Lars Fredriksson is an unlikely beauty entrepreneur. Sure the charismatic business man has flawless skin, no doubt the product of his critically acclaimed skincare line Verso. However, with his finance and marketing background, you would expect him to be in the banking industry or heading up a big corporate, not developing revolutionary skincare products loved by women the world over.
Despite starting his career working with the Swedish Trade Council in New York and Sweden, Fredriksson kept finding himself presented with opportunities in the beauty industry. Rather than fight it, Fredriksson dove head first into the skincare world, working with over the counter, nutraceutical and beauty products. After being largely responsible for the rise to prominence of the Restylane skincare line and making the company the beauty powerhouse it is today, Fredriksson decided to take a leap of faith and set up his own business. And so, Verso was born.
So what was the inspiration behind Verso? “I wanted to have my own brand which took no short cuts in terms of concentration and quality. At the same time it was important that we had a product that looked good, that had a strong aesthetic to it.” Fredriksson said. “Brand and product should be the best of two worlds. It should be the best ingredients and also have a timeless and classic design. At Verso we talk about the total experience. It’s not just about what you put on your face, but it’s the experience you get when you unwrap the packaging. You should feel that the product is high quality.”
The Verso brand is based around a minimalistic concept: the idea of keeping things simple. “One of the things that I strongly believe in, is making your skincare regime easy.” says Fredriksson. “There are too many of us today who don’t have the time to go through complicated skincare regiments. Skincare should be easy to use but still be of good quality.”
So what makes Verso so effective? “Retinol 8 is the key ingredient.” Fredriksson reveals. “It is a vitamin A derivative. It’s known to be the golden standard in anti ageing. One of the things that truly, truly works.” So why aren’t other companies harnessing the power of vitamin A? “One of the challenges is that it can be irritating to the skin and it’s also UV sensitive.” explains Fredriksson. “From a formulation point of view it’s also very unstable so you need to have certain technology to make it work. With Verso’s new technology we can have a stable vitamin A derivative which is more potent and more effective than the standard retinol. Since it is stabilised, it also doesn’t reactive to UV in the same manner, so it’s safe to use during the day.” Verso has the added benefit of being formulated with no harmful substances such as parabens, mineral oils and colourants, minimising your skin’s exposure to unnecessary ingredients.
With so many skincare products on the market, how did Fredriksson get people to stand up and take notice of Verso? “It’s a saturated market in many ways” says Fredriksson of the beauty industry, “so it was important for us to focus on the vision behind the brand, that is the concept of making skincare easy and simple to understand and use. Even though I’m in the skincare industry, I can walk into store, pick up a beauty product and not understand the packing or what it’s for. Verso has a niche in the market. The brand is based on something that is scientifically proven but understandable. We are focused on not having too many products. Not making things confusing.”
So how does Fredriksson ensure the people he works with share the same vision for Verso. “The whole team has been part of the company and brand building from the beginning. All of us that are involved in the brand today have the same passion for it. We work with the same goal.”
Does the man behind one of the most effective beauty products on the market have any skincare secrets he can share with us? “Overall, each and everyone of us should use one vitamin A based products everyday. Vitamin A has such great benefits to the skin.” says Fredriksson. “It’s also important to use sunscreen, exercise and eat healthy. Be good to your body. Your skin is the biggest organ we have. If you eat unhealthily and don’t take care of yourself it will show on your skin.”
So what’s coming up for Verso? “We have a pipeline of exciting things.” says Fredriksson. “We always keep an ear out for what’s happening in the market. Verso will never be a huge line with hundreds of SKU’s. All new products coming out will serve a specific purpose and there will be a target need for it.”
And finally, what advice does Fredriksson have for people trying to do what he does? “It doesn’t matter what you are doing, whether it’s in beauty, or if you are doing something entrepreneurial or a start-up company, you have to prepare yourself. It will take a long time, it will cost money and you just need to be patient and be ready for a lot of sleepless nights. Whatever you do, it shouldn’t be too easy, otherwise everyone would do it.”
Verso Skincare is available exclusively in Australia from Mecca.
Images by Sabine Legrand