The BarCamp format was first developed in the IT and tech scene around ten years ago. However, over the past few years, this type of conference has become so popular that BarCamps are now organised in a wide range of industry sectors.

BarCamps are also called “non-conferences” and for a very good reason. A conference usually has a pre-arranged agenda of talks, workshops and lectures by speakers who were signed up in advance. BarCamps work the exact opposite way: here the schedule is dynamic and participatory, with topics decided by the attendees themselves.

Each participant can suggest topics he or she would like to see discussed or offer to lead a session or workshop.  Every morning, the proposed topics are posted on a white board or digital surface and then voted on by the other attendees. This approach keeps things open and simple, generating new ideas and impulses and getting everyone involved.

NaturkosmetikCamp is the first German-speaking BarCamp for the organic beauty industry in Europe. Founder Wolfgang Falkner from Austrian company Der Falkner Spa Marketing already has experience in the BarCamp industry: in 2010 he organized the first BarCamp conference for the German-speaking spa and wellness industry in Europe. Since then, the annual SpaCamp has become one of the key events in the sector. The success of this event format inspired him to launch NaturkosmetikCamp.

Falkner explains: “In 2012 I was attending the Natural Cosmetics Conference in Berlin to give a presentation about our SpaCamp. Afterwards, I was talking about this concept with other participants, and it occurred to us that the BarCamp idea might also work for the organic beauty industry. And in 2014, the first NaturkosmetikCamp took place in Bad Häring in South Tyrol.”

The initial NaturkosmetikCamp was attended by 120 participants and featured 17 sessions on a broad range of topics, including the importance of authenticity in brand marketing, organic oils, certifications and seals, sustainability and green-washing, the development of new organic ingredients, trends in the organic beauty industry, online retail and organic spa beauty. The mixture of participants was equally colourful: amongst the attendees were online and offline retailers, bloggers, spa owners, industry professionals, market researchers and ingredients manufacturers but also regular consumers and non-professionals.

The second NaturkosmetikCamp took place on 26th-28th June last year at the same location in Bad Häring and was even bigger: 130 attendees and 18 sessions.  Topics included: The new ISO organic norms; how to market to Generation Y; the challenges of working in organic beauty retail; the successful transition from offline to online retail; anti-aging ingredients; trends in the organic marketplace; organic fragrances; the changing USP of organic beauty in a saturated market; the importance of PR; blogger relations, and Vegan beauty.

The next NaturkosmetikCamp is scheduled on June 24th to 26th at the Panoramahotel Oberjoch in the scenic German Allgäu region.  This year the motto is “in Balance with Nature,” a call for more sustainability and mindfulness across the entire supply chain of cosmetics manufacturing, from ingredients over production all the way to packaging, marketing and retail. Falkner comments: “We are glad that the concept is successful. Hopefully, the event will continue to grow.” More information is available at www.naturkosmetikcamp.com