energy and strength to continueworking.

What differentiates you from other natural cosmetics brands made in Spain?

Gerard: Go ahead of our respect for the other brands that are also in this adventure of transforming cosmetics in our country.One of the differential points that we have in Saigu is the fact of having our own laboratory and controlling the entire development and manufacturing process.That makes us guarantee the sustainability of all our products but we also control quality and trends within the cosmetics industry very thorough.

But I would say that the most important thing that nobody does in Spain are the guarantees of satisfaction we remain.In Saigu you can buy a product, use it for 15 days at home and, if you do not convince you, you can change or return without having to pay the shipment or any other additional cost.We do not want anyone to have on the shelf of their bath.This might seem an important risk for the company because these products, obviously, we cannot sell them again for reasons of hygiene and safety.But we have a tremendously low return rate, less than 1%.


This generates great confidence in our audience and also makes us responsible for each word with which we describe our products on the web.If we exaggerate any characteristic of a product and upon receiving it at home they realized that it is not true, they would be in all their right to return it and we would have to eat it with potatoes.So we are very precise with marketing.

What projects do you have in mind for the New Year?Can you tell us any brushstroke of how Saigu will evolve?

David: Well, we are at a very important moment for Saigu because we have just closed an investment round and we will enter a new expansion phase.Of course we plan to launch several new products that we are developing, both cosmetics and makeup, and one of our most beloved projects right now is a physical space that we will have in the city of Barcelona.There will be our laboratory in view of all and also a small showroom where people can try and buy products and in which we are programming many interesting events, so that all that good humor we have in the networks we can also share it in person.

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