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Absolution: The organic, chic, niche, and flourishing beauty brand steps up its development

Seven years after it was launched with eight high-end references, as the organic movement was booming, skincare brand Absolution is profitable. It enjoys a 30% annual growth, and it has secured a loyal customer base in about 27 countries with a wide offering. On the eve of a first attempt to raise funds, its creator, Isabelle Carron, told Premium Beauty News how she feels about her well-controlled, but colourful achievement.

Isabelle Carron, creator of Absolution Cosmetics

Isabelle Carron, creator of Absolution Cosmetics

Premium Beauty News - How would describe Absolution’s basic concept?

Isabelle Carron - Offering a skincare range that can restore and maintain an optimum skin ecosystem with highly organic, unisex products boosted by the mix&match method.

Premium Beauty News - Strengthened by this principle, the brand has become a reference in the world of organic cosmetics. What is the situation right now?

Isabelle Carron - We are present in about 350 points of sale in 27 countries, mainly in Europe, but also in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia… and we have projects in Indonesia, Korea… We have worked a lot on our development in France, which represents 40% of our turnover. That is partly due to our efficient collaboration with Mama Shelter hotels for three years. Absolution has created an exclusive line of organic amenities for all their hotels, a rare achievement in the hotel business.

We are gaining fame through word of mouth, although Absolution is a brand based on advice that is both appealing and destabilizing. And yet, a customer that tries is a seduced customer.

As for our products, today we have 30 references, mainly in skincare, but also body care. We have also recently focused a bit on makeup, with a line of matte lipsticks created in collaboration with makeup artist Christophe Danchaud.

Premium Beauty News - Talking about your makeup line, you have used crowdfunding to launch it. Why choose this approach?

Isabelle Carron - Exactly. The operation was intended to launch the Sweet & Safe Kiss line in December 2014. I wanted to minimize the financial risks and test the market demand… and the public did follow us. We have exceeded our objective of EUR 30,000, which is just exceptional for the beauty sector. It helped us finance part of the production phase, and it is also an efficient communication operation, as donors become the brand and products’ ambassadors.

Premium Beauty News - Are you going to keep developing your makeup offering?

Isabelle Carron - Definitely, and still with Christophe Danchaud: three new sorbet lipsticks have just been launched, and eye and complexion products are under study. However, the idea is not to multiply our references, but rather to provide the perfect makeup kit for all needs. Women usually use three or four essential colours, rarely more. It is the same with skincare: I try to make beautiful, multifunctional products.

Premium Beauty News - To you, is the niche cosmetics segment as dynamic as alternative perfumery?

Isabelle Carron - They do not exactly grow at the same pace. The development of skincare is inherently long and tough, it is less in the spotlight, and it generates less profit margin. They do share something though, as the increasing number of launches saturates the market. Organic cosmetics are driven by the more and more popular food market, but it still has a low impact for now. In France, the problem lies in distribution. We are present in department stores, beauty salons, independent perfume stores, and through the Mademoiselle Bio network. Apart from the latter, the other organic specialized distribution networks have no high-end offering. I would like the food model to be copied in cosmetics, as there is more closeness and small stores. It is still not that easy to find an environment that truly corresponds to our brand. I have many ideas, if anyone is interested in distribution!

Premium Beauty News - From a more global standpoint, what are your projects?

Isabelle Carron - We launch four new products a year, that is already a fast pace for a small company. But there is still a lot to do, and I have huge ambitions for the brand. I would like to integrate other worlds I am interested in, ingredients, food, the world of preparation. And to develop these projects, we have launched a funding process – that is the right moment for us. We are also going to focus on digital technologies and recruit people: our staff will have doubled by the end of the year, so that we will count eight employees. I wish we could live in an ethical society where people are happy. I am doing my best for it.

Interview by Kristel Milet

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