Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Sunrise turns 24 years young; we reach a sprightly 21; and FAB rocks in Bangkok - September 16, 2023
- Feeling bleu in Paris but absolutely FAB-ulous in Bangkok - September 11, 2023
- Turning black and blue in the City of Light - September 6, 2023
This could be heaven for everyone
This world could be fed,
This world could be fun
This could be heaven for everyone
This world could be free,
This world could be one
– Queen, Heaven for Everyone
If I had to list my favourite interviews of the near 21 years since I launched what was then The Moodie Report, I would count two that I have conducted with Foreo Founder Filip Sedic near the top of the list.
Make that three, as this week I completed a trilogy of interviews with the charismatic Sarajevo-born entrepreneur, once more at Foreo’s Hong Kong base – surely, as the photos reveal, the most distinctive offices of any company in our industry – which occupies two floors of a converted industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang.
Foreo ranks as one of the great brand success stories in travel retail over the past decade, a feisty newcomer that has challenged the status quo and led the charge of the wellbeing and beauty-tech sectors.
When I say ‘interview’, I should actually say ‘conversation’. Ninety minutes or so with Filip Sedic – followed by a splendid lunch with him and Global Travel Retail Director Gary Leong at the nearby Culinart – is an unpredictable journey involving lots of digressions, none of them less than compelling.
And none of them less than candid. Forget any anodyne PR-signed-off discourse, Filip tells it like it is. And on many occasions how he thinks it should be. He has decisive views, a brilliantly irreverent humour, a seemingly infinite inquisitiveness and an associated relentless thirst for creating new things.
Consequently, writing up an interview with Filip is a challenge. Several fistfuls of in your face sound bites on the one hand, an hour and a half of free flow spontaneity on the other. All studded with observations on the human condition from a man who is philosopher, inventor, engineer and entrepreneur all wrapped into one.
“Let’s empower our own healing processes of the skin,” he remarks of the company’s holistic approach to beauty. That approach will see some exciting new products and communications enter the travel retail channel later this year. I can’t reveal the details yet but let’s just say the roll-out will not only embellish the company’s remarkable track record of innovation and positive disruption but take it to a new level.
I don’t use the word ‘remarkable’ lightly. Since creating the world’s first soft silicone facial cleansing brush, a sonic skincare device called Luna in 2013, Sedic and Foreo (‘for everyone’ abbreviated – a mantra inspired by Queen’s legendary song ‘Heaven For Everyone’) have launched a flurry of ever more creative innovations, ranging from electric toothbrushes to eye massagers, microcurrent devices to sonic mask activators.
The hugely popular Foreo Bear, a ‘facial gym’, is designed to exercise over 65 muscles in the face and neck. And FAQ, born in 2020 during the pandemic, is a fusion of professional and home beauty described as ‘a one-time investment for a lifetime of beauty’.
Besides this year’s forthcoming introductions, including one product that he believes will be among the company’s most successful ever, that roll-call of creativity is certain to grow exponentially in the future. By his own admission, Sedic never stops thinking up new ideas, invariably around his preoccupation with health, happiness and wellbeing.
Does his mind turn ever turn off? “To be honest, no it doesn’t. But I’m kind of like that. I like to wake up with five fresh new ideas. And start them today. I figured I would not be able to live a life when I wake up and don’t know what to do today.”
There’s little chance of that happening. That night I dined with Gary Leong at Gaia Ristorante, an outstanding Italian establishment in Central. Gary is a bon vivant, an epicurean, a lover of fine food wines, spirits and cigars so we opted to each bring a special wine along, his the red, mine the white and Gary’s the cigars.
We started with the 2018 Chateau Talbot Caillou Blanc, the white wine of the fine Quatrièmes Crus Classé (Fourth Growth) estate best known for its red. Let me tell you that the white, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, might just be worth every bit as much attention. The wine practically dances in the glass such is its fresh zestiness, all minerality and sublime unctuous fruit, with a hint of orange peel and a long clean finish.
While we chatted over – and about – this lovely white, the big treat of the evening, Château Rauzan-Ségla 2018 was opening up nicely. That’s young to be drinking a great Deuxièmes Cru (Second Growth), especially from such an outstanding vintage, but the air time our conversation lent it did the trick.
What a wine. Power and beauty in equal measure. A beautifully perfumed nose that would not be out of place in a scent from winery owner Chanel, all blackcurrants and dark cherries; rich, textured and refined on the palate; firm but not overwhelming tannins and a finish with the flourish of a bullfighter’s capa de brega.
Esteemed American wine critic Robert Parker dubbed the 2018 a “thoroughbred” Bordeaux, suggesting it needs another five to seven years for all its beauty and grace to emerge, before drinking it over the next 40 years or more (if Foreo rather than Chanel owned it, they might well dub it ‘A one-time investment for a lifetime of beauty’).
Alas, the Rauzan-Ségla might have such longevity but I won’t. So I’ll take consolation in the fact that I got to appreciate its nascent wonders in grand company and accompanied by a fine Partagás. A day that started with talk of health, happiness and wellbeing ended on precisely the same notes. ✈