Wolfgang Falkner, that's the name that just about every natural cosmetics brand in Germany and Austria knows. His Natural Cosmetics Camp, launched in 2014, brings participants together for three days to exchange ideas on industry-relevant and current topics, which are not only proposed in advance by the contributors but then also teased out in the various sessions of the camp. For us brands, the camp is very enriching, especially since there are no other events in the DACH region where we enter into such a strong and active exchange, and otherwise during the year - in my opinion - most natural cosmetics brands "cook their own soup". Just because we are natural cosmetics brands, it is not only about financial gain, but also about other values that can be potentiated in the community, but now read more about it, in the exciting interview, to which I could win Wolfgang.
Turn back the clock about 15 years, what were your professional visions and dreams at that time?
"An exciting question! Thank you very much! 15 years ago today was the year 2005. I had been self-employed for two years with an advertising agency, focusing on online communication and corporate design. In addition, I had studied philosophy at the time and hoped I would finish that as well. But things turned out differently and in 2007 I gave up my self-employment and joined the Haslauer/Kurland company - as marketing manager. Looking back, that was a very important step that still resonates. In 2009 I became self-employed again, because I missed the independence to go new ways in the area of spa and wellness. In 2010 the first SpaCamp and in 2014 the first Natural Cosmetics Camp took place. I can still benefit from the early experiences now. Also from the study of philosophy 😉. "
What were you able to take away from studying philosophy?
"I think the most important thing is to think logically, but also to look more closely and not be distracted by superficialities. It was also the first time I really got to grips with ethics and the fact that it's important to do something positive with your actions. Making money is important too, but it shouldn't be the reason to have a business."
Can you tell us what gives you the greatest fulfillment and joy at your camps, perhaps with a specific "story" that took place?
"Mmm, I'll have to think about that for a moment. The best thing for me is when the camps give people new ideas and when they then have the courage to put these ideas into action. Many participants have already told me afterwards that they go home after the camps with a head full of ideas. It's great to hear that a real project has emerged from this and that the camps have provided an important initial spark.
2020 also showed us that our community is very, very strong in both the spa and natural cosmetics sectors. Although we were not able to come together physically, the exchange at the virtual Zoom Camps was characterized by a high professional quality but also by a strong sense of community. We could see that we have done our homework in the last 10 years and are also a resilient company. That makes me a little proud."
How did you manage to take the two camps from 0 to 100 and turn them into such a successful and well-known format?
"Yes, I sometimes ask myself that too! 😊 With the SpaCamp, I had the great fortune that back in 2010 the Berchtesgadener Land believed in this idea and gave the concept a chance as an exciting format in Bad Reichenhall. So the SpaCamp took place in this region for 3 years, until we went on the road and were able to win some of the most beautiful spa hotels in Germany and Austria as a location. It was always important to me to maintain sustainable contacts and to see the participants not as visitors or customers, but as a community, as people. And I also believe that it was well received that we were able to give people out there who are committed to something a stage where they can exchange ideas with others in a very informal way. That didn't exist before. And we remain true to this principle of 'connecting people, promoting commitment, creating something new together' to this day."
When will the next Natural Cosmetics Camp take place?
"The next Natural CosmeticsCamp will take place from 18 to 20 June 2021 at the Hotel Panorama Royal in Bad Häring in Tyrol, where it should have already taken place in 2020 and where our roots lie. Because in 2014 the first Natural CosmeticsCamp also took place there. Our motto this year is "With heart & brain, corners & edges!". Natural cosmetics and its pioneers understood early on how to reconcile the heart with reason. But natural cosmetics should also not be too smooth, but also have corners and edges, i.e. also special features, be bold and not least reflect the philosophy of the founder. Where we are again with the philosophy 😉. Registration starts on February 1. We assume that the rush will be very large. Also because no Natural Cosmetics Camp could take place in 2020 and everyone is already looking forward to meeting again in real life! Details on www.naturkosmetikcamp.com
You are always at Vivaness as well. What do you appreciate about this fair?
"Unfortunately, at our own events we often don't have that much time to talk intensively with the participants, which is a shame, but that's the way it is when you do your own event. That's why it's great for us when we can exchange ideas at Vivaness and meet many, if not most, of our participants there. Next year, Vivaness will also be digital and we are already very excited about what Nürnberg Messe has come up with here.
Thank you so much for the interview! It was fun!"
Image source: Jasmin Walter