KAVICZKY is more than a brand. It combines mission awareness, environmental consciousness and infinite love. This trinity best characterizes this premium product in the diverse world of natural cosmetics. The creator of the special brand is Ágnes Kaviczky, whose personality and professional knowledge enchanted me in our first meeting. We talked primarily about what motivates a researcher to enter the market with his own cosmetic brand, putting science at the service of beauty, and writing one´s name in the ledger of international beauty history.
Eva: How did your career start? I might even ask, how did a molecular biologist become an ambassador for premium category products in Hungarian natural cosmetics?
Ágnes: For me, learning is a basic need. A creative pastime by which I gain new knowledge, which I then incorporate into my work. Many disciplines in the natural sciences, including gerontology, which deals with the science of aging, have steered me towards the cosmetics sector. This inspired me to make cosmetology my chosen field. I graduated from a cosmetology vocational school in Budapest; I also earned a master’s degree in economics and a degree in marketing.
Eva: When did you start building your own brand, which is now an internationally renowned beauty brand?
Ágnes: An invitation from a luxury cosmetics company in Paris in 2003 encouraged me to create my own brand. What motivated me, however, was the shift in attitudes that were unfolding towards the need for a natural and organic way of life, the increasing use of natural cosmetics. What I saw and experienced in France was inspiring, but I wanted to realize my own idea. My primary motivation in creating my own brand was clearly my romantic attachment to domestic values. I believed in it, and I still confess it today, that there are many values in our country that it is our task to present and present to the world. I believe that our habitat, the Carpathian Basin, and the plants and flowers grown on this soil, built from the minerals, essentials and trace elements they contain, serve our health and well-being in the way we need it most.
Eva: How did Hungarian thermal water come to your life? Maybe you have a personal experience with Hungarian baths?
Ágnes: There are 600 places in Hungary for thermal water suitable for healing. In the early 1900s, most of them were discovered during hydrocarbon industry research. It is geologically known that in Hungary the thickness of the earth’s crust (thinner) allows countless minerals to dissolve into our natural waters. All these beneficial properties have made it possible to establish more than 1,000 spas, taking advantage of the beneficial effects of medicinal water on people and health. Since I definitely wanted to communicate the Hungarian origin and historical heritage to the customers, the name “Budapest” was added to the brand name, as our capital has had the title of “International Spa City” since 1934 and is much better known than Hévíz.
Eva: One of the special features of Kaviczky products is your patented Pannon Formula. What exactly does this name mean?
Ágnes: Pannon Formula is the water and mud of the Hévíz healing lake. We can be proud that our Lake Hévíz is the largest natural thermal lake in Europe with a very high humic acid content, similar to that found only in New Zealand. The use of humins in daily skin care has been a primary consideration for me, as humins are never allergenic and even act as antiallergic agents. These are organic substances that are synthesized from plant sediments in Lake Hévíz, and I can shape their mechanism of action according to what other substances I pair them with. If I want, it deeply cleanses, if I want, it regenerates, if I want, it has an anti-aging effect or it just detoxifies the skin. I don’t know of such a versatile natural ingredient like humic acid. Other key components of the Pannon Formula are GMO-free Hungarian grain extracts, as the plant estrogen in grain shows structural similarity to the female hormone 17 beta estradiol, so there was no question of using this risk-free way to use phytoestrogens for skin tightening. Finally, the key ingredients of the Pannon Formula are biologically pure essential oils, which hide the not-so-pleasant smell of the other two ingredients and, when enclosed, help to transport the active ingredients. The naming was simple: 200 million years ago, the territory of Hungary was covered by the Pannonian Sea. When the Pannonian Sea retreated 65 million years ago, only this special and unique lake, Lake Héviz, remained. So, from here is the name.
Eva: Which was the first product line to be completed? Tell us a little bit about this story. How many and with what products were the first to enter the market and in which ways did the product range expand?
Ágnes: We currently have almost 100 products on the market. Generally, global trends decide the development of beauty products. The Kaviczky Classic product family line, which contains the water and mud of the Hévíz medicinal lake, also contains GMO-free grain extracts and the essential oil of Tihany (original lavender stems localized by Gyula Bittera) – preserved and grown by Tihany Abbey. In the first development phase, we launched 38 products in November 2007 at the Beauty Budapest exhibition. Around this time, the use of medicinal waters in cosmetics was new and special, today it is used by many other brands, but the first in Hungary to make use of Hungarian medicinal waters in cosmetics was Kaviczky. The aforementioned Pannon Formula became a trademark of the Classic product family line in 2013 and established the brand’s success and recognition, and four years later the PanFlora’Soul cosmetics product family line entered Hungarian history by being the first in Hungary to use nanovision in cosmetics. The traditional aspects here are the medicinal flowers of the Carpathian Basin, which strengthen the harmony of the body and soul.
Eva: One of the wonders of Hungary and of the world is the Hévíz healing lake, which has been applying for the World Heritage title since 2015. How open was the bath to the idea?
Ágnes: I chose the tens of thousands of years old medicinal water lake from the Pannonian Sea because its water, mud and ecosystem, which have unique properties in the world, are excellent for beauty care. Lake Hévíz is a special formation, as, unlike other warm-water lakes, which are usually formed on volcanic soils, Lake Hévíz is a peat-bed spring lake. The Hévíz spa lake is 75% owned by the Hungarian state and 25% by the city of Hévíz. As the sludge processing plant is located in St. Andrew’s Hospital, a joint cooperation was given.
Éva: Do you like to bathing?
Ágnes: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healing lake of Hévíz is my favorite spa, because in addition to its many healing properties, the outstanding skin care-beautifying effect has been known and noted since 1795.
Eva: How did the Hungarian public respond to the launch of a product made with Hungarian thermal water? Are the products primarily intended for Hungarian or foreign customers?
Ágnes: The Kaviczky brand was received with an open and inclusive approach. Of course, the Hungarian professional customer base is the primary target group, including those who are interested in quality natural cosmetics. With appearances at foreign exhibitions, every brand exposes itself in the market. My goal was to show Hungary’s values beyond the border, which are excellent and world-class. Transformed, formulated and enclosed in a jar, they are part of everyday beauty care. In addition to Budapest, we have exhibited abroad several times, be it in Düsseldorf, Moscow, Dubai or in the neighboring Trenčín. We also have foreign distributors. Most of the guests love and buy our creams and wraps again after the beauty treatment in the Spa department of the Hungarian hotels. World stars have also “shopped” at the 5 * hotel in Budapest, whose names we can’t reveal, but we can tell you that among them is a well-known Hollywood actress, the prima ballerina of the Moscow Ballet, and a popular political figure.
Eva: Your products also boast several professional awards. What are your favorite ones or customers’ must haves?
Ágnes: In 2018, the FLORA’XELLENCE Black Rose Mask won the Best Facial Cleansing Mask award from the professional jury of the Cosmo Beauty Award, and the previous year, the FLORA’BALM Rose Cleansing Balm took the palm in the category of the best facial cleansing product. My personal favorites from the Classic series are the Regenerating Mask with Hévíz Mud, the Day Firming Cream and Eye Contour Balm, and among the body products, the Essential Oils-Rich Firming Body Balm and the Warming Body Scrub. In a broad age group, we are conscious women who are open to new products and technologies and appreciate the treasures of nature. I create primarily for the 35-65 age group, but an important target group in the life of the brand has become the young generation who are already looking for quality and naturalness in skin care, either in their 20s or early 30s. Our customers’ favorites are the Cosmeceutical series, and from the Classic family, Eye Contour Balm, Day Firming Cream, Night Soothing Cream, Lavender Face Milk, Regenerating Mask, Deep Cleansing Mask, and the special Flora Essencia Massage Candle.
Eva: You have mentioned that Kaviczky cosmetics and treatments are mostly available in the spa areas of 4 and 5-star hotels and in selected beauty salons.
Ágnes: That’s right, I want to make the Kaviczky product line a cosmetic for thinking women. My primary preference is to only address someone who is intelligent and understands what I’m talking about. This message determined that our products are present in 4-5 * hotels and salons of the best beauticians. I want to be on the path to success with as many excellent beauticians as possible who, by using our cosmetics, become part of a successful work environment that develops and motivates their performance. All of our cosmetics used in salons also have home and salon packaging. Although I regularly train professionals, I do not believe in the institutionalized transfer of knowledge, I deal with everyone individually.
Eva: What perspectives do you see for furthering the brand? I am thinking here, for example, of the innovative use of declustered water in cosmetic products, of the gemstone powder used in the Diamond´s product family line, or of another product line.
Ágnes: Product development is never a start-goal state. For my own brand, it is crucial that the content and message are in complete harmony. Global trends in the evolution of customer preferences offer many opportunities for improvement. My defining goal is to shape trends, never to follow them. Declusterized water is a “miracle” that is already being used by a few people in the world, but I am the only one in Hungary to use it, namely in the Panflora’Soul and Diamond’s product families – in the latter I also increased the intense effect with precious stones. That development will be quite certain, however, what it will be is a mystery for the time being.
Eva: Can we state that the mission of the Kaviczky brand is continuous innovation?
Ágnes: Kaviczky’s philosophy is not just to observe and follow global trends, but to create a trend ourselves! Always following the principle of the best solution, I strive to ensure that my products represent the excellence with which I create and pass on the best of my knowledge and experience. I believe in and support social and environmental responsibility. I consider it my mission to ensure that our products represent the same excellence as the raw materials used, the added intellectual talent and the cultural identity.