NEWS18 March 2022

MRX ‘hugely important’ to my brand, says skincare founder

Impact 2022 News Sustainability UK

UK – Research is “hugely important” to skincare brand Childs Farm, says its founder, who has spoken out against greenwashing from large corporations.

Head shot of of Joanna Jensen

Joanna Jensen (pictured), founder and chairman of Chllds Farm, was speaking at a keynote interview at the MRS Impact 2022 conference, interviewed by Sinead Jefferies, the founder of Vela.

Jensen, who founded Childs Farm in 2010 as a solution to the sensitive and eczema-prone skin of her two daughters, pinpointed research as a key growth driver of the business.

Childs Farm is today a multimillion-pound-a-year business with listings in Boots, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda. “We do a lot of qualitative, a lot of quantitative research,” said Jensen.

She pointed out that this was in marked contrast to the early years of the brand when products were launched on Jenson’s gut instinct.

“When we launched our baby range back in 2016, the decision about what we launched, what colour we used, all of that was driven by research. So for us, it’s hugely, hugely important. In fact for a business of our size, we probably over-research a bit.”

Research, Jensen said, gives direction but the final go-ahead on product launches rested with herself and company directors.

“It gives us a direction to go into. So rather than us saying ‘Ooh, I think it’s going to work’. It’s us saying, ‘Right 98 per cent of this audience, who are our key audience, think it’s going to work’. So it’s pretty important.”

Jensen, who quit her job in investment banking to launch Chllds Farm, extolled the benefits of brands showcasing research to retailers and highlighting key brand statistics to them, like footfall and basket sizes. “By delivering that research you are really helping them do their jobs,” she noted.

During the keynote, Jensen had a pop at greenwashing carried out by large corporations – taking them to task for promoting pledges and promises. Coca-Cola, she said, was one example of a brand that she believed was guilty of promoting a not-yet-achieved environmental pledge.

“It’s so unnecessary” and “dull as ditchwater” she remarked, adding that big companies should only go public on environmental pledges achieved, not goals.

However, Jensen said the baby and child category itself was “so behind the curve when it comes to it natural origin and suitability”.

An ambition, she said, was for consumers to make purchasing decisions on issues like sustainability, natural origin and the socio-economic initiatives undertaken by  brands. But she concluded that “sadly” this was still a “long, long, way” away.