In a previous interview last August, André Farber, vice president of sales at Boticário Group told Premium Beauty News the Covid-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of all chain stores forced the company to reassess all its expectations for 2020. A month later, in September, Grupo Boticário’s factories in Bahia and Paraná announced they had broken their quarterly production records. The company had never produced that much since the O Boticário brand was founded, more than 40 years ago.

Hygiene and personal care products

Indeed, the year was very unusual. What we predicted for 2020 has changed a lot over the past few months, and it shows that our dedication and the path traced by the teams worked out,” commented Sérgio Sampaio, the group’s Director of Operations. “We knew how to act since the beginning of the pandemic to steer our business and reduce the impacts caused by the crisis and not letting it dominate us. This allowed us to reach this record, which we are very proud of”.

Compared to January, February and March 2020 (before the lockdown), the production of July, August and September rose by 8.98%, representing the highest volume recorded in a quarter. Sales of O Boticário, the group’s historic brand, were driven by the rising demand for hygiene and personal care products. Sales of skin care creams, in particular, increased by 14.5% over the period. Sales of liquid soaps and shampoos also contributed to this record.

At the beginning of the pandemic, consumers were looking for essential hygiene items, such as hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps. Then, we saw some other categories gain strength, such as hair care and skin care,” said Sampaio. “With no or little access to professional services, the ‘do it yourself’ trend has gained a lot of momentum. It is a matter of indulgence, of taking care oneself. People had to stay at home, but they wanted to feel good about themselves.

In order to meet this high demand amid the peak of the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil, Grupo Boticário needed to readjust. “From the very beginning, we dedicated much efforts to provide ideal working conditions, by allowing all of our staff to work from home and by reorganizing the company’s areas of densification, so that those who had to be at their posts could do it safely,” said Sampaio. “As far as the factories are concerned, we drastically reduced production, maintaining only some lines for items such as hand sanitizers and soaps. When stores reopened, our plants gradually resumed their activity and, to protect everyone’s health, we extended the shift of employees from three to four, thus reducing the number of people being inside the factory at the same time,” he added.

New distribution centre

The group also deemed necessary to open yet another distribution centre to be able to absorb the increase in volume and dispatch production. "Located in the city of Campina Grande do Sul, Paraná, the new distribution centre will help us a lot," said the director of operations. It will ensure the logistics of e-commerce sales for the brands O Boticário, Eudora and Quem Disse, Berenice? for delivery to different regions of the country.

Despite the immense challenges imposed by Covid-19, Sérgio Sampaio said to be proud of what has been achieved this year and optimistic about 2021. “The work we have done had allowed us to close 2020 in a very positive way and to believe that 2021 will be better than what we anticipated at the start of this crisis,” he concluded.