Thursday, December 18, 2014

The meaning of being raised in Italy for somebody who has passion for cosmetics.

SInce 1988,my work has been the testimony of an ancient tradition of Italian Herbalism in the U.S.”. “From a dream of quality, herbs and alchemy came a business.” - 

Ms Carmen Miraglia-Erbe founder

Standing for tradition and trying to occupy a niche in the local or international market are two fundamental guidelines  small companies should stick to, if they want to prevent big  mass-production cosmetics corporations  from totally overwhelming them, leaving no more opportunities of a significant diversification of high quality products.

In order for 
small and medium size businesses ,operating in the cosmetic industry, to survive the aggressive coming of the big scale production system,they should always measure their success by how different they are from the larger businesses, that often take the idea of beauty and corrupt it through mass marketing and aggressive cost cutting, and, ultimately, silly claims. 

 Big companies do not know people, and, worse, do not care to know people. Rather, they employ the tactics of demographics, psychographics and analytics to reduce everybody to some abstract being, possessing certain needs and assets.

On the other hand, small companies should  be always hands-on, by making simple promises in the form of a highly personal and, so, meaningful message to their faithful clients. The products we propose have to be inspired by our relationships with them.

The majority of  big industry skin care lines include chemicals, which imitate the healing actions of the actual botanical extracts found in  products studied and developed by many small companies,who are still engaged in an highly ethical production approach. What we’ve found is that chemicals, however cheerily or “scientifically” expressed, achieve only superficial and temporary results. They offer illusions—the famous “hope in a bottle.”

  On the contrary,ingredients used by small companies should be different. Products they propose shall  put the clients on the right healing track. They have to interact with the client's skin; they have to work deeply because they have to be intended to cure actual dermatological problems. The right regime should be few products, each intended to provide real and lasting benefits.

 Small companies 
 committed to produce organic products should mirror themselves in the natural world and the relation to it. They have to come out from a real tradition: for example in our case this tradition is “The Authentic Italian Beauty Tradition.” We are the descendants of generations of men and women who understood the relationship between real beauty and true health and found in the Earth, and for this reason none of the products made by "depersonalizing" big companies could ever compete with what we offer.

  We have been surviving the aggressive coming of the manufacturing age because we have been always committed to raising the awareness of a largely ignored past. We have reclaimed the wisdom of our Italian monks, whose healing practices anticipated by centuries what we think of as “modern” today. They are our past, and we are their future.

Toward that end, we reject the pathological pursuit of profit at the expense of the real. Small businesses aims have to be as humble as their formulations; we have to help people enjoy lasting results from a few truly effective products rather than being caught up in a cycle of useless purchasing. We personally think this entrepreneurial approach is the right path small businesses have to follow if they do not want to disappear under the heavy financial and political power of big corporation.

Carmen Miraglia,owner and founder of our company,explains how she has been able to stick to those principles of integrity and authenticity.

IDEAL FIND:  Erbe founded in 1988  (photo above Erbe Veccia Farmacia, Italy in the 1600′s)
FOUNDER:  Carmen Miraglia

AUTHENTIC DEDICATION: Italian Beauty Culture rooted in 16th and 17th century Aroma-Phytotherapy practice.

Lauroly Q: Welcome Carmen Miraglia. What a pleasure to have you here to talk about your company and ideals. The background story on how you got started with Erbe is so rich and filled with authenticity. Your products are truly an “ideal find” for those who haven’t discovered Erbe yet! You studied biology at Rome’s La Sapienza University and researched herbal alchemy dating back to the 16th century.  After working in your parents 18th Century pharmacy custom blending curative creams from essential oils you went on to develop products for major cosmetic companies. What motivated you to create your own line of phytocosmetics (phyto meaning plant based) called Erbe?

Carmen Miraglia: Growing up in Italy it was customary to be acquainted with the natural healing methods from the folk medicine, everyone knows that Chamomile soothes and Rosemary stimulates. These plants are our foundations applied in the everyday life, including beauty receipts used for centuries and improved overtime. As a former product developer, for other cosmetic companies, I became more and more disenchanted with this world of ordinary formulations with no functional activity but only for commercial purposes. I felt I had to go back to what I knew best, personalized natural formulations, ready to use receipts for beauty and personal hygiene, based on extremely pure ingredients and without additives or chemicals but no shelf life. They were classic preparations previously available only custom made in local pharmacies. Soon my small artisan activity became a business and started researching for the appropriated additives to incorporate in my formulations, without altering or diminishing the effects of the botanical ingredients but, enhancing their efficacy to convey and maintain the properties of our herbs, roots and flowers.

 Lauroly Q:  The inspiration for your line is so interesting. You studied the work of Italian herbalist, alchemists and physicians from celebrated ancient monasteries. How do you combine ancient alchemy with modern science? There are so many companies claiming “all natural” but we often find a natural herb like lavender listed last after a long list of chemicals. As former Marketing Director of the HBA Beauty show (tradeshow for cosmetic manufacturers) in New York, I talked to many product formulators who talked about the difficulty and challenges of natural product formulation.  Can you tell us how you address the challenges?

Carmen Miraglia: There are “chemicals” deriving from plants and “transformed” into a preservatives or antibacterial that may complete or enhance the functional activity of the plants. Essential oils, in their pure form and extracted in a safe way, are great preservatives and anti-oxidants, if we extract the active principal of the Lemon, we obtain the “ascorbic acid” used as a preservative and so on. Many plants, once they go under a transformation process may assume a fantasy name, we rigorously select the additives to incorporate in our products. The process of “transformation”, of vegetal origin ingredients, is fundamental to realize our line of products.

Lauroly QHow do you insure quality in your production and manufacturing?

Carmen Miraglia: We rely on the work of family owned business for years who are determined to continue and maintain a traditional method of manufacturing passed on from generation to generation. We work very close for over 25 years now. Actually the new generation is more dedicated to quality, they have chosen to improve and grow with particular attention to quality and integrity. From our sources of the plants, their transformation and their employment, we control every aspect of production, including our packaging and designs. My suppliers, my graphic designer, my lab collaborators and I have formed a trustworthy team and by learning from each other, we create these products that are designed to be safe, functional and pleasant to use.

Lauroly Q: Okay we understand what makes Erbe so unique and special but let’s get to Italian culture. What botanical blends from nature did your ancient ancestors in Italy use?  And what is your best selling product?

Carmen Miraglia: Everyone knows Chamomile soothes, Rosemary stimulates, Mallow soothes if the gums are irritated, or Calendula cream helps if your skin is flaking dry. In Italy it is our everyday life, we always used natural remedies to cure minor ailments, mixing and blending mixtures of herbs for all kinds of needs. The association of various different herbs in one single product is the key to aim at various skin conditions. These associations and relative ratio of dosages is a precise science and this is what makes all ERBE’sMoisturizers the best appreciated products in our lines. Our skin care products contain a blend of truly precious essential oils and extracts, designed to target a wide range of skin conditions. Our blends contribute in enhancing the skin’s immune system, improve the appearance of dull skin, refresh and rejuvenate, while also delaying signs of aging.

 Lauroly ClosingAll I can say is Bellissimo! Carmen, thank you so much for sharing your Italian cultural wisdom and inspiring business story.  I should remind everyone that Erbe products are free of synthetic fragrances, animal products, waxes and colorants. You can find Erbe products at 

 company presentation;


  1. It is so uplifting to see companies such as Erbe creating natural products that are high quality and contain ingredients beneficial to healthy skin