Aude de Livonnière - It’s true that time just flies! This gives me the opportunity of looking back on these past 30 years...
My father, Xavier de Livonnière and his partner Jean Ceresa, who were running a big printing company specialized in rotogravure, Les Charmettes, decided in 1988 to create a second, more flexible company, able to meet the needs of SMBs; this resulted in the creation of the “LivCer” Company, whose name was coined with the first three letters of the founders’ family names.
But the two partners remained completely involved in the development of Les Charmettes, (until its sale to large international groups). Hence, Xavier de Livonnière entrusted, from its inception, the management of Livcer to his children, Charles and me. To meet the needs for agility of its customers, Charles decided to chose and take up the daring challenge of flexographic printing. In a market dominated by rotogravure, this technology was totally innovative. Yet, when this technology is well mastered, it offers many advantages: a high-quality printing offer along with a drastic reduction in costs and deadlines. The pharmaceutical industry was immediately seduced by the process! In addition, from the outset, Charles made the avant-garde choice to use water-based inks and to settle his activity in an eco-responsible environment. This pioneering spirit helped establish Livcer Flexographie as the benchmark Company in continuous printing.
But at the same time, Livcer had also responded to a very specific request for the packaging of thermoformed doses. This could have been the end of the development of the Company, but I quickly understood the huge potential this technology offered for the cosmetic industry and I decided to join the family business and created Livcer Monodose in 1991. Beauty brands were won over by this new sampling format that satisfied all their requirements: insure the preservation of formulas, rely on a very flexible material that allows creating every possible shape and finally, thanks to the insert on which the single dose is presented, be able to communicate! It was an immediate hit. Custom designed treatments, single-dose masks, targeted treatments, travel kits..., the market for cosmetic single-doses exploded and we became the experts in this type of packaging.
Premium Beauty News - And today success is the same!
Aude de Livonnière - Yes, absolutely! Today, Livcer employs around fifty people, manufactures some 90 million thermoformed doses each year and has a turnover of 15 million euros. A double-digit increase again this year is pushing us to increase our production capacity. By a stroke of luck, the plant located right next to ours in Sucy-en-Brie was for sale. We will be operational next spring 2019 and this will allow us to purely and simply increase our capacity twofold.
Premium Beauty News - That means more machines?
Aude de Livonnière - Absolutely, we intend to acquire additional production lines. We currently rely on eight thermoforming lines that can condition either horizontally or vertically. Our biggest market remains cosmetics (80%). A market equally divided between personal care and make-up, knowing that the latter is currently enjoying the fastest growth. And concerning the products we manufacture, the share of “samples” represents 75% of our business, the remaining 25% being “sales products”. In the coming months, we will certainly start running new “home-made” thermoforming lines with a brand-design.
Premium Beauty News - Innovation is your DNA! Could you give us some examples?
Aude de Livonnière - That’s what makes the Company stand apart and allows us to be the European leader in thermoformed doses. Now, on the side of novel products, there is the Cosmetic Press. We have managed the technological feat of encapsulating in an ultra slim, totally transparent, large size blister a foundation or a skincare. Before testing it, beautistas can check if the colour of the texture appeals to them. Thanks to its slim profile, this single-dose fits everywhere, in the printed press or envelopes. And of course, true to our commitment toward environment, this new sample respects eco-designing standards.
The Cosmetic Press epitomises 30 years of continuous innovation. Let me recall the milestones of these past five years... 2013, the Touch Kiss, to print your kisses: a never-seen-before technology of reverse printing. 2014, the Beauty Press, to read on your lips: a sample lipstick and a concentrated pack of excellence! 2015, the Bi-Colour, to double the dose: the double casting technology implemented makes it possible, for the first time, to propose two colours in the same single dose sample. 2016, the mini-mascara to offer a one-eye dose! And in 2017, the mini-cushion for the dosing of touch-ups.
We also launched in 2017, loose powder samples fitted with micro-perforated lids that perfectly mimic the sifters of traditional powder cases. This enables the brand to promote its product since the consumer uses the same application gesture as he would with a powder case. Indeed, using various communication media, (card or mini package), the sample can be fitted with its powder puff. Upon request, we can supply the applicators and even condition the cushions. Like for on sale products, the foundation is poured on a cushion and it can be used for one or two applications.
Premium Beauty News - And what about your export sales?
Aude de Livonnière - We are progressing each year a little more... Exports sales represent today 20% of our activity. Main countries targeted: the United States and Italy (given the number of make-up contract manufactures in the country).