When you sit down to chat with her, it is obvious that Cruz Calvo is a vi  sionary of the cosmetic world, but her discourse is also dotted with coherent commercial strategies that have turned her shop Beauty Cube into a worldwide reference.

I found about the existence of this cosmetic spot in Santiago de Compostela several years ago after reading about it in Wallpaper magazine. Besides being surprised that this international design bible was recommending such an unique shop in a small town like Santiago de Compostela –absurd prejudice now overcome–, I was much more amazed by Beauty Cube’s selection of products. In that time, niche cosmetics was an emergent market of which you only heard about through very independent publications by well-travelled, eccentric journalists. Since then, I have kept an eye on this hard-working and restless woman who keeps constantly investigating with the aim to be among the first in the list of the most respected spots in the industry –attracting natural cosmetics, high-tech lovers, and those in search of far-from-the-masses offerings.

This interview with Cruz Calvo, honest and emphatic, confirms her passion for the skin, a skin she takes care of, as she says, with scents, textures and formulations without any snobbery, and that has turned her into an expert of the beauy utopia and cosmetic products, even though she always try to make clear that she gain the most satisfaction from the personal relationships she manages to keep with each of her customers.

How was Beauty Cube born and why in Santiago de Compostela?

BC is a project that couldn’t have happened before the Internet era. If you have an open mind and a wide vision, the net is the ultimate architecture and geography of your project. There are business that are located in midtown big cities and have a very local operative system/mindset, and others like BC that could never be geographically or sectorially ‘delimited’. Today we are destined to simultaneity, to distributed living, beyond our immediate environment.

Where does your passion for the cosmetic world comes from?

It maybe comes from a certain sensibility or material culture, from a marked sense for textures, scents, consistencies… SKIN is an irremissibly fascinant, a mysterious and complex INTERFACE.

How do you do the products selection?

The selection process varies a lot depending of diverse and changing factors -and that unpredictability is exciting. I am not interested in the ‘standard niche’ dynamics of having the last cute brand, the one with the coolest packaging, the 'It-est', the media queen of the moment… –besides, business-wise, this is an exhausted dynamics. As culture we have integrated the collective experience that, despite our continuous craving for the new, the last thing is not always a better version of the previous one. At BC we avoid this incremental narrative. I think it is about combining more subtle factors, and taking risks. As instance, to launch a classic brand or to decide not to incorporate the last hit in your lineup… In this positioning game, today what you don’t have defines you better than what you have.

In Beauty Cube you offer the so called niche brands, with an important medical backing. Do you think this is the future of cosmetics?

I think future is about creative quality and disruption. A delicious, sensuous, harmonious, hyper-material aroma, consistency or texture can heal or rejuvenate you most than a cosmeceutical formulation without 'soul' and 'body'. Cosmetic needs also to be entertaining.
I think Synthetic Biology is a fascinant cognitive interzone that will guide the inspiration for the creation of future skincare: The re-design of biological systems, the bio-engineering of living systems, the development of new molecular ways, etc. This emergent science route represents the exploration of a new model of MATERIALITY, and it is awesome.

 How does the national market respond to this kind of products?

The consumption of niche brands is not in itself something exceptional anymore, and very few people today exclude the possibility of buying an unknown brand that is not previously located in their mediatic immaginary. The most illustrative instance would be the contemporary familiarity with 'white-label' brands.
I think the NICHE MARKET is something that must be BUILT –it is not something you can get or take by jumping on the fad or surfing the wave. The MARKET is a creation, you have to give it form and substance, and also foster its maturity by establishing an intelligent dialogue with the audience. I think that BC considerably contributes to that.

 If someone wants to break into the skin care world, what would be your advice?

I would design a SIMPLE and COMPACT skin regime, and with a strong sensorial index: A super serum, an exquisite facial oil or balm, a well-formulated sunscreen, a conditioning cleanser, an aromatic floral mist.

 Do we really know what our skin needs, or are we flooded with cosmetic information?

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE in cosmetics has a science-fiction component that sometimes produces strange mitologies. We insist a lot in communicating a non-linear reading/interpretation of biological processes, and in accentuating their everchanging condition. The caring of the SKIN should be as BASIC as SOPHISTICATED. Today it is very easy to get a minimal rational culture that helps you to optimize your caring, but it is also easy to get diverted towards weird superstitions.

I think we should start to ‘DE-DRAMATIZE’ the act of buying. Buying of a product can’t be a life insurance or fix. We shouldn’t eliminate the hazard and risk that goes implicit within every selection and discussion. Doing that, we are spoiling the fun and the pleasure of the EXPERIENCE with its wonderful subtleties. A lot of TIME is spent now in checking info about a product before deciding to buy it. And I wonder if this is really a good investment of our TIME, if this is the most useful and interesting information to be gathered in such complex cultural context. As a COMMUNITY, what does this TIME help us to build?

 If you allow me inside your bathroom, which products would I find among your favourite ones?

In my bathroom there is a garden of scents from many OILS and BALMS. Jasmine, neroli, frankincense, lavender, bergamot… And also a high-tech atmosphere, with a collection of different SUPER-SERUMS, that I 'intensively' use by layering, combining or alternating them.

 It seems that anonymous skincare, that is, that without advertising claims, without elaborated labels or celeb faces in their packaging, it is a very valued option today because of the economic situation. Would you recommend me a product that it is in your opinion effective and cheap, eventhough it is not in your shop?

I would recommend you to turn out to a pantry or a grocery: Olive oil, yoghurt, avocato, cider apple, lemon juice… Or to a pharmacy: Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, rose water, almond oil…

Is it easierly understable today to pay several hundred Euros for an antiaging face cream?

Think, for instance, in the real value of many Internet business -most of them are not just overrated, but the assesment criteria are not stablished taking into account 'real' assets, productivity… but EXPECTATIONS and SPECULATIVE movements. What does it cause a dotcom company without productive profits to have an exaggerated value in the stock market?.

The same thing happens with the goods market. An ensemble of EXPECTATIONS marks the VALUE of a product and its PRICE.

Are there expanssion plans for Beauty Cube?

Expanding as a CREATIVE process and context –this is the ‘DIMENSSION’ that counts in the post-incremental economy. The capital and essence of BC doesn’t lie in a brand list or selection. I am very interested in HYBRIDISING the commercial environment, in provoking the irruption of the CONCEPTUAL and EXPERIMENTAL into the commercial practice. To deal with the market(place) as a intervention field for the INTELLECTUAL THOUGHT –to shake off its institutional inertia… MARKET is where knowledge can OPERATE structural changes.

So this IDEA transcends the 'shelves' as an identity form. The web is our CANVAS, the stand where we engrave our transdisciplinar narrative. Because of this, the logical expansion of BC is the web. I am interested in experimenting with the unique condition of online edition, in exploring it not as an substitute of the print edition, but as a new discipline. That is, it would be about driving BC toward a COGNITIVE EXPANSSION –the destination of an intelligent brand.

 What brand would be the next bet of BC?

We are just now working on several options, different among them, but all instrumental to the concepting works we want to incorporate. It is not about adding the last fad, but about drawing your own dynamics, a particular conversation with the MARKET.


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