Soazig Le Prince, Managing Director France, Cosnova Beauty

Premium Beauty News - How do you explain the success of the Catrice and Essence brands, particularly in a market as difficult as France?

Soazig Le Prince - In the current hyper inflationary context, consumers are making budget decisions that impact the way they buy and select products. Catrice and Essence are the main beneficiaries, because today no other brand is able to offer such a premium quality for less than five euros. As far as retailers are concerned, the two brands generate traffic and loyalty: this is what explains our remarkable performance and our tremendous growth in France and around the world.

The entry of Catrice and Essence on the online boutique of French beauty retailer Nocibe for a year now has been a real boost in sales but also in visibility. Very good progress is underway month after month and the end of the year promises to be excellent, thanks in to our Disney make-up collections for Halloween, closely followed by our special Christmas references (palettes, boxes, etc.) that are pretty gifts at low prices.

When you’re a foreign brand, it’s difficult to enter the French market, in particular with the very strong presence of L’Oréal in all the distribution networks and in particular ours, the mass distribution, but our strategy has enabled us to fit in this difficult marketplace.

There is no magic in what we do. Our common thread is to manufacture make-up at unbeatable prices without compromising on quality. To do this, we rely on the synergy between our two make-up brands and our volumes. This economic model allows us to meet the expectations of the greatest number.

Premium Beauty News - Each year, 50% of the range of each of the two brands is renewed. An impressive figure!

Soazig Le Prince - Indeed, it is one of the strengths of the group. The Cosnova teams are developing new products very quickly for the two brands to reflect latest trends and consumer expectations in real time. This allows us to be highly competitive, but also to continually develop our new formulas so that they are as clean as possible without compromising on product performance. We have developed a non-exhaustive list of controversial substances that are banned from our products.

In 2019, the Cosnova group also created its own in-house incubator dedicated to fostering beauty innovations. Currently, the teams are working on two projects simultaneously: Inao by Essence and La Manufacture. The incubator aims to imagine new categories of products that are tested under the name of an already existing brand, as is the case with Ino, a line of food supplements tested on the market German under the Essence brand. However, it can also develop its own brands, such as La Manufacture. It is a B to C project that combines customization and do it yourself makeup focusing on the complexion and marketed through a dedicated website:

Premium Beauty News - The Catrice and Essence brands are both listed PETA International and Essence has been 100% vegan for a year.

Soazig Le Prince - Since the creation of the group, its founder Christina Oster-Daum has been uncompromising on this point: no ingredients tested on animals will be used in the formulations. We made this choice even before the definitive ban on these tests in the European Union. To go even further in this cruelty free policy, Essence became 100% vegan a year ago and Catrice will also be completely vegan in February 2023.

The Cosnova group has also created its own Clean Beauty seal, which prohibits controversial ingredients - such as PEGs, parabens and volatile silicones... - and ingredients of animal origin and which promotes simplified formulas. Finally, Cosnova has set itself the goal of using 30% less packaging by 2025, making 75% recyclable and using 50% recycled materials in its production. Result: 300 tons of virgin plastic were saved in 2021 compared to the previous year.