BEHIND THE BRAND: DR. URS POHLMAN INTRODUCES ANANNÉ, LAUNCHED THIS MONTH IN THE UK
Dr. Urs Pohlman worked over 15 years as a neurologist before he started researching increased allergic reactions and sensitivity in patients treated by fellow dermatologist colleagues in Basel, Switzerland. Initially it was just a scientific project but it turned out to be so successful it was later launched by him as an independent, completely self-funded skincare brand, ananné. Finally after five years and already established in Austria and Germany, its products, all naturally-delivered and results-led, are now available in the UK.
Last Friday we met Dr. Pohlman, who kindly welcomed us at the gorgeous Ham Yard Hotel, near Piccadilly Circus. He spoke with Morning Beauty about how ananné was created, what ingredients the brand uses as well as what it avoids, and his plans for its future. Dr. Pohlman also introduced us to all Ananné’s products, which we can vouch are delightfully scented and sink onto the skin very quickly. Check out below the complete interview with Dr. Pohlman, MD PhD in Medicine and Philosophy:
How ananné was actually founded?
It was a research project at first, and then that just developed and we started looking into concepts of how cosmetics are created and why they [manufacturers] don’t look more at the physiology and the resources of the skin. I suggested that we could create a kind of ideal concept of cosmetics looking at how we find out what the skin really needs and how the absorption of products via skin work, and what is the limit of what cosmetics should or could do. We analysed all these issues and decided to ask our pharmacists to help us make a cream composed of the ingredients we were looking at.
We got a few samples and shared them amongst the research group and pass it on to colleagues and nurses. The feedback was very positive; they asked for more and we then produced a second batch but also decided to do an objective testing. We approached a skin testing institute, which tests products for premium brands in Switzerland, and the reports were all positive as well. The director of the institute called me and said the products were very good and that he has never observed over 2/3 of his testers, all experienced women, asking about the name of the brand. He said that was a wonderful result and that we shouldn’t leave the products on our desks.
We then contacted the companies we were already in contact with and offered our recipes but nobody wanted because they said the products were good but it was a whole new concept, which meant to launch a new brand or to risk devaluing the products they already had. We were left with the task of bringing it in the market but not having a partner to do it, so we did it on our own.
Why the brand was named ananné?
That came from ananeosis (ανανέωσης). Neosis is Greek and means birth, “ana” is the modification of anything, like in analysis. Ananeosis means the modified birth and that’s the daily rebirths, which is regeneration.
What’s the philosophy behind ananné?
The concept is to look at what the skin can really absorb, and then to take the best quality of ingredients. Let’s take rosehip oil for instance. Wild collection is more important for us, as well as organic agriculture would be better than ordinary agriculture. For us the oil should be as fresh as possible and as close to the living plant. We only use plant ingredients and of course we don’t do any animal testing. We avoid ingredients that create insecurities such as parabens and we have a different concept of how to keep the products fresh without synthetic preservatives.
And ananné’s products are suitable for all skin types?
Yes, they’re suitable for all healthy skin types but for also people with a phase of strong regeneration for instance after a specific diet or after recovery from a severe disease. In my biography, I worked with Oncology for a year and I had many female patients who had chemotherapy or radiation therapy before and were urgently looking for a support of their regenerative forces in the skin and these patients always remained in my mind and when we developed the products I said that these were the most difficult situation I would like to cover. We also know that there are many people with psoriasis or dermatitis and they should have creams or serum that work without stressing the skin and our products are appropriate for them as well.
Where the brand was initially launched?
Initially we had it in a couple of stores in Switzerland, and then we had a wonderful article in the country’s main newspaper. In a pretty short period of time we had 20 points of sale in Switzerland. We’re in three different countries now: Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Now we’re coming to the UK and in the fall we’ll be launching in the Netherlands.
Where ananné’s products are manufactured?
They’re produced in Switzerland because we want the quality control very close to our main office. The ingredients actually come from all over the world, from the five continents. We work with professional scouts that travel abroad to source new ingredients – we have ingredients that are used for centuries in Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese or South American medicines. Our idea is to compose these ingredients in the right way and using high concentrations where possible and necessary, but the main thing is to that the right amount of each in order to speak to all the biological processes we have in the skin for regeneration.
What are your plans for ananné’s future?
The plan is to offer the brand in many European countries. We have the retail products and the spa products as well. The latter are appropriate for urban spas or spa retreats. We want to be not in the mass market but in very specific markets where we think that consumers would be interested in our products. So for instance is a store for our retail products where they would be understood supported and where the difference between Ananné and other brands could be explained.