Biocol Labs is a 40-year-old family-company, that describes itself as post-pharmaceutical. They believe that humans are not made to take chemicals and through their natural products, the company hopes to break the status quo of the Pharma industry by reinventing how humans feel better. Christine Pausewang is the CEO of Biocol Labs, a position she also shares with her husband Christian-Pierre Balivet, as the tradition of family at the company would want.
The company, which has remained independent since its creation, has managed to stay family-owned by always maintaining its focus on its founding mission: The belief that nature has the answer. Pausewang is a part of the third generation in which this belief has been passed on. Before entering the world of natural pharmaceuticals, she was working in retail operations for fashion and retail brands such as Adidas and Hugo Boss, which she feels contributed to gaining the knowledge she now uses in managing her own company, like the importance of brands, and how to create products that speak to a broader audience. Biocol Labs has a particular marketing approach, that puts a large emphasis on social media. Of social media, Pausewang says that it is “super important” to her business and that it is a way for Biocol Labs to communicate their vision and beliefs, as well as educating consumers about their products, without having to invest millions in marketing. Finding customers through social media allows for a more “organic” growth for the company.
Biocol Labs’ particular marketing approach was born out of the belief that normal marketing “gives people headaches.” This is the reason why Biocol products don’t have a logo or name, and their marketing uses language that you would speak while talking to friends and family. Products bear fun names like Something for the knackered or Something for a Mini Rehab. Pausewang’s personal favorites? While she loves all of Biocol Labs’ products, the ones she’s been using most lately are Something for a Cactus Throat, and Something for Bloated Tums, which helps with digestion. “Our packaging strictly includes only what’s necessary to solve your specific problem and nothing else. The irony is that we have erased all of the traditional rules of marketing and are now considered great marketeers,” she explains.
As for the difficulties of being a female CEO, Pausewang shares that she notices that during the meetings she attends with partner and co-CEO Christian-Pierre Balivet, the assumption that men are more capable of answering the questions and knowledgable is still there. However, she feels fortunate that throughout her career, she’s been surrounded by supportive men that believe in her and her ideas, during this moment that she describes as “an exciting time for women to lead businesses.”
Pausewang works and lives in Lisbon, Portugal, where Biocol Labs is based. While Lisbon doesn’t have the “wellness” scene of a city such as Los Angeles, she says that the slow lifestyle itself, complemented by the beach, sunshine, fresh produce, promotes wellness. “ The great thing about Portugal is that your day-to-day life is just very peaceful and balanced,” she explains.
Onwards, the CEO hopes to continue growing Biocol Labs’ clientele while launching new products and opening their own post-chemical pharmacies. She believes that a chemical-free pharmaceutical industry could possibly exist one day, and expresses that that is Biocol Labs’ big dream. And for those who don’t believe in the healing powers of natural products, Pausewang has a convincing argument: “Many pharmaceutical products are a cheaper version of chemical compounds found in nature. Science has become so sophisticated that it has enabled the industry to emulate plant compounds and synthesize them for reasons that are purely economic,” she says. According to her, the pharmaceuticals we know today are quite recent, dating back to the 19th century, but humans were able to live centuries relying solely on nature and its remedies.