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Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. is a natural beauty brand -Gabriel De Santino

Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. is a natural beauty brand owned and operated by Gabriel De Santino. As a national leader in the natural cosmetics industry, Gabriel’s prestige and diverse portfolio was created out of one man’s vision of clearly defining natural beauty and has evolved into a philosophy of sustainable, vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free cosmetics. Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. remains a constant in an ever changing, fast-paced culture.  They are committed to providing a wide range of pigments and products, never compromising on practices. Non disruptive; their products are consistent, mistake proof, and constant, reducing the impact on our environment.

How did you get started? 

I was an esthetician and had many clients who were sensitive to chemicals and hadn’t been using anything on their skin because of it.  I went searching for a chemical free skincare line to use and after months of researching ingredients and exploring different companies I realized that the skincare and makeup industry were extremely lacking in products that were truly natural and chemical free.  It was important to me that I have products my clients could use so I decided to create my own skincare line.

How did you go about actually creating your first products? 

It took years of research, and lots of testing (on humans ONLY!) to find natural alternatives to each and every chemical ingredient but I was determined to bring a fun and exciting line of color cosmetics to the natural products industry.  The Gabriel Color line came about in 1996 and has been a leading successful brand ever since. 

Customers were requesting more colors and formulas so a few years later I created ZuZu Luxe.  From there I have added tools, colors and new products.  The past few years I have added seasonal collections which have had an amazing response and indulged me creatively.

How does someone “get” into the business? 

The market is saturated, in order to stand out you need to bring something new and innovative or market to a specific niche. Create products you are passionate about, do not compromise on what you and your brand represent and surround yourself with a positive team.

The first 20 years in business natural products had been more of an alternative choice for the consumer. Now consumers are driving the change and demand for natural and organic products. They are becoming more educated on ingredients and are making purchases that fit into a clean healthy lifestyle.

What is something you are currently working on? 

We are working on reducing our footprint. Packaging has been a critical piece that drives the consumers to make a final purchase. Consumers are requesting eco- friendly packaging and want transparency including ingredients and certifications. This is the main reason we felt it important to lead and pave the way by obtaining certifications for our products (Certified Cruelty-Free and Certified Gluten-Free to name a few), and offering a 100% money back guarantee if not completely satisfied with any of our products. 

I see that you have multiple lines. When did you launch your first line? 

Gabriel Skincare collection launched in 1992. Why did you expand? The response from my clients was amazing, they loved the results and wanted more. The natural next step was into makeup. 

How did you know it was time? 

I listened to our customers as well as our retailers as to what they were searching for in a skincare and makeup line.  There were not enough options in makeup at the time and I knew I could develop a line that was not only natural but one that would offer the choices needed in the natural products industry.

How many retail stores are you in across the country? 

We currently service over 4,000 retailers both large and small across the USA. Additionally, we’ve got a strong ecommerce following.  Are you looking to go international? Yes, we currently sell our products throughout Canada and are looking to expand globally. 

Where are you looking to be in the next 5 years? 

I see our products available globally. I want to make my products easily available to everyone as I think it is important consumers have access to natural, chemical free beauty products that work.

How have you managed to stay successful for 30 years alongside other natural beauty lines? 

By listening to our loyal customers and retailers as well as staying true to our brand and vision. We have never compromised on ingredients and will never do so. I continually educate myself on ingredients to ensure we use the most healthful and innovative options available. 

How do you gain and keep market share? 

As a pioneer in the natural products industry we have stayed true to our philosophy and have been fortunate to grow through word of mouth as well as consumers wanting healthier options.  Social media has played a tremendous role in our current growth as well.  I have found staying true to myself and the company’s philosophy has created tremendous brand loyalty. I create beautiful products that work, are healthful and that people can have fun with. We are proud to be certified under GIG and Leaping Bunny. It speaks to what I guarantee behind my product. We work vigorously to keep our costs down to enable our wholesalers to deliver our products at prices that consumers can afford. Finally, I work with a great team that share the same philosophy as I do. They help me deliver quality products and offer the best service to our customers and retailers.

Elena Ognivtseva