Health and beauty combined
Established in 1978, cosmetics giant Aveda manages to combine the environmental idealism of the 1960s and 1970s with the no-nonsense capitalism of the '80s and the pure and natural aesthetic of the '90s. Aveda markets itself as a lifestyle company, going beyond cosmetics and hair and skin care, to things like vitamins and household products. The company has an entire line based on the Ayurvedic science of plant medicine, and actually pioneered the study of aromatherapy (though they call it "aromaology"), a science based on the use of natural scents. Horst Rechelbacher's vision extends from his product line to Aveda Concept Salons and Environmental Lifestyle Stores to Aveda Spas and Educational Institutes. The corporate headquarters is both beautiful and environmentally correct, surrounded by 65 acres of wetlands. There is an on-site food co-op and natural foods restaurant, a corporate fitness center, and a day care facility. Aveda products are favored by beauty-conscious celebrities such as Madonna, Kate Moss, and Naomi Campbell.
Expensive, but ingestable
Aveda has earned a reputation for using only the most ecologically-sound manufacturing techniques and organically-grown botanical ingredients. It prides itself on its commitment to the use of renewable resources, and uses more recycled materials for its packaging than any other company in America. Though more expensive, the company always uses natural ingredients as opposed to synthetics, and never tests its products on animals. As a testament to the purity of his products, Rechelbacher boasts that he has personally ingested every ingredient of every one of his products.
Aveda was the first company to sign the CERES agreement for corporate environmental responsibility in 1989. It is also involved in a program that responsibly sources plant materials from indigenous tribes in Brazil and Africa. However, it remains to be seen whether Aveda can maintain its socially responsible bent as it ventures deeper into the corporate jungle. Estee Lauder bought the company in November of 1997 for $300 million in cash. Rechelbacher has maintained his position as chairman, and the company headquarters remains in Minneapolis.
In February 1998 Aveda opened its first store in Germany. The branch, located in Berlin, is the first sign of European growth since the company's decision to expand there. The company also has plans for expansion into Japan. Asian and further European nevtures are planned for 2000. Another 1998 milestone: Aveda opened its first male-targeted product line. The line, Aveda Men, has international availability and delivers "speedy, yet high performance."
Ever concerned about the toxicity of the company's products, Rechelbacher is releasing more hyper-healthful items. Hand Relief moisturizer ($28) and Cuticle Control ($15) are among the standouts in the company's most recent repertoire. Both products contain pure plant extracts, vitamins, exfoliating acids, and antioxidants to help slow signs of aging. Aveda's emphasis on holistic wellness isn't surprising given Rechelbacher's previous experience. Over the years he has collaborated with scientists, doctors, environmentalists, herbalists, and health visionaries such as Deepak Chopra. Aveda is planning on opening a series of juice bars called Aveda Intelligent Nutrients Wunderbar, which will serve mineral water, smoothies, organic coffees, and herbar elixers, as well as selling energy bars and drink powders.
Aveda: not exactly a women's sanctuary
Despite the fact that about 70% of Aveda's employees are women, the company is now being sued for sex-discrimination. The general manager of Aveda's New York business filed suit claiming she was denied promotions, harassed, and then terminated because of her gender. The case has not yet been resolved.
Check Aveda's Web site at www.aveda.com or call the Job Hotline at 612-783-4282 for openings in Minnesota. Employees say that there are many opportunities, because the company is rapidly expanding. For those interested in working at or running an Aveda Concept salon (rather than working at the company proper), call the information line at 1 (800) 328-0849. The Web site also posts a list of distributors worldwide. Aveda offers preparation for careers in aromaology, cosmetology, massage, and related fields. For technical positions, the company places ads in trade publications such as the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists.
Applications sent to the headquarters are held on file for one year, and insiders advise applicants to "make your resume stand out!" They also urge interviewees to "learn as much about the company and its philosophy as possible." The company offers internships, which are posted on the Aveda web site. Insiders report that "the HR manager recruiting for the position will screen them for qualifications," then interviews are conducted by team members in the area. "Sometimes there are second-round interviews, but not always."
"The people I work with are fabulous!" gushes one Aveda employee. "[At Aveda] they are accepting of others and are free thinkers." Aveda employees also stress the importance of the company's philosophy in their lives. Many report to use its products religiously - and at discount prices. "Aveda has a great outlook on life, which makes it a lot more enjoyable to work for," says one insider. "They are a company based on education and knowledge (as well as wellness and balance)." Confirms another, "I totally trust Aveda and its integrity. It's a great feeling working for a company who is concerned about the environment and does something about it. To me, Aveda is a prototype of what all other companies should be." Another contented insider concludes, "the people are very laid back and easygoing."
Employees across the board are extremely satisfied with their jobs. "Any positions within our company are extremely challenging," says one insider. Another notes that "[chairman] Horst is extremely demanding of his employees," but stresses that "this is not a negative thing." Though there is no official dress code at Aveda, the consensus is that employees are "super hip." "We are a beauty and fashion-forward company," says one insider. "We have many that wear trendy clothing down to the chemists with lab coats." Another fashion-conscious insider divulges, "You've got to look a bit rebellious, harmonizing the chic and the natural with the pure and clean." He adds, "there is definitely a preference for black [clothing] among everyone at the company, as well as for modern haircuts." Women wondering about equality at Aveda needn't be concerned: "The company is about 70 percent women."
Although Aveda used to have its own line, "Anatomy," one insider reports that "the clothing is now limited to bathrobes, t-shirts, and accessories." Heartbroken consumers can console themselves with the knowledge that the few items remaining are "made from recycled sources or organically-raised cotton." Company benefits include on-site "workout facilities," "an organic restaurant on-site," "day care," as well as a health plan and 401(k). Insiders report working from "eightish to five."
Hair care products;Skin care products;Home products
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