Interview: How One Skin Care Company Is Using Their Supply Chain To Build Their Brand

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Interview with Sandi Lesueur, CEO of Riversol Skin Care Solutions Inc.

What is Riversol?

Riversol Skin Care Solutions is a dermatologist-developed, Canadian skin care line that uses beta-thujaplicin, derived from the western red cedar tree as its key ingredient. This unique molecule was chosen for its many natural healing properties, touted historically by both Japanese and First Nations peoples.

What are you doing differently with your supply chain and distribution?

Riversol intends on minimizing packaging – our products are made with professional-medical grade ingredients, but the packaging is not flashy and is the same for both men and women. We have also eliminated the use of boxes and now list all ingredients directly on the labels.

By getting rid of boxes and additional packaging, we have simplified our supply chain and integrated it into the value chain of what we offer. Our packaging is now in line with company values: our founder, dermatologist Dr. Rivers, believes in giving the customer exactly what they need and nothing more or less.

The supply-chain can be more than just an exercise in logistics – it can be an exercise in marketing and brand-building as well.

What about your channel strategy – how do your products get into the hands of your customers?

There are now two different lines replacing the original Riversol: Riversol MD and Riversol MD Clean.

Riversol MD is sold exclusively through physicians’ offices, through medical and laser distributors who are currently introducing the line to a variety of cosmetic physicians and medi-spas across North America.

Riversol MD Clean has been formulated for an additional, consumer-focused market that includes e-commerce sites, home shopping networks and bricks and mortar department stores. We believe in supporting our distributors and wholesale accounts by not allowing mass e-commerce sites to participate.

We are also distributing the Riversol MD Clean brand as amenities for airlines, cruise ships and hotels through Hunter Amenities. The amenities line will help to introduce new potential customers to the brand and allow them to try it out effortlessly. All packaging and fills are currently done in Vancouver, B.C., but will soon be moved to Ontario where Hunter Amenities will manufacture all lines.

This strategy will enable our product line to remain simple, but penetrate both consumer channels and medical channels, creating a forward-thinking, multi-channel distribution strategy that positions the brands favorably for future acquisition by both pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry giants.

Will this innovative distribution strategy help to give Riversol an edge as the brand goes global?

So often, distribution strategy is developed in an ad-hoc way. By designing channel strategy on equal footing as the business and marketing strategy, we have created a sustainable competitive advantage that goes beyond the innovative and unique aspects of the products offered.

Consideration of the future and current state of the supply chain:

By keeping our head office in British Columbia, we are able to be hands-on managing negotiation related to the Western Red Cedar trees from which our key ingredient is derived. B.C. has the largest population of these trees in the world and we intend to work toward maintaining this status quo. Our give-back initiatives also focus on sustainable forestry (www.sfiprogram.org).

Cost to deliver product to customers and generate demand versus market potential:

Rosacea is a very niche market and many companies are actively looking for doctor-developed brands to assist with sensitive skin, rosacea and adult acne. While the consumer market is also demanding natural, eco-friendly alternatives that will help to treat sensitive skin and clear their skin naturally.

Basically, we want to make it easier for people to get their hands on our great products and our dual-pronged approach and forward-thinking distribution strategy will help us to achieve that.

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Brittany Whitmore

Brittany is highly passionate, energetic and always learning. She believes in the power of creativity and innovation and initially dove into entrepreneurship running a successful marketing company. She currently handles communications and community management for Procurify, and also supports her community through mentoring, volunteering and community events. Brittany's motto: go big or go home!

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