Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque, IBG

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque, IBG

Premium Beauty News - Innovative Beauty Group is now one year old. Could you introduce this new entity for us?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - IBG’s three brands cover three customer segments and three regions.

Since the purchases we made in 2019, we have headed three global brands: Orchard Custom Beauty devises turnkey solutions and accounts for 70% of our business, Fasten Packaging produces tailor-made packaging and represents 25% of our business, and Travel Designer offers airlines comfort kits in partnership with cosmetic brands – of course, their results reflect the consequences of the current pandemic on travelling.

Our three customer segments are supermarket distributors and discount retailers, distributors specialized in beauty, airlines, and of course, cosmetic brands – Albéa’s historic business.

Lastly, as regards the three regions, we support customers in America, Europe, and increasingly often in Asia, thanks to our global network of responsible suppliers.

Premium Beauty News - Albéa has diversified the group’s historic business, then. What was your approach?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - The success of the IBG concept is based on four pillars, the first being agility. It is really our spearhead, because we promise an optimum development time, in particular by integrating design as early as the global product design phase. The second pillar is our ability to imagine comprehensive ranges of 20, 30 or 50 products. They can be turnkey solutions combining packs, formulas, and accessories, or only packaging made of plastic, wood, metal, or glass. The third is the tailor-made approach: we work in close collaboration with our customers, as an extension of their own teams. Ultimately, of course, we take advantage of Albéa’s expertise in CSR. Although IBG is not an industrial manufacturer, the whole management team shares this historic sustainability commitment with me.

Premium Beauty News - How did you come up with the idea of creating this service entity within the Albéa group?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - We wanted to serve complementary customers in a complementary manner. IBG has set up a very broad, most agile ecosystem for design and project management, which helps develop concepts from A to Z as well as comprehensive ranges on various market segments for both prestige and mass customers. Right from the start, our approach is customer-oriented: what matters is their positioning and wishes! Together, we imagine the best solution, find the best partners, and manage the project. Design and sustainable development – which plays an increasingly significant part – are definitely at the core of the project. In 2020, 86% of our customer proposals were eco-designed. We will reach 95% in 2021 with packs, formulas, and also accessories!

Premium Beauty News - What is your positioning on the market?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - We adapt to our customers’ organization and to the project value chain. We have global teams, so we can stick to that pretty easily. We cover graphic design, design-to-cost, and product development with or without the formula. Plus, we manage our projects in an agility-oriented manner, by taking care of quality and regulatory management, logistics, and even digital matters, like product animation and social media!

Premium Beauty News - What are your customers’ main problems?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - Digitalization changed the game. Today, beyond the traditional product segmentation, our concepts need to take into account our customers’ communities’ expectations. As a matter of fact, expectations can vary from one country or distribution channel to another. This creates logistic and regulatory constraints, and it also requires great cultural awareness.

Premium Beauty News - What are your objectives, development-wise?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - We aim to both keep developing our model on the American and European markets and widen our presence in Asia. I would also like to strengthen our collaboration with customers as regards CSR, a strategic, high-priority, transversal issue. There is still a gap between the “green” solutions we offer or can offer and our customers’ choices.

Lastly, digital technologies remain our second main development focus, in particular regarding customer experience in the long term. Actually, I believe that by getting consumers involved with brands’ product strategies, responsible choices will prevail!

Premium Beauty News - What conclusions do you draw from IBG’s first year, given this oh-so particular context?

Xavier Leclerc de Hauteclocque - We have all been affected by the pandemic, and many of us still are, from a personal, social, and economic standpoint. Within this context, we have taken advantage of the fact that most of our retailer customers were still able to welcome their clients during the various lockdown periods, which partly offset the collapse of air traffic and the difficulties encountered by other sales channels. That is what helped us get satisfactory results, and it was much encouraging given the fact it is such a young business. It also shows how increasingly important agility and flexibility are for brands. That is why I would like to seize this opportunity to warmly thank all my teams for being able to adapt this new, highly volatile environment.