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Pioneering Clean Beauty

An Interview with Natalie St-Pierre, Senior Manager of Innovation - Skincare at Marcelle
Jana Pijak
April 30th, 2024
As the dynamic Senior Manager of Innovation - Skincare at Marcelle, Natalie St-Pierre has a passion for pioneering new concepts and orchestrates every facet of skincare innovation within the company.

1. Tell us your name and about your role at Marcelle?

My name is Natalie St-Pierre and I’m the Senior Manager, Innovation - Skincare. My role is to lead all aspects of skincare innovation within the company, from idea generation to product development. This involves setting innovation strategies, driving ideation and conceptualization, overseeing product development, managing projects, monitoring trends, and fostering cross-functional collaboration. My goal is to ensure that the company stays at the forefront of skincare innovation and delivers products that meet consumer needs and business goals.

2. What does innovation mean to you? How do you and your team generate new ideas?

For me, innovation is about finding smart solutions to existing challenges. It could be by creating something new or by improving existing ideas / products. The best innovations are those that solve real consumer problems or meet genuine needs. We harness design thinking, market and competitive intelligence, co-creation, and crowdsourcing to generate groundbreaking ideas. By integrating these methodologies we cultivate a rich ecosystem of ideas, driving forward product creation that are not only effective and desirable but also aligned with market demands and competitive landscapes, driving sustainable growth and customer satisfaction.

One of Marcelle's newest innovations is the Peptide + Probiotic Firming Anti-Wrinkle moisturizer and eye cream, as it uses probiotics to reinforce the microbiome, the skin’s protective barrier, to help maintain long-term skin health.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face when innovating?

One of the biggest challenges is the balance between efficacy and safety. Developing new skincare products involves extensive testing and research to ensure that they deliver the promised results without causing any harm to the skin. Additionally, meeting regulatory requirements and navigating the complex landscape of skincare ingredients can pose significant challenges. Another challenge is staying ahead of rapidly evolving consumer preferences and market trends, as skincare is a highly dynamic and competitive industry. Finally, achieving differentiation in a crowded market while maintaining cost-effectiveness is a persistent challenge for skincare innovators.

4. What rituals do you and your team rely on to reset creativity?

  • Creative workshop twice a year

  • Brainstorming sessions

  • Seeking inspiration through Global Beauty Events


5. Marcelle has a rich history dating back to 1874, with a commitment to formulating products with only what skin needs. How has Marcelle's approach to clean beauty evolved over time, and what inspired the brand to define its clean standards?

Since our founding in 1874, Marcelle has been about formulating products with only what skin needs - leaving out unnecessary or harmful ingredients like fragrance and allergens. While it wasn't called "clean beauty" at the time, it was always our guiding principle - that our formulas should only contain ingredients that are tried and tested to be effective and safe for skin.

6. Can you speak more about the specific ingredients Marcelle prohibits or restricts in its formulations, along with the rationale behind these choices?

You can find below a list of all the ingredients that we prohibit or restrict in our CLEAN formulas, along with an explanation of the reasons for these limits. We not only want to distance ourselves from all the buzzwords and scare tactics by anchoring our definition of clean in scientific facts, but we also want to educate and provide information about the ingredients we do (and don’t) use, and why that is. For Marcelle, CLEAN is not just about following a trend, it is a philosophy for formulating cosmetics that is rooted in science, trust, transparency and safety.

  • Allergens

  • Animal Musks/ Fats/Oils

  • Carbon Black or Black 2

  • Fragrance

  • Mineral oil

  • Parabens

  • Phthalates

  • Sulfates

  • Talc

  • Plastic Microbeads

  • And many more


7. Has there ever been a time where another industry inspired innovation at the brand?

The food industry for their ingredients and their impact on skin health, the Fashion industry, the biotechnology industry for advanced skincare ingredients, and the Sustainability industry for innovation in terms of packaging, production process and ingredient sourcing.

8. Looking to the future, how will Marcelle continue to be a leader in innovation?

As a Canadian company formulating skincare products locally for the Canadian population, we have a deep understanding of the needs and preferences of our consumers. It allows us to be more responsive to market trends and consumer feedback, giving us a competitive edge in delivering skincare solutions tailored to the needs of Canadian consumers. So, to ensure that Marcelle continue to be a leader in innovation, we will continue to focus on:

  • Consumer insights: to make sure we understand and respond to consumer needs and to stay aware of evolving trends and demands.

  • Collaboration: we will foster collaboration with industry expert, research institutions and customers (co-creation)

  • R&D: to discover and develop innovative ingredients and formulations that deliver effective results while meeting our high standard.
  • Sustainability: our commitment to sustainability will drive our innovation efforts, as we seek to minimize our environmental footprint throughout the product lifecycle.
    References: groupemarcelle