Q&A: Dr. Jurgen Klein, Founder of Jurlique International
Dr. Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike, both trained in Germany as biochemists, pioneered the growth of scientific natural remedies and therapies in Australia. Labeled quacks, they overcame medical establishment doubters. Building a vertically-integrated business, Jurlique gained world recognition for holistic skincare. But when he was interviewed for one of Australia’s best-selling marketing books, Marketing Without Money by John Lyons and Edward de Bono, Dr. Klein described the success of Jurlique International as a process of “heart reading.” When I visited the Kleins at their herb farm and factory near Adelaide, they shared the meaning and philosophy on which the company was built.
Bernard: In 1983, you uprooted your wife and four children to move from Germany to Australia. What motivated this move?
Dr. Klein: Near Adelaide we discovered the cleanest, most unpolluted environment to grow herbs and flowers. Here we pursued the ancient practices of alchemy to create herbal medicine. Our first products were literally made by hand. Modern technology assures quality control, but Jurlique products are still made in small quantity to assure freshness. Today we are Australia’s largest licensed herbal therapeutics company.
Bernard: As a bio-chemist and naturopath, what inspired you to create a company that manufactures spa products?
Dr. Klein: Some thirty years ago, we recognized that an increasingly urbanized and stressed society would eventually value and turn to improved quality of life as a priority. By focusing on well-being as a means of preventing illness, spa-goers are investing in a healthy lifestyle.
Bernard: How does alchemy work?
Dr. Klein: Studying ancient and modern knowledge of natural remedies and therapies, both Eastern and Western, fascinated me from the age of fourteen. The science that underpins Jurlique is based on that ancient knowledge. Long before aromatherapy and natural remedies became fashionable, or even acceptable, we formulated herbal products to pharmaceutical standards by rendering essential oils from flowers and herbs.
Bernard: You say the company’s development was guided by heart reading?
Dr. Klein: Deep in your heart, desire drives choices—about skincare and everything else in life. By anticipating customer desires, we developed a product line that provides a pathway to improving health and wellbeing.
Bernard: How do you convert desire into doing?
Dr. Klein: Jurlique has to be experienced, then become part of your daily ritual. Our customer loyalty comes from learning what works. Through our day spas and wellness sanctuaries in Australia and America we deliver that experience. Jurlique’s international network spans 12 countries, with 5000 retail outlets in spas, department stores, and boutiques, all offering personal service.
Bernard: What is your latest project?
Dr. Klein: Overlooking Sydney’s popular Bondi Beach, Jurlique is creating a multi-level day spa where treatments and environment are integrated to create a holistic experience. Both the design of the spa and its ocean view will bring nature indoors.
Bernard: What’s the future of herbal therapeutic medicine?
Dr. Klein: Research at the University of California is looking into natural substances as a cure for cancer. Ancient knowledge is being applied to modern medicine.