From left to right, Carole Garcia and Nathalie Juin, founders, Graine de...

From left to right, Carole Garcia and Nathalie Juin, founders, Graine de Pastel

The opening of its first store in 2012 in Toulouse, France, was a real turning point for the brand created in 2003 by Nathalie Juin and Carole Garcia. Others quickly followed, both in the South East and the capital: Carcassonne in 2013, the central Marais quarter in Paris in 2014, Albi in 2015, and Paris again the same year, Rue du Dragon, near Saint Germain des Prés. And this September, the brand will inaugurate a 270 m2 spa in a new palace in Toulouse, M Gallery: La cour des Consuls.

From the very beginning, the two creators had had in mind to revive a traditional ingredient: pastel oil, which is derived from the seeds and plants of the same name. “It is a patrimonial plant from the region of Toulouse. Its leaves were traditionally used to make the famous blue pigment, but its oil has been renowned for its medicinal properties since the Ancient times,” Carole Garcia explains. In order to secure its supply, the company established partnerships with farmers. Approximately 10 hectares will be cultivated in 2016, mainly via integrated farming, but also organic farming.

Development of franchises

Building on this success, Graine de Pastel is now about to take a new step forward in its development. Its ranges are being redesigned under the supervision of Marketing Director Leïla Veillon, with new packaging to reinforce the character of each line, while sticking to the visual coherence of the brand. But above all, as its concept is now well-established, the brand is banking on franchised stores, with two openings planned for this autumn, in Versailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. The idea is to open about ten stores in 2016, and do the same in 2017 and 2018.

Graine de Pastel also seeks to strongly develop its global sales and aims for 50% of export sales in 2018, compared to 15% right now. The company’s products are currently available in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. Several markets are opening up – Australia, the Middle East, the United States, Canada – and in Europe, the brand hopes to be able to rely on master franchise agreements.

A more technical positioning

With its signature ingredient cultivated locally, and a purchasing policy that favours local sourcing from the Midi-Pyrénées region, Graine de Pastel stands out as an iconic brand in a new cosmetic region. It now endeavours to shift towards a more technical positioning, in addition to its patrimonial image: the brand has strengthened its R&D and is working on integrating new ingredients in its formulas. Skincare treatments have been developed for the stores located in Toulouse and Rue du Dragon, in Paris, which have booths available, and with a view to increase sales in spas.

We pay particular attention to galenics. On the whole, we did not launch so many products in twelve years. And most important of all, we did not kill any,” Carole Garcia explains. This method has actually proven more than efficient for this young brand, as it is about to play in the big league.