Respect for animals and the environment, patience and a lot of research are the premises behind Biozenthi , a Santa Catarina brand of 100% vegan dermocosmetics, without parabens and sulfate (and some, still, gluten-free). Founded in Criciúma, Santa Catarina, in 2010, by geneticist biologist Marcio Figueiredo Accordi, 45, and its partner, administrator Elton Dagostin, 35, the company only began to produce from 2013 (the other three years were devoted to research) . The fact is that until then, the two partners worked in another Marcio company, Consulti Tecnologia, which made business management software.
The process of completely changing the area took, objectively, three years, but for Marcio the journey was much longer than that. As a child, he was interested in nature and worried about the fact that “just being alive already pollutes.” This love for the environment and animals led him to study Biology at the University of Extremo Sul Catarinense (Unesc).
But this was not Marcio’s only passion. At age 11, his father won an MSX computer, 8-bit, something that today would be almost a relic. Fascinated, he spent hours investigating and learning to tinker with the machine. At 12, he started to make software, and since at that time few people had computer knowledge, at 14 he got a job at the city hall. Three years later, while attending college, he was promoted to computer manager – and he spent the next 12 years in office. “I graduated in Biology, but at the time, in the 1990s, the course was very focused on teaching and I did not want to be a teacher,” he says.
Marcio only left the prefecture to work with the former Secretary of Planning at a local ceramics factory (Criciúma is one of the largest ceramic poles in Brazil). There, he spent three years developing business management software, something that was unusual at the time. In the middle of the year 2000, when the challenge was over, he decided that it was time to go back to Biology and do a master’s degree in the field. It would not be this time: the boss proposed that instead of the master’s degree, the two would create the management software company itself, Consulti Tecnologia. He stumbled, certain that the masters and biology could wait.
HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO PASSIONS
The partnership lasted until 2003, when the partner left Marcio alone to go to work in the State Government in Florianópolis. He then decided to take the company to the local branch of MIDI Tecnológico, one of the largest incubators in the country, which was also taking its first steps at the time. He stayed there until 2007, when, in addition to learning a lot about how to do business – until then he had always been responsible for the technical part – he met a lot of people. He left for his own headquarters with a team of 20 people, one of them the current partner, Elton.
In 2009, with the company at full steam, it was visited by an Argentine consultant. “She told me: ‘the ball is biotechnology, the software market is getting scarcer, only the big ones will survive,'” he recalls. It rekindled his biologist side, and this time he decided not to let the flame go out: in 2010, he founded Biozenthi. He says: “I spent the next year only doing research on genome, drugs, cosmetics to know how to act.” And keeps going:
From 2011 to 2012, she took a postgraduate course in cosmetology at ICostmetology in Campinas. All this in parallel with the “do everything” work at Consulti, which continued to earn around 40 thousand a month. It was only in 2012 that he officially closed the company and started to dedicate himself exclusively to Biozenthi.
The patience that Marcio had throughout the transition may have been crucial to the company’s current success in cosmetics. This is because this market is extremely competitive, a scenario quite different from the one you found when you started to take on the software. This time, he took the “tram ride” and had to know to differentiate to gain prominence amid the thousands of offers worldwide on the shelves of stores.
To top it all, the technology and equipment needed to make cosmetics are expensive, with active ingredients costing 10,000 reais. And worse: to make the products with the differential he wanted (a true vegan philosophy) was even more expensive. He says:
The hole is far below what consumers imagine. To achieve orange / reddish pigments, for example, he says that the vast majority of producers use a dye extracted from cochineal, a small pressed insect. The alternative is to use stone or vegetable pigments, which make the final product more expensive and almost imperceptible in the list of ingredients.
In total, Marcio invested about 1 million reais to buy equipment and active principles and to begin, in fact, to manufacture the products. To do this, he scraped all the savings and enlisted the help of Elton, who invested about 5% of the total and came to command the administrative part.
“Entering this market is a very challenging process, which requires competence, persistence and money,” he says. “The first two we had, the third was missing.” After all, in addition to making the product, it is necessary to distribute it and make it reach the shelves.
In 2013, two other people entered the society just for this purpose. Did not work. Marcio decided to “go back to the origins” and visited distributors personally, betting on the good old “IQ” (who indicates). “We did not have any more money, but we were very willing.”
The tete-a-tete worked and the products began to take off. In 2016, a deodorant for the feet of the company won an award from the Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumery and Cosmetics Industry (Abihpec). The partners also focused on gaining visibility in the media, both positioning themselves as experts in vegan cosmetology and showing products in magazines, websites, among others. The idea is to demystify the subject that is the essence of the company, as the entrepreneur says, who currently considers himself a restricted vegan because he still consumes some animal derivatives:
With seven people in the team, Biozenthi makes about 80 thousand reais a month. The line, with more than 50 products, ranges from treatments for skin diseases to shampoos and some gluten-free cosmetic options (many celiacs can not even have contact with the substance).
The astringent soap of volcanic mud, for example, leaves for 26.60 reais. The hypoallergenic facial base, 33 reais. The items are sold in the online store, in pharmacies of manipulation, stores of natural products and in some drugstores . “Today I see that we planted, planted and now began to harvest.”
And the harvest is going far. Soon, the brand’s products will begin to be marketed also in Australia, New Zealand and Spain as a result of partnerships with investors who have sought out Biozenthi. “We do the supply and they are responsible for all the bureaucracy,” says Marcio.
By the end of the year, the company also wants to expand its line by creating products based on epigenetics (a study of changes in genetic functions that are inherited, but which in turn do not change the individual’s DNA sequence), another graduate which the founder of the brand recently concluded. “I’ve always been very down to earth, I like to plan everything right before orchestrating”, talks about the future project. The strategy, it turns out, works.