The founder of Aveda and owner of Intelligent Nutrients, Horst Rechelbacher, has died of pancreatic cancer. Rechelbacher passed away at the age of 72 on Saturday at his home in Osceola, Wis.
In 1965, the Austrian-born Rechelbacher opened his first salon, Horst & Friends, in Minneapolis and began making shampoos in his kitchen sink, mixing organically grown foods and plants. He had learned about the plant world from his mother who was an herbalist. He first introduced his line of shampoos in 1978, the first plant-based beauty line at the time, which became Aveda. He started out with a staff of two and later opened a chain of Aveda Concept Salons to sell his products, which grew to include hair care products, body spritzes, nontoxic house cleaners and nutritional supplements.
Rechelbacher sold Aveda to Estee Lauder in 1997, for a reported $300 million. It was the largest sale of its kind. Today, there are Aveda retail stores in 19 states across the U.S.
Rechelbacher went on to start Intelligent Nutrients, in 1995. It specialized in organic, nontoxic health and beauty products using food-grade ingredients and plant stem-cell science. He fought to make the products USDA-certified organic and safe enough to eat. His longtime partner Kiran Stordalen and daughter Nicole Thomas are now at the helm of Intelligent Nutrients.
Over his lifetime, Rechelbacher was honored for his many contributions to the business of eco-friendly living. Vanity Fair magazine honored him as one of the most influential environmentalists in the U.S. in 1995 and again in 2005. He is the recipient of the North American Hairdressers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2009, the president of Austria awarded Horst the Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.
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