How Miranda Kerr Is Future-Proofing Her Range Of Certified Organic Skincare
The supermodel, founder and CEO of Kora Organics tells Ashleigh Cometti how she plans to continue pushing the boundaries and the legacy she wants to leave behind
Long before Rihanna launched Fenty Skin, or Jennifer Lopez unveiled her eponymous skincare line, there was Miranda Kerr paving the way for certified organic skincare.
It was a concept that seemed revolutionary at the time, but today is rather ubiquitous.
Backed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and certified organic by ECOCERT, Miranda says she never set out to rely on her celebrity status to springboard sales when she first launched Kora Organics in 2009.
“It [celebrity beauty] wasn’t even a thing 12 years ago. I don’t think many people were launching their own brands back then in 2009,” she says.
“People may not realise that Kora Organics is my brand — I’m not just the face of it. I built it from the ground up. I hand selected my team. I developed the products. I’m involved in every facet of the company, so it’s not just a celebrity brand that I’ve lent my name to, it’s taken me so much time, effort and money,” Miranda explains, adding that despite owning 95 per cent of the business, she still doesn’t take a salary.
“I put all the profits back into the business, to continue to grow it. I invest in my team and I invest in creating more products for people that can really help them."
As one of the world’s most recognisable faces, Miranda says she felt primed for the beauty industry thanks to her tenure as a high-flying supermodel. Discovered at 13 years of age and now at 38, Miranda says her decades-long career in front of the camera and on the runway helped her to identify gaps in the skincare market.
“I’ve been exposed to so many different products. From the makeup artists I’ve worked with, I’ve got to know about textures that work and sit well under makeup, or prep skin for makeup, so I’ve been able to apply that knowledge in my work,” she says.
“I feel really proud that I started out with products I was personally looking for. I’m really passionate about pushing the envelope and creating award-winning products that are healthy but still powerful.”
Credible, knowledgeable and brimming with 12 years’ worth of business nous, Miranda has the kind of entrepreneurial spirit many can only dream of.
She remains surprisingly upbeat for someone who's had to navigate running her own business empire amid a pandemic, and credits much of her success in 2020 to her nimble team who were able to quickly adapt during uncertain times.
Lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules meant Miranda and her Los Angeles-based team began working from home in March 2020, and continue to do so today.
“We were able to pivot and invest more of our time and focus into e-commerce. We still saw revenue growth because our e-commerce business was very strong [Kora is now available in 30 countries], and because a lot of people were turning more towards skincare — focusing on their skin and at-home facials — and less towards makeup. It was still a very busy year for us,” she says.
It would’ve been an even busier year had Kora’s new Turmeric Glow Moisturiser launched at the end of 2020 as planned. However, packaging restrictions due to the pandemic pushed the launch back to mid-April this year.
But for Miranda, the launch has been worth the wait.
“I spent two years developing it with the chemist, so I was in deep for a long time,” she says, adding she’s always spearheaded any new product development for the brand.
“That’s my baby!” she quips. “Most of the time I have an idea or something that I’m really passionate about. I speak with our product development team and then I speak with our chemist and ask: What do you think? How do you think we could create this? Is this possible from a stability perspective?” We feel very blessed to work with some of the best chemists in the world that really know organics and are incredible at working with me to help my dreams come to fruition.”
This time, the list she passed on to Kora’s in-house chemist was a rather lengthy one. The agenda was set for a: “super-rich, nourishing moisturiser that I could use morning and night, that would be brightening, anti-ageing and suitable for all skin types — even breakout-prone skin,” she says.
“It really is the crème de la crème of all moisturisers.”
She gifted a pot of the glow-giving moisturiser to friend and co-parent Katy Perry six months ago, who openly shared her results with Miranda during a recent IGTV episode of Wellness Wednesdays, a weekly initiative to help keep her 12.4 million-strong audience engaged and inspired amid the pandemic.
Ever the Modern Family, Miranda says she’s always “gotten along really well” with Katy, who’s been engaged to Miranda’s s ex-husband Orlando Bloom since Valentine's Day in 2019, and acts as step-mother to Miranda and Orlando’s 10-year-old son, Flynn.
“I adore her. I feel so happy that Orlando found someone that makes his heart so happy. At the end of the day all I want is for Flynn to have a happy father and a happy mother,” she says.
Miranda re-married Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel, and the duo will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary on May 27.
“Katy has spoken openly about her issues with her skin. She’s been using it [the Turmeric Glow Moisturiser] morning and night and she was like: “Miranda, this cream actually changed my life. I’ve thrown away all my face creams and this is all I use.” It’s so great to know that you can create a product that really does help people so much,” Miranda says.
“That’s what it’s all about for me. I don’t just want to wear something on my skin because it’s healthy; it has to be results-driven and powerful. I’m all about pushing the boundaries of organic skincare and finding new alternatives that give people the results that they need. I’m very specific about every detail. About the texture, about the smell, about the packaging and, of course, about the performance and results that the products are getting.”
Kora’s Turmeric Glow Moisturiser is first product in the range to harness liposome technology, which takes on double meaning to describe how the ingredients are kept stable, and later for the way in which they’re delivered to the skin. “It’s an incredibly active moisturiser. The liposomes keep the ingredients active until you moisturise it in. Each liposome actively pops on your skin when you’re using it,” Miranda says.
Hers has always been a holistic, three-pronged approach to caring for skin — factoring in mind, body and spirit.
Each product is filtered through rose quartz crystals, said to energise the formula and infuse feelings of love and acceptance to the wearer. This time, Miranda went one step further by filtering her moisturising newbie through citrine crystals too, which are believed to bring light and abundance.
“We had a rose quartz filtration process from day one. Nowadays people are very into crystals and it’s a trend, but back then I was like: “Of course people would want to do that,” she says proudly.
The launch of the Turmeric Glow Moisturiser is flanked by another, the Milky Mushroom Cleanser, developed largely in part due to an influx of requests by her loyal customers for an oil cleanser to be added to the line-up.
These are just two of the four newbies set to launch in 2021, all of which will be housed in glass packaging and two of which are available as refill pods — a brand first.
Eventually, the entire Kora Organics line will be updated to include more sustainable packaging, switch over to glass bottles and jars, and be refillable where possible. It’s a three-to-five-year goal, Miranda says, but for now she’s leaning in to more sustainable practices and is committed to educating customers on the difference between the terms ‘clean beauty’ and ‘certified organic’.
“The more educated people are becoming, the more they’re realising what they put on their skin soaks in,” she says.
And while the concept of clean beauty is a step in the right direction, Miranda says most people don’t realise how big the difference between clean beauty and certified organic products really is — a dilemma which isn’t helped by marketing trickery.
“What’s challenging is that every brand or retailer has their own definition of what they consider to be ‘clean’, which can be very confusing and misleading for customers. That’s why I wanted to have my products verified by a third party to really guarantee that it is what it claims to be — people don’t just have to take my word for it,” she explains.
Maintaining certified organic status is a laborious undertaking Miranda says, adding that it lumps extra work on her team who have to undergo strict auditing processes.
“But it really does give our brand that integrity. Customers can feel good about our products knowing they are as pure and potent as they can be,” she says. “There was a study done by Cambridge University* that shows that there are up to 60 per cent more antioxidants in a certified organic ingredient.”
Despite numerous offers from investors or buyers to buy the business outright; Miranda says money has never been her biggest motivator.
“There are a lot of people out there that are starting businesses with the desire to sell it for a bunch of money — but that’s not me,” she says self-assuredly.
Instead, she continues to future-proof her business, mindful of the legacy she dreams of passing down to her three boys: Flynn (10), Hart (3) and Myles (18 months).
“My desire is to keep this company and hopefully one day hand it down to my sons. I’m making everything with such integrity, and for the long run, so that the brand can outlive me for many years to come,” Miranda says.
“Hopefully one day it’ll become like the Estee Lauder of organics.”
Kora Organics is available from Sephora or online at Koraorganics.com
*British Journal of Nutrition Volume 112, Issue 514 September 2014, pp. 794-811.