Online Exclusives

Ancient Irish Secret

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 23, 2013

Straight from the Emerald Isle, Voya’s seaweed products are found in spas, hotels and retail markets around the world.

Seaweed has a storied history of medicinal benefits. Once referred to as the “Sailor’s cure,” seaweed baths have been popular for more than 300 years.
 
The Irish flocked to facilities that used the marine plant to cure what ailed them. At one time, there were more than 100 marine wellness centers in Ireland alone, each offering baths using the marine plant harvested from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
 
Today, the number of wellness centers in Ireland has dropped to a scant few, but Voya is keeping the benefits of seaweed treatments alive and well with modern consumers in the Ireland and elsewhere.
 
The cold-water plant seems to be a hot commodity with eco-minded shoppers who are smitten with natural and organic products.
 
“In the last 10 years we have seen the demand for our seaweed baths and other therapies expand rapidly, fueled by the cultural shift to embrace traditional wellness practices along with a move to organic products and materials,” said Mark Walton, managing director, who founded Voya Beauty.
 
This Spring, Voya’s products were picked up by its first online retailer in the US, www.aylabeauty.com. But spa goers and travelers in the US and many other countries may have encountered this organic beauty and skin care brand through its extensive hotel amenities and spa presence.
 
“Thankfully, our launch coincides with a large consumer shift towards organics and general environmental awareness,” Walton said.
 
 
Voya traces its roots back to 1912 when the first seaweed bath/wellness center opened in Strandhill, County Sligo.
 
Walton, who describes Voya’s current seaside spa “modest,” has seen client turnover grow from 3,000 customers to 40,000 annually.  
 
That foot traffic helps Voya’s retail presence.
 
“Voya seaweed baths is a bit of a ‘must do’ thing in Ireland and attracts around 30,000 visitors a year, so it’s a natural sampling tool,” he said. “The natural evolution of the growth of our business was the decision to supplement our seaweed baths, which are certified organic, with a range of seaweed based organic therapies and health and beauty products.”
 
Walton added, “Voya is the result of eight years work; our products and therapies combine our traditional knowledge of the therapeutic properties of seaweed with the scientific expertise of the best cosmetic scientists, marine biologists and dermatologists.”
 
Today, Voya products can be found in 35 countries, with approximately 95% of its business coming through luxury hotel and day spas. Its retail clients include Selfridges in London, House of Fraser and Avoca in Ireland.
 
Voya has been supplying a number of US luxury properties, notably St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Canyon Ranch. The brand’s Seaweed Bath is its most iconic product; the facial serum and body moisturizer are extremely popular too.
 
“Real advances in green chemistry over the last few years” have really helped with consumer expectation, according to Walton, who has the “organic” movement in his blood. His father, a founder of the organic movement in Ireland, was one of the original directors on the board of the Organic Trust.
 
“Eco/Organic may be new, it’s not for us; we grew up with it, along with the tradition of sustainably harvesting seaweed by hand,” said Walton, who has helped with drafting organic aquaculture standards for the European Union organic standards. He also sits on the EU expert panel on organic standards for the EU Commission and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), which works to promote sustainable organic agriculture around the world.
 
According to Walton, Voya uses biodegradable or recyclable materials in its packaging “wherever feasible, down to the chips we pack our boxes with.” In addition, manufacturing is done with sustainable energy, (specifically wind) in Strandhill.
 
“Five years ago, being a certified organic brand meant we had to make compromises when it came to feel and texture of many cosmetics and we couldn’t make a comparable products. That thankfully has changed significantly,” said Walton.
 
He told HAPPI that the firm has invested approximately 20% of its turnover in R&D, specifically for new product development.
 
“The fruit of this is going to be a seismic re-launch of making core products, but also brand extension,” he told HAPPI.
 
Without divulging too many details, Walton said expect significant brand expansion, with focused isolated seaweed extract to treat conditions rather than skin types.
 
“We are also launching sub-ranges for global markets and a highly functional range of organic facial products, targeting the age defiance sector in 2014, which will use many ingredients developed from a collaborative project with a few Irish universities.”
 
 

Related End-User Markets:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.

  • Preserve & Serve

    Preserve & Serve

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Suppliers with innovative preservatives provide staying power for formulations.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • Fro Yo!

    Fro Yo!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 22, 2016
    Project Beauty dishes out Hairgurt, a line of vitamin-rich hair shampoos and conditioning masques.

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • Individualism IS The American Way

    Individualism IS The American Way

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    Why blue hair and BB creams still thrill US consumers.

  • Red, Black & Blue

    Red, Black & Blue

    August 8, 2016
    No matter who wins the US Presidential election, Americans expect their finances to get bloodied and bruised in 2017.

  • Athletes, Not Objects

    Athletes, Not Objects

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||August 1, 2016
    Dove Unveils My Beauty billboard in Times Square.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    July 28, 2016
    Three-layered hair product from Lauder, palm oil extracts for wrinkle treatment and more in recently awarded patents.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • Senior Skin Care

    Senior Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 19, 2016
    McCord Research and Product Quest Manufacturing roll out new hospital-grade skin care kits for seniors to use at home.

  • An Antioxidant Arsenal

    An Antioxidant Arsenal

    July 11, 2016
    BioRewind is Dermarché Labs' new anti-aging regimen that delivers broad-spectrum antioxidant protection against free radicals

  • Enter Éclair

    Enter Éclair

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 5, 2016
    A new naturals line rolls out in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 30, 2016
    J&J's anti-aging patent, LVMH and cannabis essential oil, transdermal botulinum toxins and more in recent patent news.

  • Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    June 28, 2016
    Vote on the finalists in Happi's reader's choice Anti-Aging Product of the Year contest!

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • Voyage to Better Skin

    Voyage to Better Skin

    June 13, 2016
    Skin Inc. rolls out new light-based device to US market.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 9, 2016
    Avon’s use of melicope extract, skin care with SPF and chicory root, microdermabrasion cream and more in recent patents.

  • Exploring Green in Vegas

    Exploring Green in Vegas

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Cosmoprof North America sets the stage for brands dedicated to the growing and evolving eco-friendly beauty space.

  • We

    We're Surrounded!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 30, 2016
    Industry experts explain the important role that the skin microbiome plays in human health.

  • Luxury Re-Coded

    Luxury Re-Coded

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||May 25, 2016
    Consumers have new expectations for beauty.

  • Procter Reels in Doctors

    Procter Reels in Doctors

    May 16, 2016
    The Procter & Gamble stand was abuzz during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 13, 2016
    Be sure to contact the Bay Area Beauty Association.

  • Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||May 2, 2016
    LOLI box marks the convergence of natural and organic ingredients, subscription service and DIY cosmetic chemistry.

  • Mapping Out Multicultural Beauty

    Mapping Out Multicultural Beauty

    April 25, 2016
    Agnieszka Saintemarie of Kline Group about current trends and challenges in multicultural beauty.