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Aveda founder’s Intelligent Nutrients rebrands to I-N, with a focus on skin and hair

intelligent nutrients

The decades-old beauty line Intelligent Nutrients, created by Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, is going through a conscious consumer-focused rebrand.

In the next two weeks, Intelligent Nutrients will become I-N, with a new look, and fresh packaging and products that will be sold via its DTC site, salons and spas, and other retail partners. Originally created by Rechelbacher as a supplement brand in the 1990s, Intelligent Nutrients first transitioned to beauty products in 2008. Since Rechelbacher passed away in 2014, his partner Kiran Stordalen and daughter Nicole Rechelbacher have been at the helm of the brand as co-owners and co-presidents, and driving its transformation. New products launched for the rebrand are in the skin, hair, body and fragrance categories, and candles are on the way later this year. Supplements have been discontinued for now, with plans to re-introduce them in the future, according to a spokesperson.

Nicole Rechelbacher (L) and Kiran Stordalen (R) of I-N. (Courtesy photo)

The rebrand is focused on “plant science and chemistry,” with an emphasis on plant-based ingredients, sustainability and aromatherapy, said Nicole Rechelbacher. Products’ packaging is created with a range of post-consumer recycled materials or glass containers. Shampoo bottles, for example, are made with 90% PCR high-density polyethylene from recycled containers and jugs, and their caps are made from 50% PCR. 

“The whole conversation has changed,” with regard to sustainability in beauty, said Stordalen. “It’s absolutely fantastic that the industry is making a shift in this direction. We’re all going to be better for it. The customer now has a language that they can use to identify what they want.” 

The pandemic has caused the brand to shift course in several ways. The relaunch had initially been planned for the summer, but was pushed to February due to supply chain issues. Covid-19 has also shifted the brand’s distribution strategy, and its online channel has become a necessary priority. The brand’s DTC sales now represent 53% of its total sales, up from 31% before the pandemic. Several of the new I-N products, including the brand’s AHA gel, face oil and vitamin C serum, as well as some styling products, have soft-launched on the existing website.

“We’re definitely taking a much stronger omnichannel approach at this point,” said Stordalen. In addition to DTC and salon partners, the brand is sold in boutique retailers across the U.S., as well as via an Amazon partner. Internationally, it has distributors in Europe and Hong Kong. 

Several aspects of the brand were inspired by the lessons Stordalen and Rechelbacher learned from Aveda, where Stordalen served as the vp of marketing and creative until 1999, two years after the company was acquired by ELC. 

“My father was a big, big aromatherapist,” said Nicole Rechelbacher. “His ‘happy zone’ was in his lab. We designed our products like, ‘OK, first, what’s the scent?’” Many of the products in the new line are listed as containing 99% certified organic aroma oils. 

The brand is also tapping into the rise of clean beauty, drawing on Horst Rechelbacher’s legacy as the “father of safe cosmetics,” as he was described in his New York Times obituary. With an interest in herbal medicine, he is credited as one of the original industry figures giving rise to the massive natural beauty market. I-N emphasizes across its website and labeling its organic and natural ingredients, as well as the fact that it omits ingredients such as synthetic fragrances and parabens. According to the brand’s description on its product guide, it uses “biodegradable and biocompatible plant-based ingredients instead of synthetic-based ingredients whenever possible.”

“The beauty of social media is that it’s allowed people to be much more savvy about ingredients,” said Stordalen. “That’s the great democratization of the cosmetic world. The ultimate win is that it’s empowering people with choice and knowledge around products, ingredients and formulas.”

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