We asked the founders of INARI Arctic Cosmetics – Sirkku Hahn and Nina Stenberg – about their inspiration for their new eco-luxe skin care brand and what it means to build a business.
Why did you want to start a skincare company?
Sirkku: We had seen a few Nordic cosmetics brands, but we had a unique idea for a specifically Arctic brand of an even higher quality. And the fact, that superfood ingredients from the wild arctic nature aren’t used in cosmetics in a broader scale, led the idea grow further. We saw that gap in the market and decided to fill it ourselves!
What in your background makes you the perfect pair for this endeavor?
Nina: Well, we met about 6 years ago through a women founders network. Over the years we stayed in contact through our businesses—I was with a Scandinavian design shop while Sirkku was working with Natural Cosmetics. We knew we had a connection with our backgrounds—both spending a lot of time in Finland and Germany growing up and experiencing the wonders of the Arctic landscape and the plants it provides. We’ve worked extensively in both the Finnish and German markets, allowing us to gain a unique understanding of how to create the perfect product.
Sirkku: My role over the years as marketing and brand manager for an international company before I run my own business has made me excited to branch out and create a brand that I can really bring to life. Nina, with her background as press speaker and communications manager for international companies, is the perfect complement to my experience. I agree that our love of the Arctic makes us the perfect team for this endeavor—we truly believe in what we are creating.
Nina: Let’s not forget that Sirkku is also well established as an expert on Northern European brands!
Sirkku: Yes, well, I was able to solidify the presence of Nordic cosmetics in Germany as we brought many new brands to that market. Along that journey, I learned even more about the market for natural cosmetics, and I’ve really built off that knowledge to create this wonderful new brand.
What’s so special about Arctic plant compounds in cosmetics?
Sirkku: Superfoods from the far North are a well-known term in the food industry. It is known that, for example, arctic blueberries are especially healthy due to their high antioxidant content. Our idea is to use the high quality of these super plants for effective skin care. In INARI Arctic Beauty cosmetics, these powerful antioxidants work against free radicals and thus develop their anti-aging effects.
Nina: Quite simply, it is one of the most unique environments on the earth and we want to take advantage of everything it has to offer. Finland has the world’s cleanest air and water, the world’s largest bio-certified forests, and hosts some of the most powerful plants on the planet due to the extreme climate. Using those ingredients in our skincare products is key to creating a luxurious, effective experience for our customers.
Sirkku: Finland is our home. We’ve grown up experiencing the beauty of the landscape and the plants and we want to share that with others. So far North, Finland and the Arctic Circle are often overlooked. People think cold and ice, but they don’t think of all the berries, roots, lichen, and other plants that are so incredibly powerful and beneficial. It’s something different!
A lot of companies are going “all natural” and some even use some Arctic ingredients. What distinguishes INARI Arctic Beauty from those?
Sirkku: I think what really sets INARI Arctic Beauty apart is our first-hand experience with the ingredients and the environment from which we source them. With the benefit of our combined experience, we looked at current trends to determine what’s actually working the best and we went above and beyond to create a product that is luxurious, highly-effective formulations, all-natural, and truly Arctic.
Nina: It took a lot of dedication and a strong partnership with our expert researchers, but we have succeeded in creating a unique blend of Arctic ingredients with a superior quality. We do not resort to the usual basic formulations, but our skin care has been specially designed for INARI Arctic Beauty. We are committed to making sure that our products are perfect, and we have dedicated the time and effort to do so. I think that commitment really shows in INARI’s skincare line.
Why organic and sustainable cosmetics?
Nina: We all know it’s becoming popular to choose organic and sustainable products. But there is a really good reason behind that. The area from which we source our ingredients is our home and part of the planet that is everyone’s home.
We want to protect that. We don’t want to harm nature or leave a mark, and since the beautiful land was able to provide us with these miraculous plants, we make sure we treat it with respect when sourcing ingredients and manufacturing our products.
Sirkku: Absolutely. There is growing concern about synthetic chemicals and their effects on the skin. We also want the purity that organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients have. We use high quality natural ingredients that are well tolerated. Let’s think about the subject of microplastics in cosmetics. That moves people, here we can see the effects on nature with our own eyes. Simply put, organic is better for your skin as well as the environment!
What’s your favorite aspect of your organic skincare line?
Sirkku: I’m so excited about the unique Arctic blend! We know the power that each plant holds based on high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and all of them together really do create Midsummer Magic in a bottle to make your skin glow.
Nina: Our textures are velvety and light. They are absorbed quickly and leave a soft feeling on the skin. The beauty trends from Asia have been an example to us. I love the luxurious textures of our formulations and the light, woody fragrance.
Starting a cosmetics company is no small task. What have been some of the greatest struggles and greatest victories along the journey?
Sirkku: I’d definitely have to say the most challenging thing is purchasing the raw materials from the Arctic. The Arctic ingredients are tougher to obtain than others because the plants are harvested wildly. We feel very strongly that all our product ingredients be harvested sustainably, and we are committed to that process.
The fact that our products are all-natural and sustainable, with no synthetic or irritating ingredients, made the development process much more complex and certainly longer. There were a lot of hurdles on the way to perfecting our products that postponed the launch timing, but these hurdles have resulted in a well-researched and developed product. We made it!
Nina: We’ve had so much great feedback on our website and concept and a lot of engagement on our social media pages. Feedback from retailers, the press, and the public has been very positive, and that’s getting us even more excited about what we have created.
What can we expect from INARI Arctic Beauty skincare in the coming months?
Sirkku: Our INARI Arctic Beauty Midsummer Magic range has been on the market for almost 4 months now. We started with 3 anti-aging creams – MIDSUMMER MAGIC Water Cream, MIDSUMMER MAGIC Moisture Boost, MIDSUMMER MAGIC Sleeping Cream – and an intensive active ingredient serum – MIDSUMMER MAGIC Lifting Serum – and we are continuously expanding our cosmetics line. Next spring, there will be more INARI Arctic Beauty products for facial care.