We are excited to have launched with our first Belgium retailer, Beauty By Kroonen. Ideally located in the heart of Brussels, Beauty by Kroonen welcomes customer in a luminous space with a charming vintage feel of a 1890s house. Built around atmosphere and service, this is a “feel good” place where you can come to see, touch, feel and talk about everything beauty. A place where you can take your time to discover and experience, in a warm and informal atmosphere. We spoke with founder, Ioana Kroonen, to learn more about the concept and her connection to Irene Forte Skincare.
Why and when did you start Beauty by Kroonen?
12 years ago, while I was taking time out of of my marketing and innovation career working for multinational companies, I started to think about what my favourite beauty shop would be like; a fine selection of skincare, make-up and perfume brands, in a relaxed and friendly space, where customers would feel welcomed and would discover, try and talk all things beauty. Eight months later, as a passionate beauty consumer, I opened the beauty space of my dreams.
What have your biggest challenges been?
It all fell into place rather fast and smoothly, like it was just meant to be. It was so exciting for me to pull everything together, from defining the concept, choosing the brands, finding the right location in the right neighbourhood with the right vibe, securing funding, overseeing the works, and finally welcoming the first customers in store on 1st April 2010! I loved every step of the process, and I couldn’t believe this was going to be my new reality. It has not always been easy. Small independent retail businesses have faced a number of challenges over the years. However, this is still what I love doing and it makes up for the tough times.
Why did you choose Irene Forte Skincare?
Irene Forte Skincare represents everything we hope to offer to our customers; the best ingredients incorporated in innovative formulas developed over 35 years of scientific research. In addition to their proven efficacy, the products smell divine and make your beauty routine a blissful experience. The brand is also a very personal project to Irene Forte – a passionate beauty entrepreneur who leads all aspects of the production with the highest ethical, social and environmental values.
How do you go about choosing your brands?
It can come from all sorts of places. Sometimes it’s a brand that catches our eye on social media or a blog. It can be a brand that approaches us directly, or a customer that praises their new favourite products they discovered during their last trip abroad.
It’s extremely important that the brands we carry share our values. We thoroughly test each product for several days on different skin types (thanks to our team and collaborators). It’s very much a question of finding products that we love, that we absolutely want to use ourselves, and that we can recommend to our customers without hesitation.
You’re a beauty junky, so what are your top three beauty tips?
- Day and night, no matter the season, I always apply at least one high potency serum. I like to use concentrated ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin. One of my new favourites is the Irene Forte Hibiscus Serum, filled with incredible breakthrough actives. It’s a kind of a miracle potion for the skin!
- Regular facial massage, which helps to promote healthy, glowing skin by stimulating circulation, releasing tension, lifting and toning the skin and improving the absorption of our favourite skincare products. I try to take a minute or two in the morning and evening to massage-in my creams. Once or twice a week, I use my Gua Sha for 5-10 minutes with a face oil. The Irene Forte Rose Face Oil is my new ultimate motivation because it’s such a delight to use.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a good cleansing ritual. I recommend a rich cleanser that melts everything away; a refreshing formula for the morning, and something that cleans everything from the day for the evening. Always follow with a toner to remove any extra dirt residue, and help the penetration of everything to come.
What do you have in store for 2022?
Launching Irene Forte Skincare and their facials was a great way to kick off the year. We’re also about to start a partnership with Hotel Amigo, welcoming their guests for Irene Forte treatments. We’re constantly looking to improve our services and grow the brands we carry, so we have a number of training sessions lined up for the team in the coming months.
What does the future of skincare look like?
Skincare that combines the best of nature and science. Consumers want natural and clean, as well as visible results. Research will play a major role delivering novel, powerful ingredients with proven efficacy, offering strong alternatives to the more invasive solutions. Consumers will look to shop brands with a strong ethical and environmental focus. We believe that more and more beauty brands across all categories will have to align to these standards if they want to meet consumer demands and expectations, just as Irene Forte Skincare has done.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t over tweeze your brows and wear sunscreen every day.