Sold before being re-purchased to Birchbox by its founders, Quentin Reygrobellet and Martin Labas, the group’s French entity renamed Blissim has focused for two years on growing locally, boosted by the Covid crisis most favourable to e-commerce. “In two years, our turnover rose from 30 to 50 million euros with a continued two-digit growth”, explains Quentin Reygrobellet.
Recently freed from the agreement signed with their former shareholder, which prevented them from going global, Blissim now aims to keep developing outside France. To this aim, Raise Investissements, a company founded by Clara Gaymard, joined the pool of shareholders last February 4: it represents a third of Blissim’s capital, alongside the two majority shareholders – the founders – and Otium Capital.
“It will help us speed things up in Europe, with Germany on March 1, but also in France: we are one of the first digital players here, but we can still make much progress, overall. Right now, we have three pillars to focus on: the EUR 14.90 box, e-commerce, with retail products, and our private label creation studio, Beauty Story,” says the CEO.
Launch in Germany scheduled in March
To succeed on the German market, the CEO mainly aims to rely on the competitive edge offered by the box. “Germany is a relatively mature market, but our product is affordable. Our box will be the cheapest, the only personalized one, and the only one to be related to e-commerce, so we have access to all major brands,” he says.
Just like in France, every month, the boxes will contain a personalized selection of five products of five different brands from the selective or parapharmacies network – professional or niche, mainly clean beauty brands. “At first, we will have a global offering, but we will gradually work with more local brands,” adds Quentin Reygrobellet. “We are very ambitious with the German market, it is one of the main European markets,” he says.
For now, Blissim defines itself as the European leader in terms of number of subscribers, with 200,000 people recruited in France only. And the company should grow even more pretty soon, by adding European consumers.
As a matter of fact, the German experience should be a major springboard to introduce the concept in the other countries targeted, like Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Poland, with one objective: focusing on the local strategy supported by native teams.
A solution much praised by brands
Following the French model, the box concept is designed to provide brands with a new tool to reach consumers. “Things have changed a lot over the past ten years. Brands have radically changed, putting digital technologies at the core of their global growth strategy. The box has become one of the main communication levers. For example, before Covid, the content of our boxes was determined three to five months beforehand, on average. Now, we are in February, and we have already chosen the December 2022 box,” explains Quentin Reygrobellet.
An essential booster, according to the founder, the Blissim box has already appealed to 300 partner brands with very diverse profiles, from the best-established to niche brands, with an increasingly clean offering.
The Beauty Story studio creations
Launched three years ago, the Beauty Story studio really took off a year ago, by launching well-established private labels. It was aimed to develop and support brands independently of the Blissim brand, and offer their products through an open retail channel.
“Our business is based on data which help us identify consumers’ needs little or not satisfied by brands. Thanks to our box, we also build a bridge between the on and offline worlds to make it possible for customers to test products and catch their attention. With Beauty Story, we use these two assets to create brands with pretty well-asserted universes that can meet these needs,” explains Quentin Reygrobellet.
The dozen of brands already released by the studio includes Imparfaite and Glim, available on the Blissim websites, of course, but also at Nocibé, Marionnaud, Beauty Success and Monoprix.
“As an example, in 2021, the Imparfaite Radiance Serum was one of the skincare best-sellers on our website. We had anticipated the global boom of the anti-blemish serum category,” he explains.