Alain Chevassus, President and founder of Cosfibel

Alain Chevassus, President and founder of Cosfibel

Premium Beauty News - What is the outcome of the year 2008, so far, and what is your vision of the next six months?

Alain Chevassus - As it was expected, the beginning of the 2008 was very good, continuing the trend of the last three months of 2007, and we are currently growing by 25%. Our goal is to reach a turnover of EUR 65 million. However, we can clearly see that the global economy is slowing-down, developing countries included. So far, we cannot estimate what this slow-down will mean for us, but it will impact the last four months of the year.

Premium Beauty News - What about innovation in the health and beauty industry? What are the new products you are working on?

Alain Chevassus - Since the very beginning of Cosfibel, in 2000, we have been considering that our most important investments would be dedicated to innovation, in order to provide our customers with the differentiation they want.

Several years were necessary to combine existing synergies of our R&D departments in the manufacturing facilities, of our design departments and of our external sub-contractors and suppliers. It was a hard work but we eventually achieved good results.

The combination of all these internal and external talents was achieved through a creative committee, now fully operative and organised around three main strategies:

- multisensoriality search (sound and light, specific touch, …)
- manufacturing of multimaterial objects (mixing cardboard, plastic, metal textile…)
- strong link between marketing and merchandising (showcase of objects)

The outcome of this strategy concretised in around twenty patents and original designs, the commercialisation of several annual collections of promotional kits, the launch of injected aluminium primary packaging for the high-end segment, and an expected growth around 25% this year.

Premium Beauty News - Environment and sustainable development are the new buzzwords in the industry. How do you address this challenge?

Alain Chevassus - Frankly speaking, Cosfibel’s move toward social responsibility and sustainable development has been triggered by our key accounts. In order to address this unavoidable issue, we named Stanislas Péronnet, an experienced individual with strong ethical positions, at the head of the newly created Direction of Sustainable Development. Then, we started discussions with our suppliers to align their practices with main applicable international standards and charters in this fields (children’s work, compliance with social laws and regulations, …).

It’s long and difficult work, and now it must include information on the carbon footprint (transportations and volumes…). But I keep in mind this sentence I heard recently from a great sociologist: “All things that will not be green, will be old-fashioned”.

Premium Beauty News - Focusing on things that a company does well or extending the scope of its offer to new products? That’s a usual dilemma for a top manager. As a packaging manufacturer, in a context where your customers tend to externalise most of their production with a massive use of subcontractors, what is your opinion about “full-service”?

Alain Chevassus - A company that would always do the same thing, would be sure to die slowly, since one day, the thing it does so well will no longer meet any demand. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to do things for which we do not have any know-how yet. Our multimaterials strategy perfectly matched with this philosophy, and it was a real success.

We’ll implement a full-service strategy, on a selective basis, following our customers’ demand in this area; we’ll progress step by step, providing new subcontracting services to our customers when their needs will emerge, as it happened in the cars industry.

We have already started, it’s tomorrow already.