Founder Facts: Oio Lab
Tell us about yourself and the story behind creating Oio Lab?
During my studies I was interested in the beauty industry, particularly the pharmacy products market, but I treated it more like a hobby. I studied law in London and in Poland, and during my 8 years of study I began to feel the pressure to earn some extra money, so I started to look for beauty brands I could sell and distribute in Poland. Everything started when I decided to contact Embryolisse, a French pharmacy brand that was not being sold in Poland. First, we imported very small quantities of cosmetics and slowly developed the sales. It took a while, but I was able to go through every stage of business development – from the legal side, to sending parcels, to negotiating and signing contracts with clients. At this time I was both working as a lawyer and running a beauty business, but it became so busy that I had to determine which career path to take. I chose my beauty business, expanded the structure of the company, and today I look at these experiences as how I began to create Oio Lab.
While gaining experience in the industry I kept analysing the possibility of creating my own products. I shaped my thoughts for a long time and created different products as prototypes - this process happened gradually through trial and error. At first, I mixed oils for friends, then I created one serum for sale. I had a feeling it still wasn’t exactly what I wanted to offer. I knew that I had to fall in love with the brand for the whole process to be worth it. I am happy to acknowledge that now I am the biggest Oio Lab fan. I appreciate every aspect of the brand: the ingredients, packaging and philosophy. It gives me energy to act, however it does not change the fact that to me Oio Lab is a fluid concept that shall constantly evolve. It is very important that the brand develops with us, even if it involves major changes in the near future.
What makes Oio Lab stand out to other skincare brands?
We use science to get the very best out of natural ingredients. In our treatments you will find plant extracts obtained using innovative and environmentally-friendly methods e.g. beech, chicory and hemp seed oils obtained by enzymatic extraction characterised by high quality extracts. We also enrich our natural base with highly selected active ingredients of proven effectiveness e.g. highly stable vitamin C derivative that maintains its brightening and antioxidant properties for longer. We do not use synthetic additives and preservatives. We also work with laboratories and universities in Poland, as I really wanted to include a scientific element to our work: from the methods of selecting ingredients to the final product. We are very meticulous in this matter, we check literally everything: how plants are grown, whether they come from organic crops, and if so, what standard do they meet - each of these elements matters to us. Respecting our environment is also extremely important when creating Oio treatments.
Your packaging is unique and certainly stands out to other skincare brands, what was the vision and message you had when creating the packaging?
During production, we not only prioritise clean extraction methods, but also avoid the use of plastic. All our products are stored in violet glass that protects the precious ingredients. Thanks to unique properties of violet glass the smell, colour, bioenergy and the properties of our products remain preserved for longer in a natural and eco-friendly way. We also wanted the packaging to be colourful and playful and reflect the amazing properties of the ingredients that we use.
What do you look for in your stockists and what values are important to you?
The DNA of Oio Lab can be summarised in 4 core values: Nature, Transparency, Effectiveness, and Kindness. Nature is where it all begins. It is a source of traditional wisdom and our inspiration. While creating Oio products the first thought is always about nature, so is a great part of the production process and work in our laboratory. Dealing with nature is rewarding and humbling at the same time. No matter how much you think you know – it always finds its ways to surprise you. Transparency to us means effective communication of our ingredients - their origin, extraction methods and history. Through kindness we understand respecting the relations between every element that results in Oio Lab. From planting the seeds, getting the best out of nature through science, the choice of our packaging, the people and objects around us. Respecting nature and moving towards the most sustainable company possible is also extremely important. I see Oio Lab in those places in the world that are consistent with our philosophy.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on? Will there be anything new coming to you?
We are working on a lot of new projects at the moment, some of them shall appear on the market this year. I can reveal that our areas of interest when it comes to ingredients include those that eliminate the negative effect of the stress hormone, cortisol on the skin, as well as natural methods of skin protection from various forms of light and ferments.
How important is sustainability to your brand and what have you done to ensure you’re as green/clean as can be?
Respect for our planet is extremely important to us. We consciously control every single detail in the process of production. We use glass bottles and recyclable paper packaging to minimise plastic consumption. Our plan is to further support organisations that stand for important issues like protecting oceans and preventing deforestation – and we develop our new products while keeping in mind the bigger picture. Our brand is PETA Approved vegan and cruelty-free. We definitely want to keep evolving and becoming as sustainable as possible and use our company to help protect nature and work closely with scientific institutions.
What types of stores stock Oio Lab? What area would you like to see the brand in or grow into?
We attract amazing stockists who are very conscious both about beauty and ecology. This is a great motivation for us to keep our standards high. We are working with Concept Stores in Poland, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Hong Kong, and in London we have been selected to work with Wolf&Badger and are part of the Mayiet Collective. We definitely want to keep evolving into the most effective skincare brand that is scientifically and technologically proven, while respecting our planet and being transparent with our customers.
What has been the biggest triumph since starting Oio Lab?
We were so flattered by the amazing feedback we received from journalists and the press. Just after one month of market presence we have been announced as the most effective and interesting brand to follow both by Vogue, Elle and beauty industry professionals. We have also been recognised by celebrity facialist Joanna Czech. The list of her famous clients is very long and includes Jennifer Aniston, Bella Hadid, Anja Rubik, Lily Aldridge, Doutzen Kroes, Amber Valetta, Kim Kardashian West, Kate Hudson, Chiara Ferragni, Rooney Mara, Mandy Moore, Christy Turlington Burns, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and also Uma Thurman. Joanna Czech has over 30 years of experience, two offices in Dallas and New York, and an online store where we can only find brands selected by Joanna Czech. We are happy to be the only Polish beauty brand at Joanna’s facilities.