Cannabis-based cosmetics are a booming category, and young Brittany-based brand Ho Karan aims to take a stake in the segment.
Translating as "I love you" in Breton, Ho Karan founder Laure Bouguen has a history with cannabis as her grandparents were once hemp growers in the region of Quimperlé. “My primary motivation was to promote hemp, more than to launch my own brand," Bouguen explains. “The plant was mainly used in the paper and textile sectors and today, it is used as a bio-material for the building and automotive industries. In cosmetics, it was under-utilized, even though it has long been available in an oil form.”
While juggling the delicate issue of regulations on the use of cannabis, since 2016Bouguen has gradually launched her range of oils, creams and serums with a skin-soothing positioning. The products are not certified organic—due to the cost this would imply—but the raw material is, as Ho Karan works with a pool of AB-certified Breton farmers (France’s organic farming label).
With the help of foundation GoodPlanet, the brand has embarked on a packaging strategy with a focus on eco-design. Its bottles and vials are made of glass, due to its recyclability, and uses recycled plastic for the caps and pipettes sourced from European suppliers Baralan, Eurovetrocap and Lumson. The secondary packs are made of bagasse, a mixture of hemp fiber and sugar cane waste developed and transformed into a box by M Pack in nearby Le Mans. Bouguen would rather substitute sugar cane in favor of local resources, but as it stands today, 100% hemp paper does not offer the qualities required for packaging.
Ho Karan’s ambitions go beyond just online sales and pop-up stores and the brand is currently developing its distribution networks. Already present at Sephora stores in Spain and soon at Douglas in Germany, the brand has expansion across Europe on the cards for 2020.