Hapsatou Sy - We had launched our brand as a beauty salon brand via a stand-alone network, first as Ethnicia, and then as HapsatouSy. Very soon, we started developing several hair and skin care brands, such as Ethnicia and HapsatouSy, followed by Artisan Make Up and Dazzia. We have been working for many years in the development of these brands, and the liquidation of the salons network made us rethink our whole strategy and to focus on the development and marketing of our own products.
On the model of what we made in the salons network, all our brands consist in an offering of products adapted to all the various types of beauty. The point was to counter a sort of ghettoization, which tended to force black, Maghreb, Asian or mixed-blood women to look for other brands or sales outlets than those found in traditional networks. This never sounded logical to me! Some white women have very curly, even frizzy hair, and complexion differences are considerable both for so-called black and white skins. I did not want to reproduce the segregation I had known.
That’s why we still offer products that are adapted to particular types of hair (dry, brittle, curly, etc.) or skin, but not to types of people. We are going on with our adventure by following the same concept, but with new distribution networks.
Premium Beauty News - What lessons have you learnt from this experience?
Hapsatou Sy - The compulsory liquidation of our activities with beauty salons was obviously a traumatic period, but in the end it was positive for our brand because there were actual problems of coherence within our network. This is what is tricky with a network of franchisees, you sometimes have to deal with businessmen and women with strong personalities, who have their own vision of the development of their activity.
Today we devote our whole energy to the development of our four product lines: Artisan Make Up, our makeup brand, which counts more than a hundred references, Dazzia, a brand for professionals specialized in hair smoothing techniques, Ethnicia, a nail polish and beauty product brand with affordable prices, and HapsatouSy, which is a high-end brand comprising hair care and skincare products.
Premium Beauty News - The growth of these brands will depend on the development of new distribution networks.
Hapsatou Sy - Our products are currently available on the new HapsatouSy online shop, which we thoroughly rethought and relaunched on November 18, 2013. American e-store Doobop.com has also been selling the HapsatouSy and Ethnicia brands since October 15, 2013. This site, which is one of Oprah Winfrey’s favourites, is destined for all beauty types throughout the world, and highlights the richness of diversity. It perfectly suits our philosophy. HapsatouSy, Ethnicia and Artisan Make Up products have also been available on Brandalley.fr since November 25, 2013.
Of course, increasing our sales also depends on a physical sales outlet network in France and around the world. We are already distributed in about fifty points of sale in the USA and in Africa (Angola, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Senegal). We often receive requests from pharmacy networks, and we should soon open in about a hundred new sales outlets in the French overseas departments and territories. Obviously, the development of these partnerships must be achieved in keeping with each one of our lines.
As for HapsatouSy in particular, we destine this brand for selective channels. It aims at active, urban women, with a core target between 25 and 40 years old. It is an affordable high-end brand.
Premium Beauty News - Are you thinking of reopening your own new concept stores?
Hapsatou Sy - No, not at all. Our top priority is to develop new products and reinforce our brands.