Kirk’s Natural—a soap brand that was founded in 1839—recently rebranded to include certifications by the Non-GMO Project, Cruelty Free International, Vegan Action, and the National Celiac Association. Kirk’s, which has only rebranded four times during its 180-year history, now labels all of its products vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and gluten-free in an effort to appeal to the modern consumer. Molly Vollmer, who operates the family-owned company with her sister, explained that the brand did not reformulate any of its products but invested in attaining new certifications for its labels to remain competitive in the changing beauty industry. “We’ve been in the natural category since the very first bar was made,” Vollmer told media outlet Biz Journals. “It’s here to stay so the competition is getting fierce and you’re seeing big brands make it a focus. We need to defend our territory and shelf space.” In 2019, Kirk’s will debut two new vegan products: a vegetable-based, odor-eliminating hand wash and a three-in-one cleanser. Data released in September by research firm Mintel confirms the rapid growth of the cruelty-free beauty industry, which has seen a 175-percent increase in vegan products launches from 2013 to 2018.
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