When Carole Garcia, a native of Toulouse, created her dermatological laboratory twenty years ago, it all started with woad (Isatis tinctorial), the region’s emblematic plant. Listed in the pharmacopoeia for its dermatological virtues, woad is a plant endemic to the foothills of the Pyrenees, whose oil extracted from the seeds is rich in omegas 3/6/9. To develop its products, the company grows its crops in the southwest of France on 60 hectares of agricultural land, thus ensuring total traceability.
Patented, organic and local active ingredients
"We have our own extraction processes and have developed patented actives. There are four of them to date and a fifth is in its final development stage," emphasizes the founder. " From the plant to the final product, we use our own extracts. What makes the brand so special is the know-how we have acquired with this plant. I consider myself to be an organic activist, but also a supporter of local agricultural practices that we are reviving after five centuries of oblivion," explains Carole Garcia.
The “proprietary” actives address the main skin problems, with an anti-ageing active derived from woad proteins, which acts on collagen reactivation for skin regeneration; a complex of woad polyphenols to provide antioxidant benefits; Scalar, an anti-dark spot complex with woad bio-flavonoids to inhibit melanin synthesis; and of course, woad oil, the mainstay of all products for its supply in essential fatty acids.
These patented actives are developed exclusively for use in the brand’s products, with most of their formulas organic certified.
In addition to the fifty existing references, two new organic serums, incorporating the patents, were added in January, an anti-spot serum and a resurfacing serum.
"People who approach the brand are looking first for efficiency, then for the healthy side of our organic formulas or with a minimum of 95% natural origin, and then for the militant side of the short circuit," affirms Carole Garcia.
A growing retail presence
The three own pharmacies based in Paris, Toulouse, and Albi have helped to win over a large community of customers, who are loyal to the brand’s committed values, through advice and support. The website and the brand’s deployment in pharmacies, which began three years ago, add to the brand’s visibility, which it intends to continue to develop.
"We are present in about 200 top pharmacies in France, in which we already have good sales results. But this is not enough, we need to develop our presence in pharmacies. The challenge is to make Graine de Pastel known to achieve growth," explains the manager.
Asia, in particular China and Taiwan, is one of the priority export markets on which Carole Garcia wishes to concentrate and establish the brand’s presence.
"We are a family-run SME and I did not want to let any investment fund enter into the capital. The idea is not to spread ourselves too thin and lose our soul, but rather to move forward step by step with the trust of our customers," she declares.
Bolstered by its ultra-loyal community and word of mouth, the brand is relying on its values and the effectiveness of its products to gradually build its network.
"Twenty years ago, we were probably a bit ahead of the game, but today our values are spot on with the trend. Customers are very concerned about what they buy and with us, they know that it’s not a posture, it’s real. Our vision of the future will allow us to continue to accompany women in their desire to make the right choices for their skin, but also for their health and that of the planet," concludes Carole Garcia.