Bee venom, snail slime, caviar: this luxury Italian brand wants to change the skincare game
What would you do for glowing, dewy skin?
Cleopatra famously bathed in donkey’s milk. Demi Moore relies on leeches, Teri Hatcher draws up a wine bath, Cindy Crawford totes her own DIY milk spray while Gwyneth Paltrow, J Lo, and Kim Kardashian swear by their respective bee sting, human placenta, and vampire facials.
Italy-based luxury skincare brand LR Wonder Company believes that good skin isn’t the prerogative of celebrities and aims to make it high quality skincare accessible to everyone.
The brand, inspired by the eternal beauty of Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn, was founded by Italian business tycoon Lorenzo Riva in Milan in 2012. It was launched in India in September 2020 in partnership with Bengaluru-based Fedevi Ventures.
Viren Sawhney and Federico Natalini, Partners, Fedevi Ventures, reveal that Lorenzo Riva has always been “fascinated by everything glamorous”.
Viren Sawhney (L) and Federico Natalini, Partners, Fedevi Ventures
“His interest was piqued when he started hearing about the benefits of the ultra-exclusive caviar and bee venom treatments from high profile friends and associates. He decided to investigate and was astonished by the experience and the results,” the partners say.
The founder then did his own research and decided to create an exotic, effective, and affordable skincare range for the general public.
LR Wonder Company’s focus is on “providing the best skincare treatments to customers” using some of the most powerful ingredients from nature such as caviar, bee venom, snail slime, 24K gold, and many more.
The dream team
The LR Wonder Company is named after Founder Lorenzo Riva. “He comes from an entrepreneurial background and started this company to bring the best skincare products to its customers,” Viren and Federico say.
They add that the founder's dream is to “bring in a little bit of Hollywood - and now Bollywood! - into everyone’s home and make them feel their best self – like a star”.
Federico and Viren met in Europe where they are based. Viren, originally from Bengaluru, was working in the finance industry for a hedge fund while Federico, who belongs to Turin, was managing an international trading family business.
The two have been friends for 10 years and bring experience of managing international businesses to the table. Federico has been a childhood friend and business associate of Lorenzo Riva.
Although separate entities, LR Wonder Italy and Fedevi work as one in bringing the brand to India.
“India is an open-minded and educated market and always hungry for new and innovative products. I am certain that in the next 10 years, India will be competing with international markets such as the US and Europe,” Federico says.
The product lineup
With Italy’s University of Pavia as its long-term R&D partner, LR Wonder Company claims that every product that comes out of its production unit is dermatologically tested, has no parabens or harmful chemicals, and has been manufactured with zero animal testing. The products are priced Rs 2,500 upwards.
The range of products includes the Wonder Caviar Collection for anti-ageing skincare; the Bee Venom Collection, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin; and the Snail Slime Collection, which reduces damage caused by free radicals and also helps to fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
The Plant Placenta Collection helps in healing scars, stretch marks and dry skin while the 24K Gold Collection claims to stimulate cellular growth, increase skin elasticity, and reduce lines and wrinkles. The collections include serums, face creams, body cream, derma-rollers and non-invasive fillers.
The company is also launching its products on Amazon shortly and is also exploring other platforms such as Nykaa.
The firm claims that its proprietary innovation –Wonder Leggings – is the world’s first "cosmetic that you can actually wear". This slim legging is made of fabric that uses Far Infrared Rays (FIR) technology – the reabsorbed FIR rays stimulate microcirculation, drain liquids, and increase skin elasticity.
The coronavirus pandemic had a bearing on the luxury brand’s launch in India. “We have launched online and are delivering to all parts of India. We are also looking to work with retail partners such as salons, spas, beauty shops etc., who share in our vision,” Viren says.
The future is bright
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis showed that the global personal care active ingredients market is expected to reach $4.85 billion by 2025, from $3.9 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7 percent.
Predominantly accessible to the Italian and European market, LR Wonder Company is currently available through 180 distribution partners, predominantly in Europe. It claims to have grown from year-on-year growth of 50 percent in 2012 to 97 percent in 2019, and is now venturing into newer markets, including India.
“We only launched in September, but we are seeing a lot of interest. We believe the conversion of visits to sales will increase further as consumers become more familiar with the brand. We hope to become profitable by year two,” the duo says.
The luxury skincare market has many players, including Estee Lauder, Forest Essentials, Shiseido, and more.
But LR Wonder Company believes it has a differentiator. “There is no one else with such an expansive list of treatments and products using the kind of super ingredients we use, and at our pricing.”
Going forward, the company plans to introduce new skincare products and expand its makeup line. Plans are afoot to launch the Wonder Filler, a daily use face filler that fills wrinkles and facial lines, in India. It also aims to open ‘Wonder Stores’ soon.