IRENE FORTE: FOUNDER & DRIVING FORCE
Who is Irene Forte?
With her ‘Natura e Scienza’ vision, Irene Forte is the founder, leader and driving force behind Irene Forte Skincare.
As the Wellness Consultant of Rocco Forte Hotels and an Advisory Board Member of the Global Wellness Summit, Irene has always understood the importance of a holistic approach to beauty. This is reflected in her constant emphasis on nourishing, organic ingredients.
As a businesswoman, Irene embodies her family’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to ethical business practices. She sees her skincare company as part of a much wider system of people and organisations, nature and the environment; and she is personally committed to doing the ‘right things’ to ensure that her products and processes are as sustainable as possible.
Irene's roots in sicily
Irene’s family originates from Italy and it has been a home-from-home since early childhood. She first stepped foot in Sicily itself in 2003 when she explored the area that later became Verdura Resort, home of the organic farm from which our principle ingredients are sourced. When it opened in 2009, Irene devoted a year to working there, during which she fell in love with the people, the culture, the food and the natural spirit of the island.
As she learned more and developed her understanding of skin health and overall wellness, Irene realised that Sicily’s rich organic ingredients and the bountiful produce of Verdura’s organic farm made the perfect base for a skincare line with health and wellness at its heart.
Dissatisfaction with Existing Products
When Irene launched the Rocco Forte Spa offering in 2014, she was frustrated by the absence of spa formulations with the right characteristics. Her spa clients desired clean, natural products and they perceived that natural signified gentle. But Irene also understood that not everything in nature is friendly and that the ‘essential oils’ often used to deliver fragrances in natural products have unpredictable allergenic effects. The attempts by some natural brands to avoid this issue by being unperfumed felt wrong to her as she knew that fragrances drive the sensory experience, and that in turn drives the psychological benefit of the products.
The Partnership with Doctor Ferri
Existing brands seemed to be either naively natural or too coldly scientific. No one seemed to be offering the right mix of nature and science, so Irene teamed up with Dr. Francesca Ferri of EffegiLab in Trento to address this gap in the market by developing the ‘Irene Forte’ natural skincare range.
Doctor Ferri and her team of cosmetic scientists used their experience gained over 35 years of research and development to create a line that distils the sun-soaked richness of Sicilian plant extracts into formulations that are scientifically sophisticated. These formulations are in turn tested by science, in laboratory or clinical trials, to ensure that the products themselves deliver outstanding benefits with exceptional skin kindness.
Characterised as Natural Science, these clean, natural products with formulations guided by science offered Irene the characteristics she was looking for, as they combined outstanding fragrance and feel, with low allergenic potential and proven effectiveness.
Next, Irene trialled the range with spa professionals at Rocco Forte Hotels for a number of years before launching. As a result, all the formulations have been, and will continue to be, approved by elite professionals for both effectiveness and skin kindness. This has ensured that as the Irene Forte range has moved beyond the spa market, professional standards have been maintained and spa-level skincare expertise can be appreciated by everyone at home.