Dr. Hauschka turns away business despite offers

A Reuters news article from June 22 reported that natural skincare manufacturer, Dr. Hauschka, is turning down offers for new markets at a time when other beauty brands are struggling to maintain sales.

Dr Hauschka’s parent company, WALA, currently distributes natural remedies and beauty products in more than 30 countries, including Australia, and says it is still attracting interest from distributors across the world.

“We have many requests, but we turn down most of them,” WALA Chief Executive Johannes Stellmann told Reuters. “We constantly get offers and of course also queries whether we are for sale. That’s normal today.”

Based on the teachings of Austrian social philosopher Rudolf Steiner, WALA does not believe in pushing aggressively into new markets, but rather waits for demand to find it.

WALA was founded 74 years ago by Austrian chemist Rudolf Hauschka, who made “anthroposophic” medicines, inspired by compatriot Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy; which is defined as “a system of beliefs and practice based… maintaining that by correct training and personal discipline one can attain experience of the spiritual world.”

Hauschka developed a method to preserve plants without alcohol, creating remedies to balance or harmonise the human body’s own healing processes.

WALA is reported to expect anything between a 10 percent rise or fall in 2009 growth, having more than doubled sales since 2000, reaching 103 million Euros in 2008. “But we count on medium- to long-term growth,” Stellmann said.

According to the Reuters report, in 1986 WALA became a public foundation that can neither be sold nor bought. There are no plans to acquire others either. WALA’s profits – about 10 million Euros in 2007 – are reinvested or distributed equally among its roughly 700 employees.

The business model is said to have attracted interest from other small or private companies to private equity and hedge funds, Stellmann said.

“There are some big names among them,” he added.

But the move to turn WALA into a “public foundation” is not negotiable. “It’s a closed shop," Stellmann said.

Responding to the Reuters article, Ray Thatcher, Design & Marketing, Helios Health & Beauty Pty Ltd, Australian distributors of Dr Hauschka, said: “Since 1935, one of the key factors shaping the work structure at WALA, the makers of Dr.Hauschka Skin Care is the social maxim formulated by Rudolf Steiner in 1905:

“The welfare of a group of people working together is all the greater when each person does not keep the fruits of their achievements for themself, i.e. when each person shares the fruits of their achievements with their colleagues, and when their own needs are not satisfied by their own achievements but by those of others.”

This maxim is carried out every working day at WALA and extends worldwide through the Biodynamic cultivation projects that the company is involved with in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran.”

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