Natura Bissé: Skincare innovation in Barcelona
Joaquin Serra Senior VP of the Natura Bissé Group
What does the company specialize in?
Natura Bissé, which has been going for 42 years now, is a second-generation family business working in the field of skin care. We offer innovative products and experiences that make a major difference in people's lives. Fusing pioneering technology with a gentle human touch, our products are designed to meet people's individual needs. We believe that "each skin has its very own voice."
It all began in Barcelona in 1979, when our founder, Ricardo Fisas, came across someone who had hands that felt exceptionally silky. An entrepreneur with an inquiring mind, he noticed that an employee working with the amino acids collagen, elastin and keratin in his previous company had hands that were surprisingly soft; this observation would change the cosmetics industry forever. The person's hands were so soft, in fact, that Sr. Fisas decided to investigate further. He discovered that these natural amino acids had a powerful effect on the skin in their free form. This was how the first Natura Bissé formula was created.
When did you start to work in this company?
The first time I worked in the company, I was 17 years old and my sister Elena, now a Natura Bissé shareholder, had mentioned at dinner one day that help was needed for events and conferences occasionally. I was taken on to help out part-time, but the really important thing was that I met the person who was to become my wife, Veronica; it was love at first sight. I started to work full-time for the company 26 years ago, and now we work together side by side, since Veronica is CEO of Natura Bissé.
What do you like most about your job?
There have been two stages in my work: pre- and post-Covid. I flew all around the world for more than 20 years and it was really exciting to drive major changes in the company. But with Covid, the situation has been challenging. Nevertheless, we have taken the opportunity to think about a number of aspects: how to change; the impact of new technologies and how to incorporate them into our business model; new innovations; updating outdated processes, and so on. We have even decided to rethink and adapt our foundation in order to continue moving forward. Crises help you to get in shape.
And what do you like least?
Not having much free time…
What do you think your company excels at?
Commitment, values, ethics, honesty, long-term vision, and we are very proud of the work of our foundation.
What is your main challenge?
We are committed to observing and collaborating with other sectors, in particular those working in sustainability, neuroscience, nutrition, aesthetic medicine, gastronomy, and wellness, to name but a few.
Likewise, we always need to come up with new ideas and concepts. We do this by questioning our own limits and seeking out the latest scientific breakthroughs. Tireless, passionate, and always open-minded, we are explorers; we believe that it is this attitude that helps us to develop outstanding products and ground-breaking rituals that have spectacular results.
Where is your company based?
In a year full of changes, Natura Bissé has finally moved into its new home: a spectacular 15,000 m2 building2ocated in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, the Parc del Alba, in Cerdanyola del Vallès. The site includes the offices and the factory, along with the R&D&I center and a spa. It is an avant-garde, Mediterranean building that conveys the spirit of an optimistic, forward-looking company. The new building is a major venture for the company and marks its consolidation as a benchmark in the luxury cosmetics sector. Our confidence is backed up by receiving the award for the Best Spa Brand in the World at the World Spa Awards for three years running.
Do you know why this location was chosen?
We were looking for both an industrial site and an environment that would add value to our brand: the Parc del Alba in the heart of Collserola was the ideal location for our new headquarters.
This new center symbolizes the beginning of a new phase and represents Natura Bissé's commitment to a range of goals: our growth and internationalization; innovation, sustainability, and energy efficiency; and quality and excellence. The architectural design is a response to two clear objectives: to represent the soul of the company and to improve the quality of the activities that take place in it.
What do you like most about the neighbourhood where you work?
A relaxed and authentic approach to life is in our DNA, as are our joy and passion for work. Ideally located in a natural setting, the site is spacious enough to enable those who work there to get the most out of their daily life, while also enhancing human relationships and fomenting creativity. It is much more than a corporate headquarters or a production center, our "factory-home" is, above all, a space for inspiration and exchange, a welcoming place where teams can work together to build the Natura Bissé of the future.
We are in the best "neighborhood." The Collserola park area was connected to Barcelona and the sea in the 90s and now it is the turn of the Barcelona metropolitan area. This makes the park a strategic asset.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
The addition of "Barcelona" to our logo helped us launch the brand in the United States in 1995. Barcelona had just dazzled the world with the Olympics and the Americans, ever the practical marketers, pushed us to do so.
Which city would you compare Barcelona to?
It is difficult to think of a city that has the same characteristics as Barcelona. For size and a great lifestyle, Stockholm; one closer to home is Malaga… and also Montreal.
Which city model you think Barcelona should resemble?
Singapore manages its resources well and its incentives make it an outstanding city for business. It is obsessed with making its companies the most effective in the world, and they believe they can achieve this by implementing an innovative and revolutionary educational system, one that is much admired around the world.
What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
Malaga! It is a highly attractive city both for tourism and for business. Its success is not only based on the climate, culture and the geographical location; it also has an excellent tourist infrastructure. They have done a great job.
As Màrius Carol has said, "We are great at selling Barcelona, a city that has a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing".
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
It is essential to have good committed, and, above all, united leadership: if we all row all in the same direction we should be able to overcome the current divisions between the public and private sectors. This, in turn, should improve employment, cultural, and business opportunities, along with the quality of life of residents and visitors. emprendedora que vuelva a brillar con la luz propia que se merece y ser considerada como una de las la mejores ciudades del mundo. Tenemos que aprovechar las palancas que ofrecen las nuevas tecnologías y las nuevas oportunidades para tomar una posición competitiva respecto a otras ciudades.