True Stories

Traditional pharmaceutical formulations inspired by the richness of natural ingredients: meet Olival

Sara Jerman, Olival’s Brand Manager
My name is Sara Jerman and I am 34 years old. As a Brand Manager at Olival, I’m responsible for communication, the overall presence of the brand in Croatia and many European countries, as well as brand development – primarily through work with the R&D team. My professional journey led me from journalism to PR to digital marketing, and the experience I gained, combined with a lifelong passion and interest in cosmetics, created a good synergy for the current position. In my spare time, I am a big music buff, a perfume lover, and an advocate & volunteer for stray cats, trying to navigate all of these worlds, too.

NATRUE: How and when was your brand created?
Sara: Olival started as a small galenic manufacturer powered by big pharmaceutical know-how and an even stronger passion for cosmetics. In 1994, the founder of Olival, Mr. Pharm. Vlasta Pojatina organised her first production on the ground floor of her family house. Guided by traditional pharmaceutical formulations and inspired by the richness of natural ingredients, she started making authentic and tangible cosmetic products. Today, in 2024, we are celebrating 30 years of Olival! Now with more than 180 products divided into many categories, highlighting our natural cosmetics segment with many bestsellers through the years. Our products are available worldwide through our webshop, Notino and many more partners.

NATRUE: What is so special about your Immortelle Collection?
Sara: Immortelle has been gaining the spotlight last few years, but it has not always been like that. We are proud that we recognised the botanical value of essential oil of Immortelle, but also the whole story of Immortelle and the Mediterranean which takes a big part of our country’s folklore and heritage. Our collection connects traditional and modern approaches to cosmetics. It offers all the important steps of a skincare routine, including micellar solutions, cleansers, different face creams, an eye area cream and oils based on the essential oil of immortelle and many different extracts and oils. I like to point out some of the lesser known “powerhouse” ingredients of natural origin like our thyme extract in Mattifying Fluid Immortelle which is amazing for oily and problematic skin, or poppy extract in our Eye Cream Immortelle which helps to manage puffiness greatly. The well-known NATRUE silhouette is definitely “a crown”, the icing on the cake of this collection. We are happy to say that Olival was the first cosmetics brand in Croatia and region with the NATRUE certification; and we are also glad to see more and more certified products on the market, and the consumer education that comes naturally with it.

NATRUE: Are customers in your region informed about natural cosmetics?
Sara: There is certainly some room for improvement, for sure. Unfortunately, the category of natural cosmetics is still a “grey zone”, especially in Southeast and even Central Europe. Consumers still perceive naturalness primarily through design, colours picks, texts and marketing, which can be misleading. Fortunately, brands like Olival and many more certified ones are here to educate and bring about a definitive change for the better. It’s not easy, it’s not fast, but I think that certified natural and organic cosmetics still haven’t reached their peak.

NATRUE: Some of the trends we are currently seeing have to do with artificial intelligence, the so-called “neuroglow” and the classic trend of “less is more/skinimalism” (prioritizing quality over quantity). Are you seeing these trends or are you taking advantage of others?
Sara: Some of the trends eventually end up becoming long-term lifestyle choices, such as so-called skinimalism that has already existed for some time. On the other hand, I feel that the previous pandemic years contributed to the rise of self-care in general, and all across social media we could see quite a few extensive skincare routines. I don’t think one trend is taking over the other, it’s just coming down to personal preferences and good, complex products that can replace “mono-formulated” ones. Additionally, haircare is gaining importance every year, and I can predict a percentage of consumers prioritize haircare routines over skincare – with time and money involved.

NATRUE: Why did you choose NATRUE? How do you perceive the role of NATRUE in the natural and organic cosmetics sector?
Sara: The choice was simple: we opted for NATRUE because of the organization’s history and the other valuable brands that are part of the NATRUE family worldwide. I hope NATRUE will grow even bigger in the future!

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Download the interview here.