The best always comes from nature. Interview with one of the founders of Und Gretel Stephanie Dettmann
In 2015, the marketing expert Stephanie Dettmann together with the make-up artist Christina Roth founded a company and became one of the pioneers in the field of luxury make-up based on natural cosmetics. We spoke to one of the founders Stephanie Dettmann and asked her a couple of questions.
Photo by: Und Gretel
Dear Stephanie, where does the name come from? Were either you or Christina big fans of Brothers Grimm? Do you promise a fairy tale world of bright colors or is there a message for Hansel that there is no place for him in this world?
(Laughs) Nice ideas and to answer your last question: although Hansel does not literally appear in our brand name, his character always resonates with us. ;-)
The name UND GRETEL is in fact inspired by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. It is deliberately a name that is reminiscent of a fairy tale and should point to old values that we have reinterpreted for us.
The fairy tale Hänsel and Gretel is about intuition and rationality. Traditionally, intuition is assigned to the girl, while - Hänsel stands for rational. But what would have happened if Gretel had not followed her intuition at exactly the right moment and relied on Hänsel and his little ankle? Same idea behind UND GRETEL, it's about intuitively making the right decision for yourself, doing something good for yourself with our products and thus also an appreciation of oneself.
Photo by: Und Gretel
Tell us what is your product range and who is it for? Who is a typical Und Gretel customer?
The UND GRETEL product line contains a total of 73 products which are all natural and contemporary decorative cosmetics, which work. That means that UND GRETEL is made for everyone. However, currently, our core target group are middle-aged women.
When you created the company, there were almost no make-up brands on the market who used only natural ingredients. The topic of sustainability is now on the agenda . Electric cars, organic products, smart homes. How relevant is the topic of eco-friendly and hypoallergenic cosmetics that have not been tested on animals on the German market and in the world now, six years later?
Huge! And that's so great. We have always advocated for more beauty companies to join the movement of natural cosmetics and are encouraging everyone to do the same. The future is in natural ingredients and NO BAD STUFF. We do not need synthetics or other harmful ingredients to create make-up that performs well. The best always comes from nature!
For a long time it was a common fact, that natural decorative cosmetics had no place in the professional market. Until now, many brands of natural cosmetics are not known for their durability. Christina has been a makeup artist for many actors on the red carpet like Julie Delpy, Nora Tschirner, Nina Hoss. So how does your brand manage to combine an eco-friendly product with long-lasting makeup?
The products are durable because of the natural pigments which are able to bond with the skin in a completely different way when compared to the synthetic pigments. The all-natural ingredients from around the world are selected to be allowed to grow ethically and sustainably, in harmony with the environment and our future.
Tell us exactly which natural materials do you use in your cosmetics? What is the harm of synthetic cosmetics and what is necessary and important to know for the informed buyer?
«The future is in natural ingredients and NO BAD STUFF.»
That is a great question. Because there is still such a gap within the knowledge about ingredients in cosmetics. In many cosmetic products ingredients like mineral oils, microplastic, and synthetics can be found. Mineral oils and synthetics can be harmful and toxic. Synthetic preservatives, for example, are suspected of having hormonal effects. Mineral oils are even suspected of causing cancer. This is quite shocking when thinking about the fact that a woman “eats” 3.5 kg of lipstick in her life. Instead of silicones, our lipstick, for example, contains carnauba wax and candelilla wax for a smooth consistency and extra-long hold. Instead of mineral oils, purely natural plant oils such as jojoba oil and shea butter provide your lips with moisture and suppleness. And, instead of preservative parabens or microplastics for synthetic shine, you will only find NO BAD STUFF in our products: purely natural ingredients! On our website you can find a Glossary, which in detail explains the “Good stuff” and the “Bad stuff” in cosmetics. And you can also check out the Codecheck App!
You consider yourself a luxury cosmetic brand. If all the ingredients are natural what is the higher price of your product connected with?
You actually already gave the answer in your question. Since all of our ingredients are of natural origin, they are finite raw materials. Buying them in a high quality is, - of course, much more expensive than a synthetically produced formula. There is a sophisticated worldwide sourcing process which help us find wonderful and valuable ingredients that make our UND GRETEL of high quality.
Not all of your products can be called vegan. Mascara, for example, is produced with beeswax and lip gloss with wool wax (lanolin). It is still natural ingredients but not vegan. Do you use them because it’s the only way to achieve long-lasting makeup?
Carnauba palm wax is the hardest wax of natural origin. It gives me a shine and the necessary breaking strength even at higher temperatures, which is especially advantageous in the summer months. Beeswax is the oldest natural base for balms. Compared to oils, the natural ingredient is slightly harder. Beeswax forms a light protective film on the skin, which has a soothing and soothing effect on skin irritation and dryness.
On your website, in your profile you position yourself as a brand without compromise. What do you mean by that?
Intense colors and long-lasting make-up have so far only been achieved in the professional, decorative cosmetics sector through the use of controversial ingredients and synthetic preservatives. Make-up products from the natural cosmetics segment, on the other hand, have so far lacked strong colors, fine textures, and long-lasting adhesion. Our customer simply has to make no compromises when buying our decorative cosmetics that perform.
Photo by: Und Gretel
«In addition to many wonderful new product developments, we are currently tackling the topic of internationalization - in the first step Europe, then we want to conquer the US market»
Tell us about your team. Your office is located in Berlin. How have you grown in 6 years, have there been difficult moments and what are your plans for the future?
The last six years have been a real rollercoaster ride - but that's how it is when you're an entrepreneur. Started in the offline world with numerous wonderful retailers, we have strategically realigned UND GRETEL in 2019 and changed the business model from an offline brand to an e-commerce company. To do this, I brought in support from partners in the areas of finance and online performance marketing. Since March 2020, we have virtually taken off again with UND GRETEL and have thankfully come through the pandemic as an online company very well. This is also reflected in the organization, for example, we have grown from 8 to currently 36 employees within a year and we have also developed significantly in terms of sales. In addition to many wonderful new product developments, we are currently tackling the topic of internationalization - in the first step Europe, then we want to conquer the US market.
Photo by: Und Gretel
I recently heard on the radio a comment from a plastic surgeon in USA that the number of people wanting to get facial surgery has increased a lot due to working from home and online. How has the pandemic situation affected your sales? Everyone wants to look beautiful on camera.
I have already heard about this and find it funny, but also absolutely understandable. In our case we do see the trend that lip products were not selling as good as before due to the mask situation. However, our eye products did get a boost. Especially the eye stick cream LUK. It is the perfect product to create bright eyes even on camera.
We also expect a huge push when everything gradually opens up again, life on the streets can happen again without a mask and everyone just feels like color and expressing themselves. You can see all the gorgeous summer dresses and already the clear trend for bright colors already- a makeup that expresses "here I am - I feel like living." We are really looking forward to this!
Where can one find you? Do you deliver products through Europe and abroad and in which cities in Germany can you be found?
Yes! We deliver worldwide. But as it is now possible to visit shops again, we recommend checking out our store finder on our website to find your UND GRETEL products in the well-selected lovely shops next to you.
Name your three favorite products that are absolutely MUST for our female readers?
My absolute favorite is LUK in bronze. Our Cream Eye Stick, which makes my eyes shine every morning and always makes me happy with its name (LUK means in Middle High German, where the name comes from: happiness). It not only makes the eyes shine in a Zoom Conference, but also gives the eyes more expressiveness when wearing a mask. Brand new is LUK in the third color, PEARL, which you can also use as a highlighter at the same time.
And my all-time favorite Lipstick is the TAGAROT Lipstick in rose, apricot or copper. In combination with our wonderful lifting modellage powder SUNNE Wide- my daily companion - and LUK bronze it creates the perfect day to night look.