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“Being organic is not enough,” Thierry Logre, Phyt’s

Imagine a brand of natural cosmetics who ranks first in its segment in terms of number of outlets, and holds the second or third rank in terms of sales. This exception is called Phyt’s the brand of beauty institutes owned by the Jérodia Group (Phyt’s, Biguine Bio, Gamarde, Bionatural, École and Institut Françoise Morice which will be celebrating this year its 40th anniversary. Premium Beauty News met Thierry Logre, CEO of the group who acquired the Laboratoires Phyt’s in 2004. We asked him to tell us more about his extraordinary success, in times when natural cosmetics are struggling to conquer consistent market shares. For him, “being organic is not enough.

Thierry Logre

Thierry Logre

Premium Beauty News - Phyt’s will be celebrating this year its 40th anniversary. It is considered today one of the greatest achievements in natural and organic cosmetics in France. This choice to go green goes back to the very origin of the brand?

Thierry Logre - Yes absolutely! From its creation in 1972 by Jean-Paul Llopart a naturopath, and biologist and Rosanne Verlé a beautician, Phyt’s - then called Phytal - made the bet of natural cosmetics and also looked for ways to avoid the use of preservatives in its products. It was an extremely innovative approach at the time. Also from the outset, the brand targeted the segment of beauty institutes and Jean-Paul Llopart laid the foundations of what he calls the “Naturo-Esthetique®.”

To protect its formulas, Phyt’s introduces single use packaging in the form of disposable glass ampoules. In 1974, a patent was even filed for the conditioning in ampoules of pasty or semi-thick skin care products. Very intuitively and empirically, Jean-Paul Llopart then successfully manages to use other types of packaging, to broaden the possibilities of use of products while avoiding interactions with the external environment.

This choice for natural materials is at the heart of the brand identity. This is what led him in 2002 to partner with others precursors for the creation of the Cosmébio charter, which truly launched certification in the field of natural and organic cosmetics.

But Phyt’s is before all a brand intended for beauty institutes. This means that even if our products are natural, they are primarily efficient and pleasant to use. They are tested clinically and under dermatological control for claim support. And we do not hesitate to say that we are as efficient as chemistry, because we can prove it. This is what we intend to summarize under the “Bio-Active Cosmetics” concept.

Premium Beauty News - This efficiency explains your outstanding success while other organic cosmetic brands seem to be struggling to conquer a truly consistent market share?

Thierry Logre - Undoubtedly, the commercial development of natural and organic cosmetics has not been up to expectations. From this point of view, we could say that bio is a failure in cosmetics. The market is stagnant and is only boosted by optimized formulas offered by large groups.

So why don’t most natural or organic cosmetics manage to line up on the market against their conventional competitors? There are several reasons to this, I think. First because preservatives that can be used in organic cosmetics - the ones which are allowed by Ecocert standards or Qualité France - are often irritating. And secondly they damage the texture of products. For a formulator, they are a real headache. Especially when certain methods for organic formulation, particularly when hydrosol-based formulas are used, make their use necessary. This is one of the reasons why Phyt’s has always advocated for preservative-free cosmetics. But it is a know-how that few companies have mastered.

But this explanation is probably not sufficient. After all, some beautiful textures in organic cosmetics are still available. The mistake was to believe that claiming to be bio was enough to sell bio. We saw that, particularly with some private labels, for which in spite of beautiful development investments, neither marketing nor merchandising were equal to ambitions.

Premium Beauty News - What are your goals now?

Thierry Logre - Today the Phyt’s brand is present in more than 3,000 outlets in France. We are probably the leading brand in this market segment in terms of distribution. As far as sales are concerned, we are at the second or third place. So we still have room for progress to conquer beauty institutes achieving the largest turnover. We are continuing our progression while this market is experiencing a mild recession in France.

Clearly, our goal now is to develop our export sales, with two key areas: Asia and North America.

In Asia we have managed to increase our turnover twofold every three years. We have sales offices in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. Today, Korea, Japan and China, including Hong Kong, are drivers for the brand. Malaysia and Singapore recently opened are also promising.

As for North America, we are well established in Canada and the United States are now following. Russia, Australia and New Zealand are also important markets for us.

PHYT’S IN FIGURES


Phyt’s now offers about 800 references and is present in more than 3,000 outlets in France. The brand which belongs to the Jérodia Group (along with the Biguine Bio, Gamarde and Bionatural brands) now includes 259 employees and produces nearly all its references including make-up ranges in its two south-western French-based units located near Cahors.
The Jérodia Group also owns the beauty academy and beauty institute Françoise Morice that trains every year 500 beauticians to national vocational qualifications (CAP, BP and BTS) in Paris. Some subsidiaries of the academy were also opened in Aix-en-Provence, in southern France, and Osaka, Japan. Other openings are under discussion in India and Malaysia.

Vincent Gallon

Portfolio

© 2012 - Premium Beauty News - www.premiumbeautynews.com
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